What is weather?

Weather is a change in the atmosphere that happens daily. The weather is affected by the Sun.


Types of weather

Wind, storms, lightning, hurricanes, tornadoes, rain, snow and hail are all types of weather, but there are lots more.

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Weather vs climate

Weather and climate are not the same thing. The climate doesn’t change from day to day. It tells us what the weather is usually like in an area over a long period of time.


What causes the weather?

There are 2 main things that affect the weather: the Sun and water vapour.

The Sun doesn’t heat up the Earth evenly, so different parts of the Earth have different weather. The Earth is tilted at an angle when it orbits (goes around) the Sun. The middle of the Earth gets the most Sun and the poles get the least amount of Sun. Countries in the centre of the planet have sunny weather.

When the Sun hits the Earth it heats up the water on the surface. When water heats up, it evaporates and turns into water vapour.

Water vapour rises into the sky and makes clouds. The clouds become heavy and the vapour cools down and turns back into water, causing rain, thunderstorms and even snow. 

This journey of water is called the water cycle.

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Air always has some water in it. This is called humidity. Areas near the sea can be more humid than areas away from the sea.


How does the weather affect us?

The weather has a big effect on how we live our lives. When it’s cold and windy we spend more time inside our houses keeping warm. When it’s sunny, we spend more time playing outside or going to the beach. 

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The weather can also affect how people work, like farmers and pilots. 

Sometimes the weather even changes our mood! Have you ever noticed that everyone seems happier in the summer? The Sun makes us feel good and relaxed. In winter we can feel more sad and grumpy.


Did you know?

  • Some frogs get noisier before it rains.
  • Cape Farewell in Greenland is the windiest place on Earth.
  • Worms wriggle up from underground when a flood is coming.
  • Snow can fall so hard in Antarctica that you can’t see your hand in front of your face.
  • Some tornadoes can be faster than formula one racing cars!
  • Wind is made when air of different temperatures meet. The hot air is forced to rise over the cold air causing pressure which creates wind.