Climatology

Authored by: Jill S.M. Coleman

Encyclopedia of Natural Resources

Print publication date:  July  2014
Online publication date:  June  2014

Print ISBN: 9781439852583
eBook ISBN: 9781351043847
Adobe ISBN:

10.1081/E-ENRA-120047625

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Abstract

Climate is the prevailing state of the atmosphere that characterizes a particular region. The study of climate and the climate system or climatology examines long-term weather conditions and the physical processes that generate or alter those conditions. Although climate is often described in terms of weather variable averages (e.g., mean annual temperature), climate includes the extremes, frequencies, trends, and other statistical properties of the atmosphere. The climate of a location is determined by several factors such as latitude, water proximity, global semipermanent pressure systems, ocean currents, topography, and land cover type. Climate classification systems, such as the Köppen or Thornthwaite schemes, highlight geographic regions with similar atmospheric conditions. Climate is not static, but a very dynamic part of the Earth–atmosphere system that responds to natural and anthropogenic influences.

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