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Climate Extension

Weather

What is weather?
Weather represents the state of the atmosphere over a shorter period of time, such as in a minute, an hour, or a day. Any event that is occurring in a short time frame is typically represented as weather events. Weather is what we observe everyday such as, hot or cold days, rainy days, evening thunderstorms etc.


Is Weather Different from Climate?
Yes. Weather represents the atmospheric events that occur over a shorter period of time, such as in a minute, an hour, or a day. Climate, on the other hand, represents average weather conditions over a period of time, such as a month, a season, a year, or a number of years.


What do these weather terms mean?

  • Relative Humidity: It refers to the amount of water vapor in the mixture of air + water vapor. It is represented in terms of percentages (%) in weather report or forecasts. For example, if the relative humidity is 60%, it indicates that the air is holding 60% of the moisture it takes to fully saturate the air.
  • Dew Point: It represents the temperature to which given water vapor must be cooled to the point that it condenses into water. Dew point is closely associated with relative humidity. If the relative humidity is high, the dew point is closer to the actual temperature. If the relative humidity is 100%, the dew point is same as the current temperature.  
  • Feels-Like Temperature: This is an adapted weather term to represent the unique temperature that your body would really feel as opposed to the actual temperature considering additional factors such as wind, humidity, cloudiness etc. along with the actual temperature. For example, if the temperature outside is 32oF on a windy winter day, your body may feel colder than 32oF due to the wind effects. The unique index estimates that feels-like temperature.


If the temperature is above “Normal”, is it abnormal?
In a meteorological term, the word “Normal” represents long-term average climate conditions. So, for instance, January 1st, 2011 weather was 10oF above normal, it means that the temperature is 10oF above last 30 years “average” temperature for January 1st. The term normal is typically used as a reference to which the daily weather events are compared. So above or below normal weather conditions doesn’t necessarily mean extreme conditions.


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