Climate Variability and Change: Basic Concepts

Excerpt from the Southwest Climate Change Network, written by Zack Guido, University of Arizona

The climate system is dynamic and complex. While weather conditionschange over short periods of time, such as when anvil-shaped clouds burst in the late afternoon during monsoon season, climate describes average conditions over longer intervals. Understanding this distinction and other basic concepts such as radiative forcing and the enhanced greenhouse gas effect can clarify how the climate is changing and how humans have contributed to that change. The foundation of a comprehensive understanding of the climate system includes basic knowledge about:

Adapted for by Michael Crimmins, University Arizona

External links:
Southwest Climate Change Network

Also in Climate Change:

  • Climate Variability and Change: Basic Concepts
  • Climate Controls
  • Past and Present Climate
  • Basics of Climate Models
  • Regional Climate Models
  • Regional Climate Change Impacts from USGCRP
  • Climate Change Assessments
  • Intersection between Climate Science and Forest Management