Climate versus weather

The sky reflects the weather, the landscape reflects the climate © Tara Pelembe

Weather refers to short-term, atmospheric conditions, climate to long-term ones. Weather is measured by temperature, humidity, wind speed, atmospheric pressure, cloudiness, and precipitation.  Climate is the average, or typical, weather conditions of a given area observed over a long period of time, usually 30 years or more.


Different areas, or climate zones as they are called, are distinguished from each other by their prevailing temperature and precipitation, which have a natural range and variability within zones.


Climate variations can occur from year to year, one decade to another, one century to another, or any longer time scale.  Weather conditions may change quickly, for example, it may be sunny and dry one day and rainy and cool the next. Climate, on the other hand, is slower to change, but the implications of change are far reaching.