What is the difference between weather and climate?


Quick Answer

The main difference between weather and climate is the measure of time. Weather refers to the short-term atmospheric conditions in an area, while climate represents the average daily weather over a relatively long period of time. Climate also includes statistics of weather extremes.

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Full Answer

Weather is typically described in short time frames like weeks, days, hours and minutes. The conditions associated with weather include thunderstorms, ice storms, blizzards, flooding, freezing rain, sleet, snow, hail, winds, cloud cover, rain and sunshine. Conditions associated with climate include wind velocity, sunshine, humidity, air temperature and phenomena, like hail storms, frost and fog.

Weather is forecast by collecting meteorological data, such as wind direction and speeds, solar radiation, humidity, pressure and temperature. Climate is forecast by finding the aggregate of weather statistics over a long period of time.

Despite the fact that both climate and weather forecasting is difficult, predicting climate changes does not require a similar level of specificity as weather forecasting. This makes it easier to project how climatic conditions are likely to change in the future with a high level of reliability. Another key difference between the two is that the study of the weather is known as meteorology, while the study of climate is known as climatology.

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