Weather and climate

What is weather?

Weather is a description of what the conditions are like in a particular place. For example, it could be:

  • hot or cold
  • wet or dry
  • windy or calm
  • stormy, with thunder and lightning

What is climate?

Climate is a description of the average weather conditions in a certain place for the past 30 or so years.

Different areas of the world have different climates. Climate is influenced by lots of different things, including:

  • how near or far it is from the Equator
  • how near or far it is from the sea
  • how high or low the ground is
  • its position on a continent

Climate change

The climate across the world has changed naturally over thousands and millions of years. In the past, the UK has experienced both freezing ice ages and warm tropical climates.

Today however, because people have been burning fossil fuels to power homes, factories and vehicles, more carbon dioxide has entered the Earth’s atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide acts like a greenhouse. It lets the sun’s rays through to heat up everything inside the atmosphere, but stops the heat from escaping. This is making our planet warm faster than it naturally would and is causing world climates to change.

Hot weather

Hot weather

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Weather and climate