Weather & Climate

What Is Weather?

Weather is the state of air whether dry, cold, wet, windy or cloudy at a particular time and place. It is described as good weather, bad weather, awesome weather, fairly good, or bad weather etc. Man has been in awe of weather right through history. In ancient times, whenever a natural calamity took place, it was considered to be the work of God. Even today, weather plays an important role in the lives of people. Right from the clothing people wear, the kind of food they eat, the place they live and the way they travel or do things, is influenced by weather.

All over the world, people including scientists and meteorologists show great interest in weather and climatic conditions. The weatherman will always give a report on what the weather would be like on the television, radio and newspapers, which people read first and then decide what activities are to be planned next. Weather is often one of the main topics of conversation wherever you go across the world. In some countries the weather remains predictable, at some places unpredictable, or very changeable. The application of technology and science is termed as forecasting of weather.

Atmospheric state in a particular region is predicted in a weather forecast. Since millions of years, humans have made predictions on weather but it was only since the nineteenth century that weather predictions have been made formally. Quantitative data is collected about the atmosphere’s current state to make a forecast on weather. It is then later used for getting a better understanding about the processes of atmosphere on a scientific level. A projection is made on how the atmosphere will evolve later. At one point of time, weather forecast mainly depended upon the changes in weather conditions that took place currently, barometric pressure changes, condition of the skies, etc.

However in the present time the weather forecast relies more on models that are computer based in which many factors in the atmosphere are taken into account. For picking the best model for a weather forecast, input from humans is still needed involving, knowledge of performance of models and model biases, skills in recognizing patterns of weather are used by humans. Nature is chaotic and to solve atmospheric equations computational power on a massive scale is needed for describing atmosphere. A weather forecast will not be accurate enough if there is error, in measuring the conditions initially and understanding of processes in atmosphere is incomplete. Model consensus and ensembles are used for picking outcome that is most likely and also in narrowing down on errors.

What Is Climate?

Patterns in weather conditions over a long term can be defined as climate. Over a period of time an analysis of precipitation and average temperature is made to describe climate. The amount of sunlight, precipitation timing, speed of wind at an average, direction of wind, the number of days above the point of freezing, geography in the local area and extreme weather, the type of precipitation, etc are some of the elements considered for describing the climatic condition. The climate helps in letting people know how wet, hot or cold it is likely to be in different parts of the globe at various times of the year.

Hot climate is generally experienced in the tropical countries while a cold climate is experienced in the Antarctic regions. Four seasons like summer, winter, autumn and spring are included in climate. Seasons are also described as dry season or wet season. Climate depends greatly on the distance of the earth from the sun or the earth’s position from the sun. Data on weather is examined first to describe the climate in a particular location. Climatic conditions differ from one region to another and the biggest challenge lies, in determining why this happens.

To determine climate, a number of factors that work together will need to be considered. In some regions it is snowy and cold while in other regions there is no snowfall at all. Over many years, the average weather of a place is taken to determine climate. It takes millions of years for climatic change to take place in various regions across the world. A change in climate is seen when there are persistent changes in climatic conditions over a period of many years.
Due to changes in external forces, internal processes, or anthropogenic changes that take place persistently, in land use, of atmospheric composition etc there can be changes in climatic conditions. There is decrease in temperature as there is increase in elevation. When temperature is extremely low then there are lesser chances of tree growth. The climate determines growth of trees or vegetation and their sustenance, in a particular region or state. Climatic conditions are taken into consideration by a large number of travelers and tourists when they move across countries or one destination to another during different parts of the year.

Major Differences Between Weather And Climate – With Examples

Measure of time is used to describe the difference in climate and weather. The atmospheric conditions over a shorter period of time are described as weather. Behavioral patterns of atmosphere over a long period of time can be described as climate. When there is change in weather conditions at an average over a longer term, it can be said that there is a change in climate. Hundreds of years back, some of the regions across the world experienced piles of snow up to the waist. However in the present times, those very same regions do not experience as much snow as compared to that time. This is due to climate change.

Due to a change in climate, summers could become hotter as compared to summers in the past in many parts of the world and the same goes for the rest of the seasons, like winter, autumn and spring. In many parts of the world it is noticed that spring season arrives much earlier than it did three to four decades ago. It is the change in climate due to which spring arrives early. Variations in climate can be for a shorter term or a longer term. These changes are dependent on changes in the system of the Earth, volcanic eruptions, etc. In the case of climate, scientists generally look at the sunshine, precipitation, velocity of wind, temperature and sunshine, hail storms, frost, fog etc at an average over a longer time period at a particular region.

What does weather mean? It is behavior of atmosphere that determines weather with respect to the effect it has on activities of humans and life. Atmospheric changes which last from minutes to a few days, months and seasons determine weather. Weather is thought of in terms of precipitation, visibility, temperature, atmospheric pressure, cloudiness, humidity, low pressure, high pressure and wind.

Weather on an average over space and time can be termed climate. To understand the difference between climate and weather look at this. The climate of a place can be described as being hot. But when describing the weather on a hot summer day, one has to describe the thunderstorms too that may occasionally occur in a hot place. Flooding, thunderstorms, sunshine, heat waves, freezing rain, winds, rain, cloud, blizzards, steady rains, sleet, hail, excessive heat, etc are some of the components that make up weather. The average pattern of weather is taken for a particular period of time or regions over decades to determine climate in that region, by scientists.

Factors That Influence Weather
Weather is influenced by various factors like water cycle, air masses and jet stream. In the case of water cycle, the Earth’s surface is warmed up by the sun and the level of water rises from oceans, the ground, lakes, wells, rivers and sources of other kinds. Evaporation is the name of such a process. Moisture is provided to the atmosphere in the form of water vapor and eventually the water vapor or moisture returns back to the Earth’s surface in precipitation form and there is continuity in the cycle.
In the case of air mass, over a surface, air hovers with uniform temperature and humidity and characteristics of the surface area below is taken by it. For example in the north of Canada, the air mass over ice and snow could become dry and cold. Over the Atlantic Ocean for example the air mass could become humid and warm. Thousands of miles are covered by the massive air volumes and then reach the stratosphere. Air masses move the wind patterns across the globe and the cyclonic storms over a period of time far from the regions of source. When two masses of air come in contact with each other, the hot air gets pushed up by the cold air. There is drop in temperature when the air goes up and molecules of water undergo condensation to form clouds. When air is warm, it is not able to hold ater.

Jet Stream is also a factor that influences weather. This name is given to a particular air area where two masses of air converge at different temperatures. For example a warm front is met by a cold front. If between the masses of air there is difference then the difference in temperature will be greater and greater difference in pressure. In a jet stream, the wind blows at a faster rate.
This stream has wind speeding to the extent of 100 mph to 200 mph. Winter season is the time when jet streams are commonly experienced when the temperature difference is greater between warm masses of air from the ocean and the cold masses of air from the continental regions. This kind of jet stream is experienced above the surface of the Earth up to five to ten miles. It is a high speed meandering wind current generally flowing from west to east, non-continuously with cold dips at the Equator and warm bulges at the poles.

Factors That Influence Climate
There are lots of factors that influence our climate. Altitude, elevation, wind patterns, angles of the sun’s rays, latitude, geographical effects, topography and surface of the earth. Climate gets affected by altitude or elevation. As there is increase in altitude, the climate generally becomes colder. Changes are reflected in the high mountainous life zone areas. At the base of the mountains the plants grow just as in the countryside area however above the timberline, it is not possible for trees to grow. At the highest elevations there is a lot of snow experienced.

Wind patterns also affect climate to a great extent. In both the southern hemisphere and the northern hemisphere there are three main patterns of wind. They are essentially average conditions and climatic conditions on a particular day are not revealed. When there is a change of seasons, the wind patterns move either to the south or the north. The same applies to the convergence zone in the inter-tropical regions which moves across the Equator back and forth. Such a zone is generally termed as doldrums since there are weak winds in this area.

The other factors that influence climate are the angle of the rays of the sun and the latitude of that region. Axis of the earth tilts as it circles around the sun causing changes in the angle in which the rays of the sun come in contact with the earth. Accordingly at various latitudes there is a change in the hours of daylight available. Greatest variations have been seen in the polar region. In winter, there is no sunlight or limited sunlight and during summer the region experiences daylight all through the twenty four hours.

Climate is also influenced by topography. The natural barrier to movement of air is the mountains. In particular regions like California, the Pacific Ocean winds carry air filled with moisture towards the coast which allows light precipitation and certain condensation. In the inland areas, level of air precipitation is more significant. The prevailing patterns of wind and masses of air are determined by the distance of a city or town from the mountainous region and water areas besides its exact location. In summer refreshing breezes are experienced by coastal regions since cold air from the oceans move to the shore. When three kinds of air masses keep converging frequently then thunderstorms or tornado storms are caused. The earth’s surface also influences climate depending upon the level of heating or cooling in the atmosphere in those regions.

Instruments To Measure The Elements Of Weather – Thermometer, Barometer, Anemometer, Rain Gauge…

To measure weather, different kinds of gauges and instruments like the weather balloon, thermometer to measure temperature, the weather vane to determine the direction of wind, rain gauge to find out the amount of rain, hygrometer to measure humidity, barometer to measure air pressure, and the anemometer to measure wind speed are used. Gauges are used to measure snow and rain.

Humidity levels of water or vapor amount in the air are measured by a hygrometer or the hydrometer. At various temperatures, the level of comfort is measured in terms of humidity. Some of the regions experience discomfort at various levels, due to which humidity is to be measured. For expressing how temperature is felt, another way is relative humidity or water vapor saturation point in the air which calculates air moisture.

Air temperature or content of heat in the air is measured by thermometers. In usage of a traditional thermometer, the ‘mercury rising’ idea is generally used. Readings are generated by use of liquid mercury in the thermometers. The liquid within the thermometers rises due to the heat. Within the thermometer tube the liquid travels down and up. Depending upon the location where the measure is taken, the temperature is measured in terms of degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius. For measuring temperature above the ground at five feet and within a particular shelter the official thermometer is used. This is necessary since effects of environment and wind such as shadows, topography or shade could skew readings of a thermometer.

Barometer is used to measure air pressure. It helps in predicting weather, the fall and rise of storms that are advancing. It measure air amount at a particular place. A bad weather or storm that is advancing is indicated by a falling barometer while an increasing one indicates that the weather is improving. Air pressure or contraction and expansion of airless metal box, is best measured by the aneroid barometer when changes in air pressure takes place.

Snow or rain gauge used for measuring precipitation is a simple gadget. Snow up to ten inches is generally equivalent to water or rain up to one inch. Velocity, strength of air motion or wind speed is measured by the anemometer. On airports and buildings the speed of wind is measured at 33 feet for which windsocks are also used. The cup anemometer is a typical example of the anemometer used for taking measurements. Depending upon per minute revolutions, calculations of wind speed is done.

What Is A Weather Station? How Does It Function? How Does It Help?
A system called weather station is used collecting and reporting measurements related to weather, environment and atmosphere. It contains sensors in a group. Measurements are taken by these sensors and a data logger or a central console first collects and then reports data related to measurement received from the sensors. Weather conditions that exist currently are gauged by using this data and make forecasts on weather for a short term. The consoles also have features of being connected to the computer where storage of data is possible for analysis of statistics or the data is uploaded onto the site online.

The weather station contains a number of things including a rain gauge of the self emptying type, a barometer, a wind vane, a thermometer, an anemometer and a hygrometer. Besides this, the sensors are also available in many of the weather stations for measuring humidity levels and also the temperature indoors. While there are simple weather stations, some of them are of the complex variety which could include a snow gauge, UV light sensors or the ultraviolet light sensors, soil moisture sensors, soil temperature sensors, solar radiation sensors, water temperature sensors, and leaf wetness sensors. The evapo-transpiration amount is also measured by some of the weather stations of the professional type which is extremely useful in the industry of agriculture.
The wired weather station and the wireless weather station are the two different variations the weather stations come in. Weaknesses and strengths are seen in each of the set up so it is important to first read and understand comparison between the wired or the wireless weather stations. In case you need to purchase a weather station for your home then you will also need to understand that the computer interface and the graphical display are important as well since the information will also have to be processed too.

The weather station takes the variables and on measuring them you get an idea on what is going on weather wise. To get a vague idea on what the weather would be in the future you will need to check the patterns of weather that go on currently in comparison to the pattern of weather conditions in the past. The internet can be used to get an idea on weather conditions, while supercomputers are utilized by weather associations. It is virtually impossible to predict weather accurately.