Climate is defined as an area's long-term weather patterns. The simplest way to describe climate is to look at average temperature and precipitation over time. Other useful elements for describing climate include the type and the timing of precipitation, amount of sunshine, average wind speeds and directions, number of days above freezing, weather extremes, and local geography. As elevation increases, the average temperature decreases. Above a certain elevation, low temperatures make it impossible for trees to grow, as seen here on Washington's Mount Rainier.
While it's fairly easy to describe a location's climate by examining weather data, a greater challenge is figuring out why the climate of one place differs from that of another. To do so, you must consider all the factors that work together to determine climate.
The reason studying climate and a changing climate is important, is that will affect people around the world. Rising global temperatures are expected to raise sea levels, and change precipitation and other local climate conditions. Changing regional climate could alter forests, crop yields, and water supplies. It could also affect human health, animals, and many types of ecosystems. Deserts may expand into existing rangelands, and features of some of our National Parks and National Forests may be permanently altered.
The average weather of an area. Or the pattern or cycle of weather conditions such as temperature, wind, rain, snowfall, humidity, clouds, including extreme or occasional ones, over a large area, averaged over many years.
Causes of climate change:
- Presence of greenhouse gases
- Depletion of ozone gases.
Effect of climate change:
- Migration of animals
- Upsetting the hydrological cycles results in floods and droughts
- Changes in global pattern of winds.
Factors that affect climate include:
- where a place is on the earth
- local land features like mountains
- the type and amount of plants like forest or grassland
- the nearness of large bodies of water prevailing winds and
- Human activities like burning fossil fuel, farming or cutting down forest.
Difference between Weather and Climate:
The difference between weather and climate is a measure of time. Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere "behaves" over relatively long periods of time.
When we talk about climate change, we talk about changes in long-term averages of daily weather. Today, children always hear stories from their parents and grandparents about how snow was always piled up to their waists as they trudged off to school. Children today in most areas of the country haven't experienced those kinds of dreadful snow-packed winters, except for the Northeastern U.S. in January 2005. The changes in recent winter snows indicate that the climate has changed since their parents were young.
If summers seem hotter lately, then the recent climate may have changed. In various parts of the world, some people have even noticed that springtime comes earlier now than it did 30 years ago. An earlier springtime is indicative of a possible change in the climate.