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26 Weather Patterns and Weather Types

Part 3. Meteorology and Climatology

  1. Ian G McKendry

Published Online: 15 APR 2006

DOI: 10.1002/0470848944.hsa028

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

How to Cite

McKendry, I. G. 2006. Weather Patterns and Weather Types. Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences. 3:26.

Author Information

  1. The University of British Columbia, Department of Geography, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2006


In popular usage, the terms “weather pattern” and “weather type” are used variously and often imprecisely to describe states of the atmosphere. An understanding of weather processes and patterns has important applications in such diverse areas as air-quality management, hydrology, water management, human health, forestry, agriculture, energy demand, transportation safety, the insurance industry, economics, and tourism. These terms are formally defined and the various classification techniques that form the basis of synoptic climatology are described. In summarizing the various methods used to identify weather patterns and types, it is abundantly clear that underlying such approaches are significant assumptions about the state of the atmosphere together with varying degrees of subjectivity inherent in the techniques themselves. It is important that these constraints are adequately acknowledged in all applications of the techniques outlined. Finally, the impacts of computing advances, new techniques, and enhanced datasets on synoptic climatology are described.


  • weather;
  • weather patterns;
  • synoptic climatology;
  • weather types;
  • weather map classification