Weather & Climate basically refer to how the atmosphere behaves over a period of time. This period of time is what differentiates weather from climate.
Weather is the behavior of the atmosphere tracked over relatively smaller time periods like minutes, hours, days. For example: thunderstorms on a hot, sunny day. Weather forecasts are made by collecting data about the current state of the atmosphere i.e. temperature, humidity, air pressure & wind. Weather also includes snow, sleet, blizzards, typhoon, hurricanes, floods & tornadoes. Weather phenomena occur in the lowest layer of atmosphere i.e. troposphere.
Climate is the average of changes in weather over time & space. It is how the atmosphere behaves over a longer time range for example, years, decades, centuries. For example: Snowing during December. Climate Predictions are based on statistical data to look for trends or cycles of variations in wind patterns, ocean surface temperatures, precipitation etc. Climate changes are observed in atmosphere as a whole.
Below pictures, summarize the differences:
Now let’s ask ourselves following simple questions to see if we have really understood. Guess what the statements are most likely referring to i.e. weather or climate.
- Thundershowers on a hot, sunny day
- Winters during Christmas
- 20 degrees with heavy snow today
- Summer months followed by rainy season
- “Oh! How hot it is today?”
- Another ice age is imminent
- Rain forecast for the next three days
- Rising temperatures of the ocean
All the odd numbered statements refer to weather & all the even numbered statements refer to climate.