Sunday, May 10, 2009

Climate versus Weather

Dear Children,

I'm sending you a few more photos from Alabama. But first I want to write a bit about the difference between climate and weather, since I'm walking to bring attention to Climate Change not Weather Change. Do you know the difference?

Weather is what happens at a certain time in a definite place. For example, today it might be raining and warm in Boston, while it is dry but cold in São Paulo. And tomorrow it might be very windy in the morning but calm and gorgeous in the afternoon. 

Climate is about the conditions that prevail year after year in a certain area of the world, such as New England or Southern Brazil. Both Boston and São Paulo can be said to have humid sub-tropical climates, but Boston is quite a bit colder. São Paulo never gets snow, but even if it did snow on a strange weather day it would still have a subtropical climate. However, if it started getting snow every year we would say that the climate changed. 

Now this is actually happening around the world: the climate is changing. But it's not getting colder as the example I made up for São Paulo. It's getting warmer, which is where the term 'global warming' comes from. From our human point of view, it's getting warmer very slowly and some people don't even believe it. It can be hard to notice because it might not seem any warmer in some places. I read that the state of Alabama has actually experienced a cooling trend the last few years. But even if both Boston and São Paulo had unusually cold summers, the average temperature around the Earth would still be warmer. 

So we need to learn to pay attention to the weather where we live so that we know whether to wear a sweater or carry an umbrella, or if we should plan to go to the beach on the weekend. And we need to pay attention to the climate and try to stop the things that human beings do that are making it hotter,  because the heat brings with it some changes that are harmful to people, animals and plants.  

And now to the pictures. If you pay attention you will see something about the weather in Alabama this past week - no blue skies, because it was a very rainy week. 

Notice the stones that make up the walls of this shed. In the beginning of my walk, in Louisiana and southern Mississippi, there were no rocks, only shells and pebbles. But northern Alabama has hills with lots of rocky ridges.

Remember my photos from Mississippi, when the road was lined with pine trees? This looks very different.

Did you ever see dovecotes like this? They are made of gourds that have been painted white. If you look closely you will see little birds that are flying to the nests they've made inside the gourds.

This farm machine and the tree branches are reaching out to each other.

A pretty farm.


Nana Greta 


Stephanie said...

Hi it is me again, Stephanie.
I know the difference between climate and weather now. Where I live it gets really hot in the summer time and freezing in the winter. I knew about global warming and I was surprised to see that we got, I think, 8 feet of snow. I did think, that with the condition the world is in or going into, that we would get that much snow. Keep up the good work on your walk. Bye!

Tiffany said...

Hi Greta,
What does a dovecoat do?

Greta said...

Thanks for your comment, Stephanie, and your encouragement.

Tiffany, a dovecote (not dovecoat) is a shelter that a person makes, with holes for nesting, for domesticated pigeons. Other birds were using the dovecotes in the photo I posted.

Once upon a time, before we had the internet or even the telephone, some people kept special pigeons that had been trained to carry messages from one place to another. They were called homing pigeons, because even when you took them far away they could find their way back home. If you tied a piece of paper with a message on it around their leg the person at the other end could remove and read it. Wouldn't it be neat to send letters by dove?

Anonymous said...

Hi Greta,
Where I am from sometimes in summer it feels like spring,in fall it feels like winter sometimes.
Tiffany :D

Anonymous said...

Dear Nana Greta,
I just read what you wrote and I agree with you because the climate is changing alot this season.For example it's hotter than last spring.
Have fun-Kiara
P.S. Happy Mother's Day! And I hope your knee gets beter.

Anonymous said...

How is your walk going? Was there a way for the birds to get in? The climate is very diffrent now than it was 100 years ago!! Its easy to tell with the tepatures then and now.

Have fun-Kevin :D
Happy Mothers day and your knee should get better!

Anonymous said...

Dear Nana Gretta,
When I am lisining to the news in the moring I
wonder why the seson is spring but it fells like winter.
P.S. I hope you had a wonderfull Mothers Day.

Paul Gennetti said...

dear nana greta

Can radiation affect globlewarming? P.S I hope youre knee get better.

Anonymous said...

Dear Nana Greta,
I think the weather people might not always be right. For example the weather man might say that it will rain and then in the rest of the day it didn't rain,but instead it dodged us.


Anonymous said...

Dear Nana Greta,
What are some ways you can tell GLOBAL WARMING
is happening?

Anonymous said...

Dear Nana Greta,

I have a guess for when you said, "Guess
why I took a pictur of the animals." Because
you were anxious about the animals!

Anonymous said...

Dear Nanna Greta,
How do you tell if your state or country is haveing globle warming is happaning?


Anonymous said...

Dear Greta,
I woder how you do this thing about saving the earth when many people don't what to save the earth. from Jose C

Anonymous said...

Dear Nana Greta,

Hi it me I'am sorry that i have not comeing to
your blog i will come but i just want to ask why you took a pic of the animals.


Anonymous said...

Dear Nana Greta,
Did you see any climate change going on in any of the places you've been?From,

Greta said...

Hello children,

Thanks for your comments. I will try to respond to them here:

Alasdair, I think that I've been seeing changing weather rather than climate change. I would have to live here for many years to actually see climate change. But people tell me the climate is changing here - it's warmer than it used to be, even though sometimes the days are unseasonably cold. And they don't get as much snow in the winter as they used to in Tennessee - some people really miss the snow.

Sashala -I'll have to look for the picture of the animals that you're talking about - I don't know which one it is. Usually I take pictures of animals because I love to see them and it's interesting to understand how people live, if they raise chickens and cows, or sheep and goats. But another thing that I wanted to share with the children on this blog is that global warming can be bad for animals too. It's one more reason for use to fight climate change.

Jose - You ask a very important question. When other people don't want to pay attention to something as important as climate change it can be very discouraging. But that's never a good excuse to stop working. I know that my Climate Walk will make only a little bit of difference, but added to the efforts of other people I hope that it will help change the some minds.

Jenna - One of the interesting things about global warming is that even if it doesn't seem to be happening where you are that doesn't mean it isn't happening. The way scientists know it's happening is by observing the climate all around the globe - that's why it's called 'global warming.'

Bianca - I'll look for the picture I took of the animals to see if you're right. I guess it was many days ago, and I've forgotten about it.

Anonymous - The main way people know that global warming is happening is by the melting ice at the North and South Poles and on top of high mountains where in the past the ice never went away.

Giancarlo - I agree with you about the weather forecasters. They do a good job but sometimes they're just plain wrong.

Paul - I don't know about the relationship between radiation and global warming. Maybe one of us can find out and share our information. Thanks for your wishes about my knee - it is better now.

Jordan - We've had a real cold spell this year in May. It sure did feel like winter. thanks for your good wishes.

Kevin - The gourds have holes in them for the birds to get in - can you see them in the photograph? You're right about the temperatures changing around the planet - even with cold winters and springs the overall temperatures are warmer than 100 years ago. My walk is going well and I'm having fun. Thanks.

Kiara - Nice to hear from you. My knee is a lot better.

Tiffany - Where are you from? Are you talking about Boston or somewhere else? Thanks for writing a comment.

Love, Nana Greta