August 7, 2014 in Washington Voices

Weather: Climatology, meteorology related to weather in different ways

 

People often wonder about the difference between climatology and meteorology.

I’ve been a member of the American Meteorological Society since 1988. I had to take a number of geography and meteorology courses to qualify for this membership.

Meteorology is the study of atmospheric conditions and weather of an area. It’s also the science of dealing with the atmosphere and its phenomena. The science concentrates on observable weather events and variables in the Earth’s atmosphere that include temperature, air pressure, precipitation and so forth. Meteorology also focuses on short-term weather forecasting.

The beginnings of meteorology can be traced back to India as far back as 3,000 B.C. In 600 B.C., Thales may have been the first Greek meteorologist as he described water cycles. Meteorology became more known in the 20th century as computer models made weather forecasting more reliable.

Climatology deals with more of the statistical side of the weather. It involves the long-term research of a particular region’s climate.

Climatology possesses two distinct variables: time and space. The time element concerns the period during which the selected weather data is gathered. The space variable covers the exact area of climatological studies, a weather station’s location based on latitude, longitude and altitude.

To obtain a climatological history and even a long-term forecast, scientists use temperature, wind direction and velocity, cloud cover, relative humidity, barometric pressure and precipitation patterns. Climatologists also chart surface temperatures in the oceans, jet stream patterns, tree rings, volcanic cycles, tidal cycles, solar cycles, lunar cycles and other long- and short-term weather and climate cycles.

Climatologists may also use their data for possible social and economic effects in regards to the agricultural, business and commodity markets and other related fields.

In terms of our local weather, July was indeed a hot month with an average temperature that was nearly 6 degrees above normal. The airport reported its first 100-degree day in five years on the July 29. It was 99 degrees on the 30th and 31st. There were a total of 18 days at or above 90 degrees.

For the rest of August, I expect to see more hot weather, but doubt there will be any additional 100-degree days. August is likely to have drier than normal conditions, but there could be some scattered afternoon and evening thunderstorms, but mainly to the south and east of our region.

The upcoming fall is expected to turn wet as we have a weak El Nino in the waters of the south-central Pacific Ocean.

Contact Randy Mann at www.facebook.com/ wxmann, or go to www.longrange weather.com for additional information.


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