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Climate vs. Weather: What is the Difference?

April 25, 2023

Right now, we are experiencing a lovely Midwest spring, full of blooming flowers and the return of that warmer sunshine you may have been missing all winter. But that doesn’t mean that every day is sunny and that temps keep getting warmer. In fact, spring can feel downright confusing sometimes, with cold and warm days all mixed up together.  

How are you supposed to know what to wear to school? 

Knowing the difference between weather and climate can help you understand more about what you can expect right here in Indiana throughout the year.  

The difference between weather and climate is a measure of time 

What in the heck does that mean? Well, weather is the way the atmosphere is behaving (and affecting us humans) during a short time frame. If you know that it is going to rain today, for instance, that is the weather. However, climate describes what the weather is like over a long period of time in a certain location. How much rain we get in Indiana every summer, for instance, is a description of our climate. 

In other words … 

Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get. 

What does this mean for climate change? 

Since the climate of a place is made up of the weather patterns measured over time, climate tends to stay relatively stable. Until now. Scientists are seeing trends of climates warming up. So even though places like the arctic are still getting snow and are still cold many days, the weather is averaging warmer temps, therefore changing the climate. This means it also changes the way all living things interact within the many ecosystems and climates of our planet. A warmer climate, for instance, means less ice for the polar bears to live on and less of a chance for them to find the food they need. 

Keep reading this issue of Boomerang to learn more about climate change and what you can do to help our planet!