Weather vs Climate – Difference and Comparison

What is Weather?

The term weather refers to the short-term condition of the atmosphere. The atmosphere is a layer of gases that surrounds the earth. These gases include nitrogen, Oxygen, and other gases held to earth by gravity.

When the sun heats the gases in the atmosphere to different temperatures, the air starts to move. This air movement, which is known as wind, brings weather changes at different times and in different areas.

Air pressure, air moisture, and temperature cause changes in the atmosphere, thereby leading to different weather patterns. Weather is measured in the short-term, day-to-day.

The weather can either be sunny, rainy, cloudy, foggy, windy, snowy and so on. These are the effects of different weather conditions.

Weather conditions in the atmosphere include precipitation, temperature, humidity, wind direction, wind speed, and atmospheric pressure. A mixture of these conditions is what causes the weather changes which we can feel and see.

Experts that study and predict weather patterns are known as meteorologists. The word comes from the Greek terms ‘Meteoron’ and ‘Logos’ which mean “high in the sky” and “knowledge” respectively.

What is Climate?

Climate is the average weather in a given area over a long period. Typically, the climate of an area is averaged over 30 years.

A climate change can lead to changes in normal weather patterns. The two, despite their differences, are interlinked.

Climate conditions vary from place to place and hence have an influence on the types of plants that grow there and the animals that live there. For example, tropical climates tend to support a variety of plants and wildlife.

Polar climates on the other hand can have extremely cold temperatures and strong winds. The animals that live in this type of climate, such as polar bears, have adapted and can hardly survive in tropical climates.

Global climate has always been fluctuating. Over the past few years though, the rate at which climate change occurs has increased. This hastened change can be attributed to human activities.

One of the main factors that lead to climate change is the burning of fossil fuels such as gas and oil, which produce excess Carbon Dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. This has led to a type of climate change that is known as global warming.

Difference Between Weather and Climate

  1. Weather is measured over a short period, day-to-day, whereas climate is measured over longer periods, 30 years.
  2. Weather can constantly change over minutes or hours. The climate on the other hand changes gradually.
  3. Weather is forecasted and measured through the collection of data that describes the current state of the atmosphere. The climate on the other hand is measured and forecasted based on weather statistics collected over 30 years.
  4. Weather is affected by temperature, humidity, air pressure, cloudiness, wind direction, and precipitation. The climate on the other hand is affected by air temperature, wind patterns, ocean surface temperature, and precipitation.
  5. The study of weather is known as meteorology, while the study of climate is known as climatology.

Comparison Between Weather and Climate

Parameters of ComparisonWeatherClimate
TimeMeasured over a short timeMeasured over a long time
ChangesChanges constantly every single dayChanges gradually over a long time
Measurement and ForecastingThrough a collection of data describing the current state of the atmosphereThrough a collection of weather statistics collected over 30 years
Affected byTemperature, humidity, air pressure, wind direction, precipitationAir temperature, wind patterns, ocean surface temperature, precipitation
StudyThe study of weather is known as meteorologyThe study of climate is known as climatology