NASA - What's the Difference Between Weather and Climate? Surprisingly Many Still Misunderstand This
The difference between weather and climate is a measure of time. Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere "behaves" over relatively long periods of time.
When we talk about climate change, we talk about changes in long-term averages of daily weather (usually 30 years). Today, children always hear stories from their parents and grandparents about how snow was always piled up to their waists as they trudged off to school. Children today in most areas of the country haven't experienced those kinds of dreadful snow-packed winters, except for the Northeastern U.S. in January 2005. The change in recent winter snows indicate that the climate has changed since their parents were young.
If summers seem hotter lately, then the recent climate may have changed. In various parts of the world, some people have even noticed that springtime comes earlier now than it did 30 years ago. An earlier springtime is indicative of a possible change in the climate.
In addition to long-term climate change, there are shorter term climate variations. This so-called climate variability can be represented by periodic or intermittent changes related to El Niño, La Niña, volcanic eruptions, or other changes in the Earth system.
So that fact that a region got snow this week (weather) does not mean that the climate (30 year period) has not warmed up. Climate change is a measurable phenomenon. It's not an opinion of thousands of scientists around the world. Many still debate the causes of global warming but can we afford to ignore identified causes if we are wrong? Our children will pay for this in 30 to 50 years time.
|NASA - What's the Difference Between Weather and Climate?
What's the Difference Between Weather and Climate?