Climatology as Related to Other Sciences
Three prefixes can be added to the word
climatology to denote scale or magnitude. They are
micro, meso, and macro and indicate small, medium,
and large scales, respectively. These terms (micro,
meso, and macro) are also applied to meteorology.
al studies often measure small-scale contrasts, such as
between hilltop and valley or between city and
surrounding country. They may be of an extremely
small scale, such as one side of a hedge contrasted with
the other, a plowed furrow versus level soil, or opposite
leaf surfaces. Climate in the microscale may be
effectively modified by relatively simple human efforts.
embraces a rather indistinct middle ground between
macroclimatology and microclimatology. The areas are
smaller than those of macroclimatology are and larger
than those of microclimatology, and they may or may
not be climatically representative of a general region.
is the study of the large-scale climate of a large area or
country. Climate of this type is not easily modified by
human efforts. However, continued pollution of the
Earth, its streams, rivers, and atmosphere, can
eventually make these modifications.
Climate has become increasingly important in
other scientific fields. Geographers, hydrologists, and
oceanographers use quantitative measures of climate to
describe or analyze the influence of our atmospheric
environment. Climate classification has developed
primarily in the field of geography. The basic role of the
atmosphere in the hydrologic cycle is an essential part
of the study of hydrology. Both air and water
measurements are required to understand the energy
exchange between air and ocean (heat budget) as
examined in the study of oceanography.
Ecology is the study of the mutual relationship
between organisms and their environment. Ecology is
briefly mentioned here because the environment of
living organisms is directly affected by weather and
climate, including those changes in climate that are
gradually being made by man.
During our growing years as a nation, our
interference with nature by diverting and damming
rivers, clearing its lands, stripping its soils, and scarring
its landscape has produced changes in climate. These
changes have been on the micro and meso scale and
possibly even on the macro scale.
What is the definition of climate?
What type of climatology is typically oriented
to a geographic region?
What type of climatology applies to a small
area such as a golf course or a plowed field?
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Describe the
precipitation, and wind.
The weather elements that are used to describe
climate are also the elements that determine the type of
climate for a region. This lesson presents a brief
explanation of the importance of these elements. The
climatic elements of temperature, precipitation, and
wind are not the only parameters included in a
climatology package; however, they are the most
significant elements used to express the climate of a
Temperature is undoubtedly the most important
climatic element. The temperature of an area is
dependent upon latitude or the distribution of incoming
and outgoing radiation; the nature of the surface (land
or water); the altitude; and the prevailing winds. The air
temperature normally used in climatology is that
recorded at the surface.
Moisture, or the lack of moisture, modifies
temperature. The more moisture in a region, the smaller
the temperature range, and the drier the region, the
greater the temperature range. Moisture is also
influenced by temperature. Warmer air can hold more
moisture than can cooler air, resulting in increased
evaporation and a higher probability of clouds and
Moisture, when coupled with condensation and
element. It ultimately determines the type of climate for
a specific region.