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What Is the Difference Between Weather and Climate for Kids

Updated on January 28, 2021

There's a difference between weather and climate. Weather refers to daily conditions like rain, wind, or sun. It is the temperature, level of moisture, and wind speed at a particular time. You can’t know what the weather will be where you live on a particular day a month from now. It may be raining, windy or sunny.

But you can know the climate of your area. Weather can change from day to day. Climate doesn’t, so we can have an idea of the type of weather your hometown will have at a certain time of year. Does it ever snow where you live? I live in Southern California. It never snows where I live because we have a mild climate all year long.

Weather is the daily state of the atmosphere, or air, in any given place. Climate is the average of weather conditions in an area over a long period.


What Is Climate?

Climate is the kind of weather a place has over a long period of time. This is usually hundreds to thousands of years. For example, Boston in the United States always has cold winters and hot summers. Bangladesh, in Asia, has hot, rainy summers and mild dry winters. It never snows in Bangladesh and always rains in summer. The Arctic and Antarctica are frigid all year long.

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, climate is “the average course or condition of the weather at a place usually over a period of years as exhibited by temperature, wind velocity, and precipitation.” In other words, you can measure conditions like temperature and wind speed over many years and come up with averages for a particular time of the year in a given location. We can’t know when a hurricane will hit Bermuda in the Caribbean until one forms and heads toward the island. But climate data tells us that Bermuda has a one in four risk of getting hit by a hurricane each year.

The climates of different countries vary based on their location on Earth. The tropics are an area close to the equator. They lie between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Countries in the tropics have a mild climate all year long. The North and South Poles are freezing all year long. Climates tend to be harsher in areas close to the poles like Scandinavia and milder in areas closer to the equator, such as Florida.

This map shows average precipitation (rainfall) for the month of December around the world
This map shows average precipitation (rainfall) for the month of December around the world | Source

What is Weather?

When you think about what the weather is like outside, it isn't just one condition. If you watch a meteorologist (a person who tells us the weather) on television, they will discuss temperature (how hot or cold), precipitation (amount of rain), wind, humidity (the amount of moisture in the air), and atmospheric pressure.

All of these elements of weather can differ in degree. For example, wind can be hurricane force or just a gentle breeze. Precipitation can be rain, snow, hail, or sleet. Rain can be heavy or light. It can last or day or just an hour or two. There might be a thunderstorm or a hurricane.

When you listen to the weather, you may hear that today will be warm with temperatures with a high of 77 degree Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) with light showers, low humidity, and light winds. There may be low or high pressure.

The Difference Between Climate and Weather

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2013 JoanCA


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