What is Climatology?

J. Beam

Climatology is the scientific study of climates, which is defined as the mean weather conditions over a period of time. A branch of study within atmospheric sciences, it also takes into account the variables and averages of short-term and long-term weather conditions. Climatology is different than meteorology and can be divided into different areas of study.

Tropical storm viewed from space.
Tropical storm viewed from space.

Various approaches to this field can be taken, including paleoclimatology, which focuses on studying the climate over the course of the Earth’s existence by examining records of tree rings, rocks and sediment, and ice cores. Historical climatology focuses primarily on climate changes throughout history and the effects of the climate on people and events over time.

Climatology is different than meteorology and can be divided into different areas of study.
Climatology is different than meteorology and can be divided into different areas of study.

Though both climatology and meteorology are areas of study that are considered branches of similar areas of study, climatology differs from meteorology because its focus is on averages of weather and climatic conditions over a long period of time. Meteorology focuses more on current weather conditions such as humidity, air pressure, and temperatures and forecasting the short-term weather conditions to come.

Climatology and meteorology may be used in conjunction with one another, especially at weather centers that create base models to watch larger, developing and changing weather patterns such as hurricanes and tropical storms. Climatology however, focuses also on how the changes in climate occur and how those changes may affect future conditions. It and other branches of atmospheric or environmental science are studied at numerous four-year universities. A climatologist is the name given to a person who has extensively studied this subject.

Climatologists work in various locations for various organizations. In most cases, it is considered a research field and people in this field may work also in biology, zoology, or environmental fields. Climatology is important in all these fields because long-term changes in climate can affect the future of crop production, energy, animals, and even humans.

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Discussion Comments

anon81831

how would you understand the climate over 100 years ago?

anon42116

short, crisp and written in a manner that any lay person can understand.

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