Weather School: Weather versus climate

Weather School: Weather versus climate

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Weather and climate: you may be tempted to think they're one in the same, but there are some important differences. Weather tells you what to wear each day; climate tells you what to have in your closet.

The short-term state of the atmosphere in the past, present, or future, is weather. We're talking about things like temperature, precipitation, and wind from minute to minute and place to place. So, your daily forecast or even the 7 day forecast is weather.

Climate looks at the long-term pattern of weather conditions in a particular spot. Usually, we're talking 30 years or more. Why that long? Climate scientists agree that 30 years is a good length of time to establish what the usual range of conditions are at a given location throughout the year. Climate can give insight on what to expect season to season but not any details on day to day conditions.

A good analogy is to think about a pass in football. The path the receiver takes is weather while the path the ball takes from quarterback to receiver is climate. Weather can be highly variable, like the runner's path. Climate is much less variable, like the path of the ball.

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