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What is a Climate Diagram?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2016
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A climate diagram is a visual representation of information about a climate. These diagrams can be formatted in a wide range of ways to provide people with meaningful displays of data that will help them understand or learn more about a climate. Industries like the tourism and travel industry, the agricultural industry, and the building industry all refer to climate diagrams in the course of their work and they are also useful for scientific research.

The header of a climate diagram includes information about the country the diagram pertains to and the station where the data was collected. Station data includes the latitude and longitude along with the elevation so people can contextualize the source of the material on the climate diagram. The chart may also note averages for the variables provided on the diagram itself. In addition, the time period covered by the climate diagram is provided so that people can see whether two weeks or 200 years are under discussion.

Rainfall and temperature are two things commonly plotted on a climate diagram. Diagrams can also include other information about humidity, pollution, frost points, and so forth, depending on how they are being used and what they are meant to convey. Scatter plots, bar graphs, and line graphs can all be used to lay out data about a climate visually. Multiple diagrams may be used to provide people with additional information and comparison charts, such as diagrams showing the same time period in different years.

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Experienced climate scientists can often recognize patterns on a climate diagram at a glance. Certain types of climates have similar patterns no matter where in the world they are located. Sudden variations or abnormalities can be indicators of climactic shift or they may reflect on events that disrupted a climate temporarily, such as a spate of cool days caused by a volcanic eruption that overshadowed the region.

Climate diagrams are used to make projections and predictions about climactic conditions for the purpose of planning ahead. Farmers rely on accurate weather forecasting and climate predictions to decide when to plant crops and to select appropriate crops for a growing season. Likewise, organizations planning events like to think ahead to select the best time of year for events at given locations. If climate diagrams show that there are heavy rains in March and April, for example, the event would not be scheduled for these months.

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