The main difference between weather and climate is the timescale that they each refer to. Weather describes the conditions of the atmosphere over short periods of time, whilst climate is the average of these conditions over longer time periods.

The Met Office, What do we mean by climate?

 

Since my climate change conversion I have been holding a mini thought experiment about what constitutes the difference between climate and weather. (Before anyone writes in, this is not scientific. For reference I have added a handy YouTube clip below from the ever-reliable Met Office website.)

I am talking about something more broccoli-related, a little list of highly opinionated and non-verifiable data that is nevertheless 100% valid, accurate and true. You are not required to agree with all (or any) of them.

Theresa May = weather.
The ERG = climate.

Brexit = weather.
Austerity, poverty, injustice = climate.

Chelsea’s erratic form in the league = weather.
How it came by its money and how it is run = climate.

Staff and student mental health = weather.
The neoliberalisation of higher education = climate.

Trump = weather.
Putin/Xi Jinping = climate.

Corbyn = weather.
The financial crash = climate.

Facebook/Google = weather.
Surveillance capitalism = climate.

Brexit as a movement of ‘the people’ = weather.
Brexit as a movement of plutocrats = climate.

Cyclone Idai = weather.
Cyclone Idai = climate.

Of course this is hopelessly binary and essentialist. And I probably need to stop playing it in my head each time the news comes on. In the shyest part of myself, however, I think I may be onto something…