Thursday, March 5, 2015

Weather vs. Climate

Thus far in 2015 temperatures have been below normal in much of the midwest and eastern United States.  Many places have received great amounts of snowfall.  Too often, snow and cold are used as "evidence" that global warming and climate change are a hoax.  Sigh.  Just the other day my 7 year old was working on a homework assignment focused on the difference between weather and climate change.  It's a second grade lesson that EVERY human being needs!  Just because it is cold at your house does not mean climate change is a hoax.  Let's look at the difference between weather and climate.

Weather:  Weather is the day to day conditions in a particular place at a particular time.  For example, if I hear that it will be 25 degrees F tomorrow with 4 inches of snow, that's weather.  It has nothing to do with global warming and/or climate change.  It may be cold at your house but extremely hot at someone else's house.  While the midwest and eastern U.S. have been colder than normal, the western U.S. and much of the world has had much higher temperatures than normal in 2015.

Climate:  The average weather conditions in an area over a long period of time.  Note the last part of that sentence.  A long period of time.  For example, if I read that the month of January in my area averages 29 degrees F with 5 inches of snow and average wind speeds of 15 mph, that's climate.  The conditions on any given day (weather) could be drastically different from climate averages.

If the average temperature of the planet is slowly increasing, it can still snow!  It can still be cold!  That's still weather!  However, the climate, the long term changes in weather, is showing a warmer planet.

My 7 year old daughter in second grade understands the basics of weather and climate, but a good chunk of the world's population can't.  That's sad.  For more information on weather and climate, check out the following links below.

NASA - Weather and Climate

NOAA - Weather and Climate

National Snow and Ice Data Center

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