Review of Climate Science for Engineering Practice

J. Rolf Olsen, Senior Lead for Climate, Institute for Water Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), 7701 Telegraph Road, Alexandria, VA 22315,,


Part of: Adapting Infrastructure and Civil Engineering Practice to a Changing Climate


Weather and climate are a factor in civil engineering design and practice. Weather is defined as the state of the atmosphere with respect to wind, temperature, cloudiness, moisture, pressure, etc. (NWS, 2013). Weather generally refers to short-term variations on the order of minutes to about 15 days (NSIDC, 2012). Climate, on the other hand, is usually defined as the average weather, or more rigorously, as the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years(IPCC, 2007a). Lovejoy (2013) points out that on the time scale for atmospheric processes, weather can be considered the high-frequency regime and climate the low-frequency regime of a process that exists on all time scales.

Subject Headings: Climates | Frequency analysis | Wind pressure | Temperature effects | Statistics | Moisture | Engineering profession


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