Weather and Climate

Weather and ClimateWeatherWeather is all around usWe have learnt that the atmosphere is the gaseous environment that surrounds the Earth. Meteorologists define weather as the condition of the atmosphere at a particular place over a short period of time.TemperatureWhen we describe the weather, we usually mention how hot or cold it is. The degree of hotness or coldness of the air is called temperature.Measuring TemperatureDaily Maximum TemperatutureThe highest temperature of the day is known as the daily maximum temperature, and is measured by a maximum thermometer. This thermometer is a galss tube contiaining mercury and a metal index floating on top. When the temperature rises, the mercury expands and the metal index is pushed upwards. However, when the temperature falls and contracts, the metal index remains in its position. In this way, we will know what the highest temperature of the day is.Daily Minimum TemperatureThe lowest temperature of a day is known as the daily minimum temperature, and it is measured by a daily minimum thermometer. It uses alcohol instead of mercury. When the temperature falls, the alcohol contracts and drags the metal index down. The netal index remains where it is even if the tempearture rises later. Hence, we will knoe waht the lowest temperature of the day is.WindWind refers to the movement of air over the surface of the Earth. When warm air rises, cool air rushes in as wind.Wind directionWind direction refers to the direction that the wind is blowing from. The wind direction can be shown by a freely moving pointer on a wind vane. If the wind is blowing from the east, the pointer will point to the east. Wind direction is usually given by referring to the four compass points: north, south, east, west.How Weather and Climate Affect UsDaily ActivitiesWeather affects us every day. We often make simple decisions, such as whether to stay indoors or participate in outdoor activities based on what the whether is like for that day.HousingClimate influences where people choose to live. Most people prefer to live where it is neither too hot nor too cold.TourismThe different climates experienced in places around the world encourage tourism, which is an important source of income for many countries. For instance, many tourists travel from temperate countries in Europe and the United States of America during winter to enjoy the hot and sunny climate in Singapore.Production of electricityJust as the energy from moving water can be harnessed by dams and turbines, the energy from wind can also be harnesssed by modern-day windmills to generate electricity. When wind turns the vanes of the windmills, the moving vanes operate a turbine generator to produce electricity.Food and water suppliesClimate affects our food and water supplies. Different crops thrive under different climatic conditions. For instance, people plant oil palm and rubber in places where the rainfall and the temperature are high, such as Malaysia and Indonesia. On the other hand, crops like apples and barley are grown only in temperate places, such as the United Kingdom and Canada.Loss of lives and propertyExtreme weather conditions, such as floods, heat waves and hurricanes can destroy many lives and property. A heat wave refers to a prolonged period of excessively hot weather, while a hurricane refers to a storm with very strong winds.ClimateWhile weather describes the condition of the atmoaphere at a particular time, climate refers to the weather pattern of a place over a long period of time, usually 30 years and more.RainfallRainfall is a great impact on our lives. Rainfall refers to the amount of rain that an area recieves over a period of time. When there is no rain for a long time, we may face a shortage of water supply. On the other hand, persistent heavy rains can lead to floods that damamge property and claims lives.Measuring RainfallRainfall is measured with an intrument known as the rain gauge. The rain gauge consists of a funnel that collects and channels rainwater into a container. The rainwater collected in the container is emptied after 24 hours and measured using a measuring cylinder. Rainfall is measured in millimeters (mm) or centimeters (cm). It is represented in the form of vertical columns in climograpahs, which show the mean monthly temperature and monthly rainfall recieved in a place over a year.Major Climatic Types of the WorldTropical ClimatePlaces with trpical climate are those that lie on or near the Equator. More specifically, these places lie between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. This region is also known as the Tropics. Some countries that have a tropical climate are Singapore, Malaysia, Brazil and Kenya.Temperate ClimatePlaces with temperate climate lie between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle, and between the Tropic of Capricorn and that Antarctic Circle. Some countries that have a temperate climate are Korea, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United states of Ameriaca.Places with temperate climate experience four seasons every year: spring, summer, autumn and winter.Polar ClimatePlaces with a polar climate lie between the Arctic Circle and the North Pole, and between the Antarctic Circle and the South Pole. Some places that have a polar climate are the Arctic, Antarctica, Northern Canada and Siberia.While places with temperate climate experience the four seasons, places with a polar climate experience only summer and winter.