Weather vs. Climate

Weather is the condition of the atmosphere at a particular time. Think of it as a snapshot of what is going on if you were to go outside, look around and report back what is happening. It is answering questions such as is it raining or sunny? Is it hot or cold? If it's hot, how hot?

Climate is what you get when you average together the weather over a long period of time (usually 30 years, sometimes more). If we say a place has a sunny climate, we mean that even if it rains once in a while, it tends to be sunny more often than not. Describing the climate usually requires that we average the weather observations, such as temperature or rainfall amount taken over many years. These averaged numbers or "statistics" are sometimes called "climatology" for a locality.

Sometimes the day to day values of temperature and rainfall are called "climate" data because they get used in figuring long-term averages which are then used to describe the climate. The terms "weather" and "climate" are often misused even by people trained in the study of meteorology.

[Live from Earth & Mars]__________________________________________________