The Difference Between Weather and Climate

To describe the weather, you might mention if it’s hot or cold. You might describe whether there are clouds in the sky and if rain is falling. Weather is the mix of events that happens each day in our atmosphere. It’s what forecasters predict. The weather is not the same everywhere. It may be hot and sunny in one place and freezing with snow in another.

Climate is the weather that you expect. It’s the average weather in a place over many years. For example, if it’s usually cold in January where you live, then you’d expect it to be cold in January. Each place on Earth has a different regional climate. For example, places closer to the equator are warmer than places near the poles. The climates of all places on Earth are averaged together to calculate global climate. 

Weather can change in just a few hours, but climate takes many years to change, even when it’s changing fast like it is now.

Graph showing average temperature for each month of the year for a location where it's warm in the summer and cold in the winter

A graph like this one can describe the climate of a place. It shows how temperature usually changes with the seasons of a year. From the graph, we can tell that the place is cold from November until February and hot from June until August.