What is the difference between climate and weather?

Climate is the long-term average weather for a particular place. The weather is the current condition of the atmosphere. So, the weather in Barrow, Alaska, might be a warm 70°F (21°C), but its tundra climate is generally polar-like and cold.

How are different types of climates classified?

The German-born, Russian climatologist Wladimir Koppen (1846-1940) developed a climate classification system that is still used today, albeit with some modifications. He classified climates into six categories: tropical humid, dry, mid-latitude, severe mid-latitude, polar, and highland. He also created sub-categories for five of these classifications. His climate map is often found in geography texts and atlases. In 1931, American geographer and climatologist Charles Warren Thornthwaite (1899-1963) published The Climates of North America: According to a New Classification, which takes into more thorough consideration how differences in geography affect local climates.

What was Hermann Flohn's contribution to climatology?

German meteorologist Hermann Flohn (1912-1997) studied climate change on a macro scale. He conducted research on how large-scale changes in the Earth's climate—specifically, how the entire atmosphere circulates—affect the environment. He was also one of the first to advance theories on how human beings affect the climate.

How did the Inca civilization experiment with climate?

In the Urubamba valley in Peru, in a city called Moray, is the remains of a great amphitheater-like terrace system. Archaeologists and scientists now believe that this was a great agricultural laboratory, where each area of the terrace exhibited completely different climates, allowing the Incas to experiment with different climates and growing techniques.

What are microclimates?

Microclimates are small-scale regions where the average weather conditions are measurably different from the larger, surrounding region. Differences in temperature, precipitation, wind, or cloud cover can produce microclimates. Frequent causes of microclimates are differences in elevation, mountains that alter wind patterns, shorelines, and man-made structures that can alter wind patterns.

What do butterflies have to do with chaos theory?

American mathematician and meteorologist Edward Norton Lorenz (1917-2008) came up with chaos theory as a way of explaining the unpredictable way in which mathematical and natural systems (including weather) behave. The idea was that even the tiniest changes in initial conditions of a complex, dynamic system can lead to huge, measurable effects over time. As a colorful metaphorical illustration of this concept, he posed that a single butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil could be the instigator of a tornado in Texas. He called this the "butterfly effect."

What is the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)?

Part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the NCDC serves as a vast archive of meteorological data called the World Data Center for Meteorology, which it then provides to various agencies, organizations, publications, insurance companies, and law firms all over the planet. Records go back as far as the nineteenth century, and include data ranging from modern radar and weather balloon reports to observations made by ships over a century ago. The meteorology data center is located in Asheville, North Carolina. The NCDC also runs the World Data Center for Paleoclimatology in Boulder, Colorado.

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