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The Kid Should See This

The difference between weather and climate change

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and host of StarTalk and Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, demonstrates the difference between weather and climate change as he walks along the beach with a dog. 

Weather is what the atmosphere does in the short term, hour to hour, day to day… Weather is chaotic, which means that even a microscopic disturbance can lead to large scale changes…

Climate is the long-term average of the weather over a number of years. It’s shaped by global forces that alter the energy balance in the atmosphere, such as changes in the sun, tilt of the Earth’s axis, the amount of sunlight the Earth reflects back into space, and the concentration of greenhouse gasses in the air. A change in any of them affects the climate in ways that are broadly predictable.

A brilliantly simple visual explanation in just two minutes: the dog’s variable meandering represents the weather, while Dr. Tyson’s steady path represents climate change. This is how rising global temperatures and very cold winters can happen all at the same time.

“Keep your eye on the man, not the dog.”


NASA has more information about who tracks weather and climate changes around the globe, and why we study climate. NASA’s ClimateKids site includes a video and pdf poster that helps explain these differences in bite-size sentences.

In the archives: Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson: The Most Astounding Fact.

Plus, an animated explainer from Crash Course Kids: Weather vs. Climate + Severe Weather.

via Boing Boing.

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