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Christina Loren is a Certified Meteorologist with an enthusiastic passion for atmospheric science.

What is the Difference Between Weather and Climate

By: Christina Loren

        The distinction that separates climate and weather is time. Climate is an average measure of weather for a specific location over a long period of time, typically 30 years or more. Weather describes the short-term changes in atmospheric conditions like temperature, humidity, wind, and rainfall for a defined area. There are certain parameters that must be met over a long duration of time in order to classify an area as a desert. For example, desert climates typically receive less than 10 inches of rain per year. 

     Here in California we are dealing with mandatory water restrictions due to four consecutive years of below average rainfall. What is interesting is that drought conditions may improve dramatically next year as we are noticing good signs for a strong El Nino in the Pacific Ocean. This is significant because with a strong El Nino there is a high likelihood of heavier than average rainfall for the upcoming rainy season in California.

Read Christina Loren's answer to At what point do we stop saying "area X is suffering a years long drought" and just say "the climate has changed, area X is now classified as desert"? on Quora

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posted by Christina Loren @ 4:46 PM,


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