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Weather And Climate

The terms weather and climate often are used in conjunction with each other, but they refer to quite different phenomena. Weather involves atmospheric conditions that currently prevail or that exist over a relatively short period of time. Climate refers to the average weather pattern for a region (or for the whole planet) over a much longer period of time (at least three decades according to some authorities).

Changes in weather patterns are easily observed. It may rain today and be clear tomorrow. Changes in climate patterns are much more difficult to detect. If the summer of 1997 is unusually hot, there is no way of knowing if that fact is part of a general trend towards warmer weather or a single variation that will not appear again for some time.



Ahrens, C. David, Rachel Alvelais, and Nina Horne. Essentials of Meteorology: An Invitation to the Atmosphere. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, 2000.

Bramwell, Martyn. Weather. New York: Franklin Watts, 1994.

Danielson, Eric W., James Levin, and Elliot Abrams. Meteorology. 2nd ed. with CD-ROM. Columbus: McGraw-Hill Science/Engineering/Math, 2002.

Lutgens, Frederick K., Edward J. Tarbuck, and Dennis Tasa. The Atmosphere: An Intorduction to Meteorology. 8th ed. New York: Prentice-Hall, 2000.

Lynott, Robert E. How Weather Works and Why. Gadfly Press, 1994.

Watts, Alan. The Weather Handbook. Dobbs Ferry: Sheridan House, 1994.

Williams, Jack. The Weather Book. New York: Vintage Books, 1997.


"Temperature And Rainfall Tables: July 2002." Journal of Meteorology 27, no. 273 (2002): 362.

"Weather Extremes: July 2002." Journal Of Meteorology 27 no. 273 (2002): 361.

David E. Newton


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—The amount of water vapor contained in the air.


—The study of the earth's atmosphere and the changes that take place within it.


—A term referring to effects produced when air moves across a mountain range.

Solar constant

—The rate at which solar energy strikes the outermost layer of the earth's atmosphere.

Solar energy

—Any form of electromagnetic radiation that is emitted by the Sun.


—The detailed surface features of an area.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Verbena Family (Verbenaceae) - Tropical Hardwoods In The Verbena Family to WelfarismWeather - Solar Energy, Humidity, Clouds, And Precipitation, Atmospheric Pressure And Winds, Terrestrial Characteristics