Scientists Say: Weather

This is the condition in the atmosphere at a particular place and time

rain rolling off a black umbrella

A rainy day is an example of the weather. It’s a specific condition at a particular place and time.

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Weather (noun, “WEH-ther”)

Weather refers to the state of the atmosphere in a particular place and at a particular time. People might talk about the weather in terms of the temperature, air pressure, wind speed or how much water is in the air (humidity). They will also, of course, talk about whether it is rainy, snowy or sunny.

Weather is a local condition at a specific time. For example, the weather in your city today might be rainy. But the weather in a nearby town might be sunny and dry. That day’s weather, however, doesn’t tell you much about the region’s climate. Climate is all of the weather conditions in an area over a long period of time. That is the key difference between weather and climate. The weather in your city day might be rainy. But it would have to be generally rainy over a part of the year for many years to add up to a rainy climate. And a place with a rainy climate might not have rainy weather on any specific day. A good way to think of it is that climate is what you expect. Weather is what you get.  

In a sentence

People have been thinking about controlling the weather for a long time — but it might not be a magic solution to anyone’s problems.

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Bethany Brookshire was a longtime staff writer at Science News Explores and is the author of the book Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains. She has a Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology and likes to write about neuroscience, biology, climate and more. She thinks Porgs are an invasive species.

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