Global Climates and Change

File:Köppen-Geiger climate classification (1980-2016).png

Fig. 11.1 “Köppen-Geiger climate classification” by Beck, H.E. et al. 2018 is licensed as Public Domain.

Global Climates and Change

Weather is the current state of the atmosphere for a particular place at a particular time. Climate is a statistical average of weather for a specific location, over 30 years or more. Weather can change at any minute, but climate takes years, if not decades, to change. Like the weather, the climate is a complex system involving the oceans, atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. Changes in climate can be slow processes that are caused by a variety of natural phenomena, or caused by sudden and dramatic changes.



Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, students should be able to:

  • Recognize and define the difference between weather and climate.
  • List the natural variables that control the climate.
  • Describe the basis for the Koppen classification for climate.
  • Differentiate between long-term climate change and anthropogenic climate change.


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Dynamic Planet: Exploring Geological Disasters and Environmental Change Copyright © 2021 by Charlene Estrada, Carolina Michele Londono, Merry Wilson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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