Hartmann, Dennis L. Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
Last reviewed:January 2017
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- Physical basis of climate
- Greenhouse effect
- General circulation of atmosphere and climate
- Complete climate system
- Evolution of Earth's climate
- History of Earth's climate
- Future climate changes
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The scientific study of climate. Climate is the expected mean and variability of the weather conditions for a particular location, season, and time of day. The climate is often described in terms of the mean values of meteorological variables such as temperature, precipitation, wind, humidity, and cloud cover (Fig. 1). A complete description also includes the variability of these quantities and their extreme values. The climate of a region often has regular seasonal and diurnal variations, with the climate for January being very different from that for July at most locations. Climate also exhibits significant year-to-year variability and longer-term changes on both a regional and a global basis.
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