The Most Commonly Confused Climate Words

It seems like a lot of adults get confused about the difference between weather and climate.

Do you know the difference? Yes, they are different! Let’s start with the definitions:

Weather (noun): the state of the air and atmosphere at a particular time and place

Climate (noun): a region with particular weather patterns or conditions

Okay, now that we know what the dictionary says, let’s break them down. Weather is what is happening in the atmosphere in a particular place at a particular time. For example, Chicago’s weather on January 17th, 2021 was snowy and cold.

Climate is what the weather is over a long period of time in a larger region. For example, the climate close to the north and south pole is typically very cold.

So how can our world be warming if there is still snow and ice?

This is a common question and point for climate change deniers (people who believe climate change isn’t real, despite so much scientific data showing it is real). According to, the Earth’s temperature has risen by 0.14 degrees Fahrenheit (0.08 degrees Celsius) every decade starting in 1880. And in just the past four decades the rate has increased to more than twice that! This is what the data shows us. So even though we may not feel a large change in weather day-to-day, it is happening globally.


Here’s the problem: As the world warms, the ice and snow in the Arctic and Antarctica melts faster. Their once bright white color, which reflects the sun to keep the planet from heating up, is turning darker in color because it’s during from ice to liquid water. When that happens, the Earth absorbs more heat and warms up faster, melting even more ice. That’s called a feedback loop or albedo.

Diagram: What can we do to stop this? -The first thing we need to do is reduce and quickly eliminate the burning and use of fossil fuels. -Secondly, we need to greatly reduce how much meat we eat, especially cows. Cows’ burps (and farts) release a ton of methane, a greenhouse gas, that adds to our global warming. If we eat less meat, we are telling animal farmers that we don’t want to be adding to climate change. -Finally, we should consume less (meaning buy less and only what we really need) and when we do buy items, choose companies that support a green future! Just make sure the company isn’t greenwashing, which is when a company acts like they are doing good for the environment but really aren’t! Source: #greenwashing #weather #climate #climatechange #climateaction #climatecrisis #fossilfuels #envrionmental