Weather is what happens at a certain place at a certain time over hours, days, or
a few weeks. Climate is the long term average of weather over 20 or 30 years.
Earth’s climate is always changing but over recent decades, our climate is changing more quickly than can be attributed to earth’s natural climate fluctuations. Recent changes in climate are attributed directly and indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the atmosphere.
Climate change is a change in the usual weather found in a place. This could be a change in how much rain a place usually gets in a year or change in the number of days below freezing during the winter.
Air temperature and precipitation measured over land and ocean are compared to what is 'normal' for a location overtime, for example the 30-year average measured in Huntington, WV. This is done by converting the measurements we are familiar with, for example 90°F, to an what is called an “anomaly”. An anomaly is the departure of a measurement for a specific location and date from its long-term (i.e., 30-year) average. Anomalies can be expressed either as absolute change (amount of increase or decrease) or relative change (amount of change divided by original amount). These values are then used to calculate a global temperature average. It is a consistent, reliable method for monitoring changes in Earth's surface temperature over time.
WV ClimateLink – is an online atlas, tool, and educational resource that
provides educators, communities, and decision makers with data, maps, visualizations,
and learning activities that explore the effects of changing air temperature
and precipitation on West Virginia’s communities, economies, and ecosystems.
WV ClimateLink has been funded with support from the Appalachian Stewardship Foundation Award Number 10744298; the National Science Foundation Award Number OIA-1458952; and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Hatch Project #1004360