The Difference Between Climate and Weather

The Difference Between Climate and Weather

Liz Bentley

25 years: Meteorologist

Weather and climate are used interchangeably but have important distinctions. Join Liz Bentley as she explores the difference between the two concepts.

Weather and climate are used interchangeably but have important distinctions. Join Liz Bentley as she explores the difference between the two concepts.

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The Difference Between Climate and Weather

8 mins 52 secs

Overview

Climate change engagement is a critical component in building awareness and knowledge for addressing the climate crisis through informed decision-making by individuals, businesses, and governments. This engagement is molded by experiences, cultural models, and underlying values and beliefs that impact behavioral change. We are more familiar with the weather, such as how hot or cold, or wet or dry it is and can measure the it using instruments such as thermometers and barometers, and keep a record of these measurements. Climate is the average of this weather data, typically averaged over a 30-year period.

Key learning objectives:

  • Identify the difference between weather and climate

  • Understand how climate has changed

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This video is now available for free. It is also part of a premium, accredited video course. Speak to an expert today to watch more.

Summary

What is the difference between weather and climate?

Climate is the average of weather data over a 30-year period, while weather is the day-to-day variations in temperature, precipitation, and other atmospheric conditions. Climate describes the expected weather conditions for a particular region, while weather describes the actual conditions on a given day.

Why is the 30-year time period important when studying climate?

Weather describes atmospheric conditions at a specific place and time, while climate describes the average weather over a 30-year period. The 30-year period is important because it smooths out natural variability in climate and allows us to focus on long-term changes.

How has the UK's climate changed in the most recent decades?

The UK's climate in the most recent decades has become warmer, wetter, and sunnier than during the 20th century. The sea level around the UK has also risen by around 16.5cm since 1900, with the rate of rise currently increasing to between 3-5mm a year. The UK is also experiencing more extreme weather events such as more frequent and intense heat waves.

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This video is now available for free. It is also part of a premium, accredited video course. Speak to an expert today to watch more.

Liz Bentley

Liz Bentley

Professor Liz Bentley is the Chief Executive of the Royal Meteorological Society, a not-for-profit organisation based in the UK. Her career in meteorology spans over 30 years and she has worked at the Met Office, BBC, and in Government. She is a regular contributor to the major broadcasters, delivering over 200 media interviews each year.

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