Climate change and weather – The difference?

A lot of deniers have a great come back when talking about climate change. They usually say something a long the lines of, “Back in my day we had something called weather.” In a sarcastic response to challenging their unsustainable lifestyle.

We hear about weather and climate all of the time, and in this day and age, it get quite draining. We’re always looking at the forecast, so much so we are always checking the weather app on the phone for next weeks BBQ.

*Most likely next BBQ is in a couple months.

These days, weather, climate and climate change itself is an extremely hot topic in the news. There is, however, still a lot of confusion between the two.

A good way of thinking about it is that climate is what you expect next week, next month or next year and weather is essentially what you get.

Weather is what you see on any particular day at any given time. Lets say it is 30 degrees and sunny or -1 degrees with heavy snow. That is what we call weather.

Climate on the other hand is the average of that weather over a longer period of time. For example, there are seasons. We roughly know what type of climate a season has, although it can have fluctuations in the weather during that period. Summer on average is hot, while winter – on average – is cold.

You can expect snow in the Northeast in January and you can expect it be hot and humid in the Southeast in July. Or wherever you’re situated on the globe – it could be the opposite, but you get the point.

That is what we call climate. So when we are talking about climate change, we are referring to changes in the long-term averages of daily weather.

To summarize, weather can change from minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour or day-to-day. Those who live in the UK will definitely be able to relate to the change in weather constantly. Climate, however, is the average of weather over time and space.

Credit: William Wand

Source: The Figure Head

Author: The Figure Head

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