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.
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.