Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, precipitation, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods. Climate can be contrasted to weather, which is the present condition of these elements and their variations over shorter periods.
A region's climate is generated by the climate system, which has five components: atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, land surface, and biosphere.
The climate of a location is affected by its latitude, terrain, and altitude, as well as nearby water bodies and their currents. Climates can be classified according to the average and the typical ranges of different variables, most commonly temperature and precipitation. The most commonly used classification scheme was originally developed by Wladimir Köppen. The Thornthwaite system, in use since 1948, incorporates evapotranspiration along with temperature and precipitation information and is used in studying animal species diversity and potential effects of climate changes. The Bergeron and Spatial Synoptic Classification systems focus on the origin of air masses that define the climate of a region.
Paleoclimatology is the study of ancient climates. Since direct observations of climate are not available before the 19th century, paleoclimates are inferred from proxy variables that include non-biotic evidence such as sediments found in lake beds and ice cores, and biotic evidence such as tree rings and coral. Climate models are mathematical models of past, present and future climates. Climate change may occur over long and short timescales from a variety of factors; recent warming is discussed in global warming.
Famous quotes containing the word climate:
“If often he was wrong and at times absurd,
To us he is no more a person
Now but a whole climate of opinion.”
—W.H. (Wystan Hugh)
“When we consider how much climate contributes to the happiness of our condition, by the fine sensation it excites, and the productions it is the parent of, we have reason to value highly the accident of birth in such a one as that of Virginia.”
—Thomas Jefferson (17431826)
“Ghosts, we hope, may be always with usthat is, never too far out of the reach of fancy. On the whole, it would seem they adapt themselves well, perhaps better than we do, to changing world conditionsthey enlarge their domain, shift their hold on our nerves, and, dispossessed of one habitat, set up house in another. The universal battiness of our century looks like providing them with a propitious climate ...”
—Elizabeth Bowen (18991973)