Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, said: "Most people in the UK grasp the basics of climate science and the need to take sensible actions about global warming.
"However we all know someone who claims to know better than the vast majority of expert climate scientists around the world, the ill-informed pub bore or the family know-it-all who claims, with great confidence, either that global warming is not a problem or at the other end of the spectrum that extreme catastrophe is just around the corner.
"Our guide is designed so that the next time you meet someone who expresses extreme views on climate science, you can quickly get the facts on your phone and politely correct them."
He said the guide, which is accompanied by a 60 second animation explaining the basics of climate science, was also there for people who wanted to hear "straight from expert climate scientists, without bias or spin, the science of what is happening to our climate".
He added: "Increases in atmospheric temperatures are not the only 'hot air' that is posing a threat.
"There is too much hot air and nonsense spouted by people who should know better but who choose to ignore the science because it doesn't suit their ideology or politics."
Climate is the typical weather experienced in an area over a long period of time. Scientists record daily weather conditions, such as temperature and precipitation, and weather patterns over decades in order to describe the climate of an area. This video provides an overview of weather and climate and emphasizes that the main difference between them is time. Weather is experienced at the moment and describes the hourly or daily conditions of a place. Anyone can step outside and easily describe the weather at that particular moment and location: Is it warm, windy, cloudy, dry, or rainy? However, it takes considerably more time to describe the climate of that same place. Daily weather conditions must be tracked and averaged over a 30-year period, resulting in a description of typical weather also known as climate.
Four broad categories of climate types are shown in the video at 0:30: temperate, arctic, tropical, and desert. Temperate climates have moderate temperatures and precipitation. Arctic climates define the polar regions that are covered in ice and snow year-round (or are too cold to support much vegetation even if the snow is melted briefly at the height of summer). Areas that have tropical climates typically experience hot and humid weather. Finally, desert climates have little rainfall and can be either hot all year, as in the Sahara Desert, or have more variable temperatures, as in the Gobi Desert, which has hot summers but very cold winters.
The narrator of the video also explains that climate is influenced by interactions among Earth systems and by the effects of the Sun’s energy on the planet. These interactions are complex and occur differently around the globe. For example, the more plants in an area, such as in a rainforest, the greater the level of transpiration, water that evaporates from leaves. Transpiration affects the water cycle because more moisture in the atmosphere leads to greater condensation and potential precipitation that replenishes bodies of water and encourages continued plant growth. Conversely, areas with considerably less vegetation contribute less moisture to the atmosphere through transpiration, affecting the Earth systems differently. Thus, climate is the long-term result of the many interactions that are unique to each climate zone.
Utah’s and Thailand’s climates that are described help illustrate different typical weather of two locations. Utah has mainly warm, dry summers and cold and mostly sunny winters with some big snowstorms. The video from 0:53–0:57 also shows that the Sun is higher in the sky in the summer than in the winter. The seasonal difference is because during summer, the northern hemisphere is tilted toward the Sun, so the Sun appears higher in the sky. Thailand is hot and humid all year, with monsoon rains occurring primarily in the summer, when temperatures are slightly warmer. Thailand does not have distinct summer and winter seasons like Utah. People in Utah and Thailand experience different daily weather that, when averaged over time, makes up each climate.
Weather and climate affect people and the environment. Studying both is important not only for providing people with the daily and weekly forecasts they depend on, but also for identifying patterns and changes in patterns in the typical weather that defines climates.