Climatology

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Atmospheric sciences
Meteorology
Climatology
Atmospheric physics

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Atmospheric chemistry
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Climatology is the study of climate, and is a branch of the atmospheric sciences. In contrast to meteorology, which studies short term weather systems lasting up to a few weeks, climatology studies the frequency with which these weather systems occur. It does not study precise instances of atmospheric phenomena (for example cloud formation, rainfall and thunder), but rather their average occurrence over years to millennia, as well as changes in long-term average weather patterns, in relation to atmospheric conditions. Climatologists, those who practice climatology, study both the nature of climates - local, regional or global - and the natural or human-induced factors that cause climates to change. Climatology considers both past and potential future climate change.

Phenomena of climatological interest include the atmospheric boundary layer, circulation patterns, heat transfer (radiative, convective and latent), interactions between the atmosphere and the oceans and land surface (particularly vegetation, land use and topography), and the chemical and physical composition of the atmosphere. Related disciplines include chemistry, ecology, geology, geophysics, glaciology, hydrology, oceanography, and volcanology.

Climatology is approached in a variety of ways. Paleoclimatology seeks to reconstruct past climates by examining records such as ice cores and tree rings. The study of contemporary climates incorporates meteorological data accumulated over many years, such as records of rainfall, temperature and atmospheric composition. Knowledge of the atmosphere and its dynamics is also embodied in models, either statistical or mathematical, which help by integrating different observations and testing how they fit together. Modeling is used for understanding past, present and potential future climates.

Climate research is made difficult by the large scale, long time periods, and complex processes which govern climate. It is generally accepted that climate is governed by differential equations based on physical laws, but what, exactly, are these equations, and what can be concluded from them, is still subject to debate. Climate is sometimes modeled as a stochastic process but this is generally accepted as a approximation to processes that are otherwise too complicated to analyze.

History of climatology

Early climate researchers include Edmund Halley, who published a map of the trade winds in 1686, after a voyage to the southern hemisphere. The weather map as we know it today was first published by Francis Galton in 1863. Galton also invented the term anticyclone.

Famous climatologists

ca:Climatologia da:Klimatologi de:Klimatologie es:Climatología fr:Climatologie is:Veðurfarsfræði it:Climatologia he:קלימטולוגיה nl:Klimatologie pl:Klimatologia pt:Climatologia fi:Klimatologia sv:Klimatologi vi:Khí hậu học zh:气候学

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