07 1.2. Weather versus Climate Definitions

Weather and Climate Inventory, Klamath Network, National Park Service, 2007

1.0. Introduction

1.2. Weather versus Climate Definitions

It is also important to distinguish whether the primary use of a given station is for weather purposes or for climate purposes. Weather station networks are intended for near-real-time usage, where the precise circumstances of a set of measurements are typically less important. In these cases, changes in exposure or other attributes over time are not as critical. Climate networks, however, are intended for long-term tracking of atmospheric conditions. Siting and exposure are critical factors for climate networks, and it is vitally important that the observational circumstances remain essentially unchanged over the duration of the station record.

Some climate networks can be considered hybrids of weather/climate networks. These hybrid climate networks can supply information on a short-term “weather” time scale and a longer-term “climate” time scale.

In this report, “weather” generally refers to current (or near-real-time) atmospheric conditions, while “climate” is defined as the complete ensemble of statistical descriptors for temporal and spatial properties of atmospheric behavior (see Appendix A). Climate and weather phenomena shade gradually into each other and are ultimately inseparable.

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