- Education and Science
Learn the Difference Between Weather and Climate for Kids
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.
The Difference Between Climate and Weather
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.