Climatology is the study of the atmosphere and weather patterns over time. This field of science focuses on recording and analyzing weather patterns throughout the world and understanding the atmospheric conditions that cause them. It is sometimes confused with meteorology, which is the study of weather and weather forecasting. However, climatology is mainly focused on the natural and artificial forces that influence long-term weather patterns. Scientists who specialize in this field are called climatologists.

The first studies of climate can be traced back to ancient Greece, but climate science as it is now known did not emerge until the advent of the industrial age in the nineteenth century. The science of climatology grew as scientists became interested in understanding weather patterns. In recent times, climatologists have increasingly focused their research on the changes in Earth’s climate that have occurred since the industrial age. Earth has been growing warmer and warmer as human industry has expanded and released more carbon into the atmosphere. This effect, called global warming, is a particularly important object of study for climatologists. By studying global warming, climatologists can better understand and predict the long-term impact of human-caused climate change.

Credit: National Geographic Society

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