Could a very busy storm season or a very hot summer mean the weather in the world is changing for all time?

The answer is, "Well, it could be." Both acts are different types of weather. Weather is what is happening day to day in a place. Weather can refer to rain, wind, or sunshine. Weather is hard to guess before it happens because it does not always follow the same pattern in the same place. Weather is sometimes confused with climate, but they are very different. Climate can be thought of as "average weather" in one place. Think about a desert - what comes to mind? You probably thought about it being hot and dry and sunny. These things are part of the climate of the desert because they usually stay the same over time. We also have proof that deserts have been hot and dry and sunny for a very long time. Places with different climates, such as the desert and a temperate forest, which covers part of the USA, can have the same weather one day. Both the desert and a forest can have rain, even though it is very rare in deserts. Their climates, however, are extremely different and will probably not be the same unless a big change happens on the Earth. 
Snow can be a regular part of a climate, or it can be a weather event that happens on occasion.
Stephane Mignon/

If climate is the kind of weather that takes place over a long time, then climate change is when that same weather changes as time moves on. When we read about climate change, people often talk about the weather getting warmer. Temperature is a measure of how hot something is at one point in time. Looking at temperature is important for three reasons. 
  • The study of temperature has been around for a long time. We even know the temperature in England from over 350 years ago! 
  • Temperature changes can be tied to almost all other kinds of climate change. One way this is true is when glaciers, large pieces of ice, melt faster when it get hot out. 
  • Temperature is something that all people can understand. We all can all tell if it is warm or cold it is outside.

Let's go back to our first question: Could a very busy hurricane season or a very hot summer mean the weather in the world is changing for all time?

Climate change is the idea that the normal temperature and weather in places is slowly changing. Let's look at this idea. If climate change make it warmer outside, the ocean will get warmer. If the ocean gets warmer, there will be more hurricanes. Hurricanes make the ocean warm. When the ocean is warm, more hurricanes will grow. It will just keep happening again and again in a cycle. 
Climate change could mean bad news for cold-weather critters like this arctic fox.
Eric Kilby/

One busy hurricane season isn't for sure tied to climate change. However, if there are many seasons with a lot of hurricanes, it is likely due to climate change. Climate change can cause all sorts of weather. Most people who look at weather believe that if the world keeps getting warmer, there will be more crazy weather, like a heat wave or too much rain at one time.

Cool It!

The very cold places in the far north and south of Earth - the Arctic and the Antarctic-  play important roles in what the climate is like in the world. Here's how this works: the water flows from each of these poles to the equator. Since the water is traveling all over the world, it can make the water in the rest of the world hot or cold.

If we are to truly understand  climate change, we need to study the climates of the Arctic and the Antarctic, even though only a few people live in either place. Because the Arctic and the Antarctic don't have many people that are from there, and because they have cold, rough weather, studying and learning about each place is hard. However, we have learned a lot about both places in the last years due to more money and better technology. Overall, the general climates and climate change are very different between the Arctic and the Antarctic. The Antarctic is very different from the Arctic. The Arctic is truly an ocean with land around it, while the Antarctic is a piece of land with ocean around it. Also, Antarctica always has ice on top of it and is very high. These differences lead to significant differences in their climates. 
Ice in the arctic makes the tropics warm?!
Goddard Space Flight Center


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