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K E Y I C O N S T O L O O K F O R : Words to Understand: These words with their easy-to-understand definitions will increase the reader’s understanding of the text while building vocabulary skills. Sidebars: This boxed material within the main text allows readers to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspectives by weaving together additional information to provide realistic and holistic perspectives. Educational Videos: Readers can view videos by scanning our QR codes, providing them with additional educational content to supplement the text. Examples include news coverage, moments in history, speeches, iconic sports moments, and much more! Chapter 1: Is Climate Different Than Weather?.................. 7 Chapter 2: Is Weather Different Now?..............................23 Chapter 3: Temperature Changes....................................35 Chapter 4: Precipitation and Wind. .................................49 Chapter 5: Is Man Changing the Weather?........................61 Series Glossary of Key Terms. .........................................72 Further Reading and Internet Resources..........................74 Organizations to Contact................................................76 Index . ..........................................................................77 Author’s Biography and Photo Credits. ............................80 Text-Dependent Questions: These questions send the reader back to the text for more careful attention to the evidence presented there. Research Projects: Readers are pointed toward areas of further inquiry connected to each chapter. Suggestions are provided for projects that encourage deeper research and analysis. Series Glossary of Key Terms: This back-of-the-book glossary contains terminology used throughout this series. Words found here increase the reader’s ability to read and comprehend higher-level books and articles in this field.


atmosphere: a thin layer of gas surrounding the planet crops: plants or animals, or plant or animal products, that are grown and harvested forecast: an estimate of the future weather state with respect to precipitation, clouds, winds, and temperature precipitation: a term describing any form of liquid falling from the sky, such as rain, sleet, snow, or hail relative humidity: a term used to describe how much water vapor is currently in the air



Climate and weather have had large roles to play in shaping the course of human history. They helped determine how early humans evolved, as well as where, and impacted where humans migrated to. Together, they have affected the types of crops that can be grown and the types of animals that can be hunted or domesticated, and even influenced the ways that various cultures and lifestyles developed. Even now in our modern world, where we’ve become somewhat sheltered from the direct impact of climate and weather, climate and weather work together to shape our daily lives. While climate and weather are pieces of the same puzzle, they are two distinct and separate forces that greatly influence our lives. Just how are weather and climate different from one another? Simply put, weather has to do with temporary conditions within the earth’s atmosphere , while climate has to do with the long-term weather patterns and atmospheric conditions in a specific region.


Watch this video to find out the real reasons why people confuse weather and climate.

What is Weather? Weather is something that most people pay close attention to everyday. In fact, you probably check the weather forecast at least once daily. Knowing what the weather is going to be like helps us to figure out the types of clothes that we’ll wear, and it also impacts our plans for the day. For example, your soccer team was scheduled to play a game, but rainy conditions cause the game to be canceled. You might decide to stay at home to watch television or read a book instead. On a more serious level, severe weather—such as tornadoes and hurricanes—can negatively affect the people living in that area. Intense weather systems can cause damage to or loss of property, as well as injure or kill people. These types of drastic weather events can change a person’s life in an instant.


The New Weather: Climate and Weather

When it comes to weather, the one constant is that it’s constantly changing. Weather refers to short-term conditions that exist within the earth’s atmosphere, which include temperature, humidity, precipitation , atmospheric pressure, wind, and cloud cover. Since its status is temporary, the weather is always fluctuating. That is why you may wake up to a perfectly warm and sunny day, only to have your plans ruined later because a thunderstorm rolls in. In short, a good definition for weather is: How the atmosphere is behaving from one minute, hour, day, and season to the next . The Elements of Weather There are six primary elements of weather. While each of these components is distinct, they are also linked together. Combined, they are what comprise the weather: • Temperature • Humidity • Precipitation • Atmospheric pressure • Wind • Cloud cover Temperature: Temperature is the measurement of how hot or cold the earth’s atmosphere is. In the United States, it is measured in Fahrenheit degrees. In most of the rest of the world (along with the scientific community), it is measured in Celsius. Temperature influences each of the other elements. Because of this, it is considered an important element when it comes to defining what weather conditions will be like. Humidity: Have you ever stepped outside on a warm day and immediately felt hot and sticky? That’s because of humidity— the amount of water vapor present within the air. Vapor is the gaseous form that water takes as it evaporates back into the earth’s


Is Climate DifferentThan Weather?

atmosphere. Meteorologists use the term relative humidity to explain what percentage of water can be held in the air at specific temperatures. For example, a relative humidity of 100 percent means that the air is entirely saturated and can’t absorb any more water vapor. Any additional vapor entering the atmosphere will turn into rain. Precipitation: Precipitation is water that forms within the atmosphere. Depending on the temperature within the atmosphere, it can be liquid water or solid (frozen) water, or a combination of the

Water that forms in the atmosphere is called precipitation. It can take many forms, such as liquid rain or frozen hail or snow.


The New Weather: Climate and Weather

two. The water that develops in the atmosphere then returns to the earth as rain, sleet, or snow. Precipitation is a part of the earth’s water cycle. Atmospheric pressure: Did you know that air has weight? This weight presses into everything air touches, creating pressure. This pressure is known as atmospheric pressure (also called air pressure ). Atmospheric pressure is the force exerted on the earth’s atmosphere by air. It is measured via the use of a barometer, which is a glass tube containing mercury that rises or falls based on atmospheric weight changes. If you’ve ever watched a weather forecast on television, you’ve probably heard the terms high-pressure and low pressure systems. A high-pressure system contains more pressure at the center of its system. These weather patterns rotate clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, causing wind to blow away from the pressure (usually to the east or southeast). High-pressure systems are generally the result of cooler air and tend to produce clearer weather. A low-pressure system happens when there is lower pressure at the center of the system, causing the wind to blow counterclockwise, away from the pressure. This kind of system sucks in air from the higher pressure areas around it, leading to wind and unstable weather, like storms. Wind: While the obvious definition of wind is the way that air moves, there’s a lot more to it than that. Wind is caused because Earth’s surface is heated unevenly by the sun. This generates differences between temperature and atmospheric pressure, causing wind to develop in high-pressure systems and blow into low pressure systems. In simple terms, warm air rises and is replaced by cool air. This air movement is the primary force behind the winds that blow. Cloud cover: Clouds are formed as water evaporates and condenses within the atmosphere. There are different types of clouds, and each has its own shape and purpose. The three basic cloud shapes are cumulus, cirrus, and stratus.


Is Climate DifferentThan Weather?


Also known as the hydrologic cycle or hydrological cycle , the water cycle describes the ways that water continuously moves between Earth and its atmosphere. The cycle consists of three parts: evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. Evaporation is the process of warm water rising into the atmosphere from the earth. Condensation occurs as water enters the atmosphere, cools, and turns into rain or snow. Precipitation is the water that falls back onto the earth’s surface as rain, sleet, or snow, where the entire cycle will begin again. The water you use today is the same water from when the earth formed. Only a tiny bit has escaped into space, so perhaps a Tyrannosaurus rex drank the same water you are drinking!


The New Weather: Climate and Weather


Meteorology is the study of what happens in the earth’s atmosphere. The focus is mainly on the way that atmospheric changes produce different kinds of weather conditions. Understanding these processes helps meteorologists (those who study meteorology) create forecasts. This information allows us to plan out our days. A forecast can even save lives by predicting dangerous weather conditions.

This is a weather radar station. This type of radar locates precipitation and calculates the type of precipitation (rain, hail, snow, etc.) and its motion. This weather radar is also called Doppler radar and weather surveillance radar (WSR).


Is Climate DifferentThan Weather?

Cumulus clouds are located at a low level in the atmosphere and are also short. They are indicators of good weather. Cirrus clouds are at a high altitude and are thin and wispy. They generally form ahead of storms. Stratus clouds are midlevel clouds, usually thin and gray, and have the potential to cause light precipitation. In addition to bringing and being indicators of the weather, clouds are also a sort of atmospheric blanket that assists in regulating Earth’s temperature.

Look at this incredible cloud cover! These clouds hover over the Trolltunga cliffs in Norway. Trolltunga was carved by a large icecap that once covered most of Scandinavia. Ringedalsvatnet lake sits in the center.


The New Weather: Climate and Weather


Located within the earth’s upper atmosphere are powerful winds that can reach approximately 275 mph (443 kph), known as jet streams . These strong air currents form as warm air rises and cooler air sinks down to replace that warm air. Jet streams are responsible for moving weather systems across the world, impacting temperature, precipitation, and more.

What is Climate? Climate is best defined as the average weather that a particular region experiences over a long period of time . It’s the type of weather that is expected in a particular place. For instance, you can expect to have hot and humid temperatures in the American Southeast during the summer, and cold temperatures with heavy snowfall in the American Northeast. If you’d like to put it simply, climate is the expectation, while weather is what actually happens on a day to-day basis. When tracking periods of steady rates or changes in climate, scientists measure the average weather conditions for an area for a period of 30 years or more. These averages are what determine what we can expect to occur during each of the four seasons in a particular location. They also help those scientists notice any anomalies within local climates. This is how they began to spot the signs of changes in the climate globally. Since it’s happening in the here and now, it’s much easier to notice changes in the weather than it is in climate. However, climate does change, just at a much slower pace. For example, the earth


Is Climate DifferentThan Weather?

has experienced several cold periods (known as ice ages ) and warm periods ( interglacials ) over approximately the last 1 million years. Climate scientists believe that these periods of changing climate can last many thousands of years. The Elements of the Climate System What drives climate? Just as with weather, climate has its own complex system comprised of five elements:

• Atmosphere • Hydrosphere • Cryosphere • Lithosphere • Biosphere

The atmosphere is air that surrounds the surface of the earth. Astronauts in space call it the thin blue line.


The New Weather: Climate and Weather

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