Climatology is the scientific study of climate. Climate is defined as weather patterns that have been averaged over a given period of time to obtain a consistent pattern of the expected atmospheric conditions. Weather is the atmospheric condition of a particular place over a short period of time, normally a day. Weather averaging for a long and indefinite period of time makes it possible to predict the climatic pattern of an area. Climatology is regarded as a subdivision of physical geography, atmospheric sciences, and earth sciences in general. Aspects of oceanography and biogeography have also been considered as part of climatology. Climatology focuses on aspects such as atmospheric boundary layer, circulation patterns, heat transfer in the globe, ocean interaction with the atmosphere and land surface, land use and topography.
Scientific Nature and Scope of Climatology
Climatology has evolved from a simple theoretical bookkeeping activity to the current complex scientific and a practical field. Science is defined as the truths and facts that have been obtained through constant research, systematic methods, evaluation of phenomena, and observation. Climatology is therefore scientific method that involves all the aspects that define science. Other than the above stated aspects, to obtain climatic patterns, several scales and gauges are employed in the climatic research. Climatology is not only concerned with the climate of a place but it also establishes the reason for the fluctuation of climate in the area, how human activities lead to climatic variations, effects of the climate on human activities, and the characteristics of the climate. Climate also depends on the layers of the earth and atmosphere, a further manifestation of its scientific nature.
Sub-Fields of Climatology
According to the area of specialization, climatology has been divided into smaller sub-fields: paleoclimatology, paleotempestology, historical climatology, metrology, and bioclimatology. Paleoclimatology focuses on establishing the past climatic patterns of a place by studying ice cores and tree rings. Paleotempestology uses ancient data to determine the frequency and magnitude of past hurricanes. Historical climatology focuses on establishing the climate of a place after studying the activities that the ancient dwellers of the particular place engaged in. Metrology, which is often confused with climatology, deals with weather, which runs for a maximum of probably a week or a month. Bioclimatology deals with the effects the climate has on the living organisms.
Importance of Climatology
Climatology is important in determining the climatic patterns of a particular region. Establishing the climatic pattern is significant in deciding the economic activities that would thrive in that particular region. If the climate of a region is established to be cool and wet, it would be safe to conclude that agriculture might thrive in the region. Having a clear climate pattern makes it easier for people to understand the seasons of engaging in particular tasks. This is especially most important to tourists and farmers. Infrastructure development, especially buildings are dependent on climate. After a climatic pattern has been established, the engineers recommend the use of materials that would not only withstand the conditions but also protect the dwellers from any harsh climatic condition. Furthermore, climatology seeks to establish why climate varies from place to another.