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:
“Certainly parents play a crucial role in the lives of individuals who are intellectually gifted or creatively talented. But this role is not one of active instruction, of teaching children skills,... rather, it is support and encouragement parents give children and the intellectual climate that they create in the home which seem to be the critical factors.”
—David Elkind (20th century)
“Is not their climate foggy, raw, and dull,
On whom, as in despite, the sun looks pale,
Killing their fruit with frowns?”
—William Shakespeare (15641616)