Climate



Climate is the long-term pattern of weather in a particular area. It is measured by assessing the patterns of variation in temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, precipitation, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological variables in a given region over long periods of time. Climate is different from weather, in that weather only describes the short-term conditions of these variables in a given region.

A region's climate is generated by the climate system, which has five components: atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, lithosphere, 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 Koppen. 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. Read more ...




In the News ...





'Extreme and unusual' climate trends continue after record 2016   BBC - March 21, 2017
Check out the map. In the atmosphere, the seas and around the poles, climate change is reaching disturbing new levels across the Earth. That's according to a detailed global analysis from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).




Climate change: Data shows 2016 likely to be warmest year yet   BBC - January 19, 2017

Temperature data for 2016 shows it is likely to have edged ahead of 2015 as the world's warmest year.




North Pole Forecast To Be 50 Degrees Warmer Than Normal This Week   Huffington Post - December 22, 2016

Temperatures in the Arctic are predicted to soar nearly 50 degrees above normal on Thursday in a pre-Christmas heat wave that will bring the frozen tundra scarily close to the melting point. It's the second year in a row the North Pole - now in perpetual darkness after saying goodbye to the sun in late October - has seen abnormally high temperatures around the Christmas holiday. It's also the second time this year. In November, temperatures in the region skyrocketed 36 degrees above normal.




Over 90% of world breathing bad air: WHO   PhysOrg - September 27, 2016
The problem is most acute in cities, but air in rural areas is worse than many think, WHO experts said. Poorer countries have much dirtier air than the developed world, according to the report, but pollution affects practically all countries in the world and all parts of society.




Methane was not the climate savior once imagined for the middle chapter of Earth history   PhysOrg - September 27, 2016
For at least a billion years of the distant past, planet Earth should have been frozen over but wasn't. Scientists thought they knew why, but a new modeling study from the Alternative Earths team of the NASA Astrobiology Institute has fired the lead actor in that long-accepted scenario.




Ancient global cooling gave rise to modern ecosystems   PhysOrg - September 27, 2016
Around 7 million years ago, landscapes and ecosystems across the world began changing dramatically. Subtropical regions dried out and the Sahara Desert formed in Africa. Rain forests receded and were replaced by the vast savannas and grasslands that persist today in North and South America, Africa and Asia. Up to now, these events have generally been explained by separate tectonic events - the uplift of mountain ranges or the alteration of ocean basins - causing discrete and local changes in climate. But in a new study, a team of researchers has shown that these environmental changes coincided with a previously undocumented period of global cooling, which was likely driven by a sharp reduction in atmospheric carbon dioxide.




Study: Earth's roughly warmest in about 100,000 years   PhysOrg - September 26, 2016
A new study paints a picture of an Earth that is warmer than it has been in about 120,000 years, and is locked into eventually hitting its hottest mark in more than 2 million years.




Oldest pine fossils reveal fiery past   Science Daily - March 10, 2016

The oldest fossils of the familiar pine tree that dominates Northern Hemisphere forests today has been found by researchers. The 140-million-year-old fossils (dating from the Cretaceous 'Age of the Dinosaurs') are exquisitely preserved as charcoal, the result of burning in wildfires. Scientists have found the oldest fossils of the familiar pine tree that dominates Northern Hemisphere forests today. Scientists from the Department of Earth Sciences at Royal Holloway, University of London have found the oldest fossils of the familiar pine tree that dominates Northern Hemisphere forests today. The 140-million-year-old fossils (dating from the Cretaceous 'Age of the Dinosaurs') are exquisitely preserved as charcoal, the result of burning in wildfires. The fossils suggest that pines co-evolved with fire at a time when oxygen levels in the atmosphere were much higher and forests were especially flammable.




Americans Still Don't Know What Climate Change Is, Google Shows   Huffington Post - December 14, 2015

World leaders took a major step forward Saturday when they reached an accord on curbing the climate change crisis facing our planet -- but if Google search data is anything to go by, Americans are barely aware that there was a problem to begin with. A look at Google Trends data on Monday shows that the "top questions" people in the United States typed into the search engine include "Is climate change real?" and "Why is climate change important?" Google's data shows that, in the past week, the United States ranked 56th in terms of interest in the COP21 summit. Togo, Cameroon and Burkina Faso were the top three most interested, according to the search data. Top questions on Climate Change




  Cold Atlantic 'blob' puzzles scientists   CNN - September 30, 2015
At first glance, it stands out like a sore thumb. That blob of blue and purple on the map. One of the only places on the globe that is abnormally cold in a year that will likely shatter records as the warmest globally. It's being called the Atlantic "blob." It's a large area in the North Atlantic that is seeing a pronounced cooling trend. The ocean surface is much cooler than normal and in fact record cold in some locations. Scientists began to notice it developing over the last couple of years, this cooling in the Atlantic is the complete opposite of the warming over in the Pacific. Much of the warming is attributed to El Nino, a natural process where warm water sloshes over the Central Pacific and extends to South America, but scientists are unable to completely explain what has been dubbed the Pacific Blob. This pronounced warming over large areas of the entire Pacific basin has fueled a well above average season for hurricanes and typhoons over the entire Pacific, and could have contributed to everything from the California drought, impacts on the salmon industry, and even tropical sharks seen in waters further north than ever before.




Should we fear the North Atlantic Blob? Climate scientists warn record cold in ocean may be a sign of changes to ocean currents   Daily Mail - September 30, 2015
The planet is on course to experience one of its warmest years on record, but scientists have been left baffled by a massive cold patch in the North Atlantic Ocean. The area, which lies just to the south of Greenland and Iceland, is showing some of the coldest temperatures ever recorded for the region. It comes at a time large parts of the world are experiencing some of the hottest on record, raising fears the recent 'pause' in global warming has come to an end.




Deciphering clues to prehistoric climate changes locked in cave deposits   PhysOrg - May 23, 2015
When the conversation turns to the weather and the climate, most people's thoughts naturally drift upward toward the clouds, but Jessica Oster's sink down into the subterranean world of stalactites and stalagmites. It turns out that the steady dripping of water deep underground can reveal a surprising amount of information about the constantly changing cycles of heat and cold, precipitation and drought in the turbulent atmosphere above. As water seeps down through the ground it picks up minerals, most commonly calcium carbonate. When this mineral-rich water drips into caves, it leaves mineral deposits behind that form layers which grow during wet periods and form dusty skins when the water dries up.




Is There a Climate Crystal Ball?   Live Science - April 2, 2014
When it comes to what society should do about global warming, there is quite a lot to consider. While reducing emissions is the clear end-goal, the speed at which it's done and how much of today's time and money is spent on mitigation or adaptation depends on how much immediate danger climate change presents during our lifetimes, or those of the next generation. It's the near future most people are concerned with - perhaps too concerned when "near future" is a synonym for "my electoral term in office" or "my spell as CEO." The overall effect of manmade greenhouse gases on the climate is modeled in different ways, but only one measure is considered "policy relevant." It's called Transient Climate Response (TCR), defined as the global mean-temperature change on the day that carbon dioxide (CO2)has doubled over pre-industrial levels, given a rate of increase of 1 percent per year. Climate scientists believe that Earth will reach a doubling of CO2 within the lifetime of a child born this year. If TCR is high, society must act very quickly, and the amount spent must be proportional to the immediacy of the danger. If TCR is low, then temperatures won't go up much, in which case there is more time, and people can spend less money now.




Reading ancient climate from plankton shells   PhysOrg - October 25, 2013
Climate changes from millions of years ago are recorded at daily rate in ancient sea shells, new research shows. It's important to understand current climate change in the light of how climate has varied in the geological past. One way to do this, for the last few thousand years, is to analyze ice from the poles. The planet's temperature and atmosphere are recorded by bubbles of ancient air trapped in polar ice cores. The oldest Antarctic ice core records date back to around 800,000 years ago.




Climate change occurring 10 times faster than at any time in past 65 million years   PhysOrg - August 1, 2013
The planet is undergoing one of the largest changes in climate since the dinosaurs went extinct. But what might be even more troubling for humans, plants and animals is the speed of the change. Stanford climate scientists warn that the likely rate of change over the next century will be at least 10 times quicker than any climate shift in the past 65 million years.




Hot and bothered: Climate change amplifies violence, study says   NBC - August 1, 2013
As the planet's climate changes, humans everywhere should brace for a spike in violence, a new study suggests. Civilization as we know it may even be at risk.





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