You've likely heard the term global climate change in discussions about pollution, rising temperatures and other adverse impacts on our planet and the ecosystem. However, you might ask yourself, "Why is weather important to me?" or even, "Why is climate important to me?" Well, weather and climate impact you and the rest of the Earth in numerous ways, both directly and indirectly.
Why Is Weather Important to Humans?
The term weather refers to short-term activity in the atmosphere, such as rainfall, storms, humidity and wind. Weather in your area has an obvious direct impact on you, affecting the way you dress and determining if you spend time indoors or outdoors.
Favorable weather might mean a more enjoyable day, while unfavorable weather might result in localized flooding or even damage to your home. However, weather impacts you indirectly as well, playing a part in the foods you eat and the water you drink.
Why Is Climate Important to Humans?
The role of climate in human life varies a bit from the weather. When you take short-term weather patterns and observe them over a long period of time, you are assessing the climate in a region. Climate impacts how much rain your area might receive throughout the year, what the average temperature is during a specific month or how often your region is hit with storms. In this way, climate also impacts your day-to-day activity as well as your food and water supply.
Importance of Weather and Climate to Agriculture
What is the importance of weather and climate to agriculture? Weather and climate impact the amount of rainfall and the temperature in a given area, which in turn impacts the crops that farmers grow for your food.
When temperatures increase past the point a plant can tolerate, those crops yield the farmers less food that year. If drought occurs, farmers do not have enough water to provide for their crops and production suffers, which means less food for human consumption.
Favorable weather and climate yield optimal agricultural production, providing plentiful food for you and your neighbors to eat.
How Weather and Climate Impact Drinking Water
Even though you likely don't collect the rainwater to drink, it still impacts the freshwater supply that you use. Rainwater percolates through the ground and ends up in underground water supplies known as aquifers. This groundwater provides approximately one-third of the planet's drinking water.
Regular rainfall allows these aquifers to recharge and sustain global demands for water, while drought conditions result in less drinking water for the global population.
How Global Climate Change Impacts Fishing
In favorable climate conditions, local fish stocks feed and reproduce in close proximity to towns that rely heavily on fishing to sustain their economy. For example, New England relies heavily upon stocks of lobster and cod for their local economy.
However, as global climate impacts overall ocean temperatures, fish stocks have to move closer to the poles to find favorable conditions. This moves the fish farther from important fishing towns and reduces the fishermen's catch and the seafood supply across the country.
Why Is it Important to Study Weather and Climate?
Why is the study of climate important? Why should you care about the weather outside of its impact on whether you need an umbrella today? If we can prevent or reverse global climate change, we have the opportunity to benefit not only our planet but ourselves. You can do your part, or encourage your parents to do their part, by:
- Using more renewable resources, such as solar power.
- Choosing an electric car to reduce fossil fuel emissions.
- Choosing energy-efficient appliances when you're due for a replacement.
- Supporting local businesses over large corporations with higher carbon footprints.
- National Centers for Environmental Information: What's the Difference Between Weather and Climate?
- International Food Policy Research Institute: Climate Change: Impact on Agriculture and Costs of Adaptation
- Nature Communications: Divergent Effects of Climate Change on Future Groundwater Availability in Key Mid-Latitude Aquifers
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - Fisheries: Understanding Our Changing Climate
- Climate.gov: What Can We Do to Slow or Stop Global Warming?
About the Author
Marina Somma is a freelance writer and animal trainer. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and a B.S. in Marine and Environmental Biology & Policy from Monmouth University. Marina has worked with a number of publications involving animal science, behavior and training, including animals.net, SmallDogsAcademy and more.