As 2016 approaches, the ongoing El Nino shows no sign of relaxing its grip on the global climate. (Source: Al Jazeera) John Gyakum, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences "The current El Nino, the strongest since 1997-98, is associated with recent unusually warm conditions in Ontario and Quebec."—John Gyakum Professor or large scale and dynamic meteorology.
The atmosphere is so unstable that a butterfly flapping its wings can, famously, change the course of weather patterns. The celebrated “butterfly effect” also means that the reliability of weather forecasts drops sharply beyond 10 days.
Weather, which changes day-to-day due to constant fluctuations in the atmosphere, and climate, which varies over decades, are familiar. More recently, a third regime, called “macroweather,” has been used to describe the relatively stable regime between weather and climate.
While short-term weather is notoriously volatile, climate is thought to represent a kind of average weather pattern over a long period of time. This dichotomy provides the analytical framework for scientific thinking about atmospheric variability, including climate change.