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Weather vs Climate: What’s the Difference Between Climate and Weather?

Weather vs Climate: What’s the Difference Between Climate and Weather?

Summary:

What’s the difference between weather vs climate? In this post, we outline the key differences between climate and weather in an easy to understand way.

Weather vs climate — What’s the difference?

It’s been a common question for decades, and it’s never been more important to understand as we deal with our growing climate crisis.

The difference between climate and weather is a simple concept to grasp, but we’ll try to break it down for you in the most easy-to-understand way.

So, let’s get to it!

This video on climate vs weather might have been made for children, but NASA does a great job at explaining the differences.

Weather vs Climate

Wondering how are weather and climate different?

The difference between climate and weather is that weather is the condition of the atmosphere in a particular, short period of time at a specific location, whereas climate is the average state of the atmosphere over a much longer period of time, usually a span of 30 years, and covering a much larger region.

As such, the greatest difference between weather and climate is duration, although climate also covers a larger area, as well.

Let’s break it down even further:

what is the difference between weather vs climate
Taken by J. Plenio via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

What is Weather?

Weather is the conditions in the air or the atmospheric state at a particular place and point in time regarding heat vs cold, wet or dry, sky clarity or storminess, windspeed, atmospheric pressure, and other factors. Weather involves short-term atmospheric changes.

What is Climate?

Climate is the expected trend or outlook for weather patterns in a particular area, most often averaged over a period of 30 years or so. Climate is a long-term evaluation of weather.

Climate is what you expect. Weather is what actually happens.

US National Centers for Environmental Information, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Take a look at this chart outlining the main differences between climate and weather:

Weather

It will reach a high of 90 degrees fahrenheit today, pretty hot!

It’s raining today, so I should bring an umbrella with me and wear my poncho as I commute to work.

It will be cold today.

Meteorologists forecast the weather, often for a 10-day period.

Weather tells us what to wear today.

Climate

It is generally hot during the summer in Texas and Mexico.

Since I’m traveling to Tutunendo, Colombia during the springtime, I should pack an umbrella.

It is usually cold in January.

Climatologists study the climate and climate change over 30-year periods.

Climate determines the clothes in our closet.

Think of climate as your personality and weather as your mood.

Professor M. Mann via Yale Climate Connections

So, that was our guide on the differences between climate and weather!

What did you think?

We hope you found it easy to comprehend and that now you understand it better. Got any questions, feedback, or other points to add on climate vs weather? Let us know below in the comments, and thanks for reading!

Want some more difference busters? Check out our articles on the differences between US passport cards vs passport books, magnetic north vs true north, epidemics vs pandemics, Hispanic vs Latina, and race vs ethnicity.

Christian Eilers
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Christian Eilers
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