Climate (from Greek Klima) is defined as certain conditions of temperature, dryness, wind, light, etc. of a region. Different regions of the world have diverse characteristic climates. A place or region's climate is determined by both natural and manmade factors. The natural elements include the atmosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere; while the human factors can include land use and consumption of other natural resources. Changes in any of these factors can cause local, regional, or even global changes in the climate.

The relationship between People, Climate and Buildings is non- linear and complexly interdependent. Climate also affects the use of land, the type of crop that can be grown or the animal husbandry that can be practiced. These variations in the use of land can cause regional climatic changes- such as the spread of desert conditions due to deforestation. Microclimate variations can be caused by presence of trees, grass and water. Built up areas and cities would tend to have their own microclimate which would differ significantly from the climate of the region. Ground reflecting surfaces and artificial topographical features can affect wind flow, solar radiation and hence temperature patterns. It is now established that the consumption of energy in cities for buildings and transport etc. can make very significant changes to temperature.

The most important strategy for low energy design of buildings is to design and build according to the climate where the building is located. Geographically, the climatic conditions are diverse and hence the designer is required to describe and interpret climate in ways that are relevant to building design.
Q. How does climate differ from weather ?

A. Weather is the current atmospheric conditions, including temperature, rainfall, wind, humidity and sky conditions at a given place. Weather is that which is happening right now or is likely to happen tomorrow or in the very near future. Climate on the other hand, is the general weather conditions over a long period of time. Climate is sometimes referred to as "average" weather for a given area. In totality, climate is the sum of all the statistical weather information that helps describe a place or region.

  1. Lauren Turner, Climate and Architecture, Report for Honor's Section 8 of MET 1010 Introduction to the Atmosphere, Florida State University, December 2003.