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FDLP Resource Guides
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Environmental Topics

Overview

This guide uses the definitions of weather and climate from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Both terms concern the "state of the atmosphere with respect to wind, temperature, cloudiness, moisture, pressure, etc." The distinction between the terms is the time factor, as defined below.

Term Definition and Example
Climate
  • The "composite or generally prevailing weather conditions of a region, throughout the year, averaged over a series of years."
    • An example is the average recorded snowfall in Washington DC for the date of January 15th for the past seventy years.
Weather
  • The atmospheric "conditions at a given point in time."
    • An example is the recorded snowfall in Washington DC for January 15, 2024.

Satellite view of cumulonimbus cloud over Africa in 2008

Satellite view of cumulonimbus cloud over Africa in 2008 (Image source: NASA)

U.S. Government Information on Weather and Climate Data

Screenshot of "https://data.gov/climate"

Climate

data.gov

  • Discover different types of climate date, from ecosystem vulnerability to human health.
Screenshot of "Climate and Weather Data Maps"

Climate and Weather Data Maps

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

  • See maps of "complex climate and environmental data" for water sector utilities.
Screenshot of "National Climate Change Viewer"

Climate Research and Development Program

U.S Geological Survey

  • Learn about the program's climate history, land cover, and land surface data.
Screenshot of "Drought.gov"

Drought.gov

National Integrated Drought Information System and NOAA

  • Look at real-time and forecasting drought data.
Screenshot of "National Water and Climate Center"

National Water and Climate Center

U.S. Department of Agriculture

  • Check out this center's work on forecasting snow, water, and soil climate.
Screenshot of "Climate.gov"

NOAA