Four-season splendor, subject to change
Astrophysicists have called Earth a “Goldilocks planet” because it is just right for development of life. Out of all the extreme conditions in the Universe, the Earth is able to maintain stable conditions that are perfect for the presence of liquid water, the prerequisite for all known forms of life. The Earth is just the right distance from the Sun to have the right temperature (so water doesn’t freeze or boil away), and it has the right gravity and atmospheric pressure to maintain bodies of water.
In Northeast Ohio, we depend on the Earth’s stable climate. Although the weather changes every day—or even every hour!—the long-term climate trends have been predictable enough for us to develop agriculture and build cities. The difference between record high and low temperatures in Cleveland is only 124 degrees F. (from 104 degrees in 1988 to -20 degrees in 1994). Given the possibilities, that’s a remarkably narrow band of temperature.
Climate is a major factor determining how life happens in our region. This section looks at the characteristics of our climate today, the peculiar phenomenon of lake effect snow that influences our winters, and what we might expect in the future as the local climate changes with global warming.
Climate is what you expect; weather is what you get.
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