Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Climate of Weather

I seem, like maybe even you, to get mixed up when thinking about the differences between weather and climate. For years we've use these words indiscriminately, and thought them to be synonymous with one another. They aren't though !

Weather is what's around us on an everyday basis : windy or calm, rain or dry, hot or cool, etc ;
Climate is the phenomenon of our planets functions over time : heating or cooling, seas rising or receding, air breathable or less so, etc.

Weather develops from the interplay of gradients of barometric pressure which move, as a bubbling Lava Lamp of my generation, would. Weather seems channeled, small, and contained rather than climate which speaks to a much wider audience. Climate is on a planetary scale, such as, continents, seas, and oceans ; as tectonic plates ; and mountain ranges. Weather is for a few days maybe a week ; climate accumulates elements of weather over long periods of time, months, years even centuries to reflect weather's affect on our planet.

We change our clothing for weather ; for climate or climate change, thought detrimental to life on Earth, we are asked to change the way we humans conduct our way of life. The best minds are convinced human activity has negatively affected climate since the Industrial Revolution began about 1900. Man has exploited Earth's  sequestered carbon accumulated over millions, if not, billions of years to produce energy for the Revolution. Burning carbon releases pollutants which creates an imbalance in the planets atmosphere and scientist believe this has, and will, allow our planet to heat up causing catastrophic results for life here on Earth.

Mom would urge me to dress properly when I left to catch the bus, about a mile walk, on the way to school. She had a habit of saying: "The climate will change between this morning and this afternoon when you're coming home." Yes, she meant weather rather than climate, I grant you. Now, that was over seventy years ago and she didn't think she'd ever be quoted. 

Weather has developed daily for eons ; climate has, for the same amount of time, reflected the affects of weather on the Earth. It will be up to you to do what's proper for the Earth since, like me, we are her stewards.

Ronald C. Downie


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