Defining Climate

By Eric and Angel

Climatology

Climate describes the long-term weather patterns of an area. Climatology is the study of Earth's climate and the factors that cause past, present, and future climatic changes.

Normals

The data used to describe an area's climate are complied from meteorological records, which are continuously gathered at thousands of locations around the world. The data are averaged on a monthly or annual basis for a period of at least 30 years to determine the normals, which are the standard values for a location.

Topographic effects

Water heats up and cools down more slowly than land. Thus, large bodies of water affect the climates of coastal areas. Many coastal regions are warmer in the winter and cooler than inland areas at similar latitudes. Temperatures in lower atmosphere generally decrease with altitude. Thus, mountain climates are usually cooler than those at sea level. Air rises up one side of the mountain as a result of orographic lifting. The rising air cools, condenses, and drops its moisture.
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Air masses

Two of the main causes of weather are the movement and interaction of air masses. Average weather conditions in and near regions of air-mass formation are similar to those exhibited by the air masses themselves.
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