Professor Paul Thursday - Weather Vs. Climate | weatherology°
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By: Meteorologist Paul Trambley
Updated: Aug 5th 2021

Professor Paul Thursday - Weather Vs. Climate

The terms weather and climate have some distinct similarities and differences. Weather is the day to day variations that occur in a given location. For example, if you are going on vacation next week, you would look up the forecast for that location to get an idea of how the weather will play out while you are there. As you can see, weather is a snapshot of conditions, and it changes on a daily basis depending on where you are located. 

Climate, on the other hand, is a much broader term. Basically, if you take the average of the weather conditions in a given location over a period of years, you are looking at the climate of an area. For example, if you were going to relocate to a city on the other side of the country, you would be more concerned about the climate of that location. As an example, the climate of Minnesota is typically characterized by cold and rather snowy winters, followed by warm summers with intermittent bouts of higher humidity along with showers and thunderstorms. 

A type of climate that is oftentimes mentioned is the Mediterranean climate. Countries that border the Mediterranean Sea can expect a climate that is characterized by hot, dry summers followed by cool, wet winters. 

When looking at a forecast, you will often see the average high and low temperatures for the location. These numbers are calculated by taking all the observed highs and lows for that location over a 30 year period and finding the averages of both. 

As you can now see, climate is the expected long-term pattern of weather conditions that are experienced in a location, while weather is the day to day variations that you look for when you look at a local weather forecast. 

Mediterranean climate
A Mediterranean climate is characterized by hot, dry summer and cool, wet winters.
The climate in the upper Midwest is characterized by cold and snowy winters followed by warm and rather wet summers.