We have the (x 30) and (x 25) tags.

Technically the two terms are distinct. Weather means conditions at a certain place and time, while climate is condition trends over time. So weather might apply to a specific group of tornadoes during a single storm, while climate would be for year-over-year tornado locations.

However in terms of use when tagging questions, there doesn't seem to be a consistent, proper distinction and quite a bit of overlap or misapplication. I do note there is some distinction present in the questions (ie some are looking for hourly feeds which would qualify as weather, while others look for historical data over a period of time). As something of a side note, many of them are related to interpolation. Both tags are applied to a variety of variables, such as wind, precipitation, etc.

Should weather be made a synonym of climate on the grounds that most GIS related analysis are working with either many readings over time or aggregated/averaged data, or should they remain distinct and some disambiguation of Wiki excerpts and retagging occur?

  • Maybe a crazy idea, but how about making them synonyms of "weather-climate", having proper explanation in excerpt and wiki? Apr 7, 2015 at 22:38
  • 1
    I have a feeling many of the objections/issues that came up in the Voronoi/Thiessen question would resurface if we consider that route. And in this case since they are distinct terms, I'm not sure mashing them together in a composite tag would be the best approach though I can certainly see the logic of it.
    – Chris W
    Apr 7, 2015 at 22:47

2 Answers 2


I'm inclined to leave the two tags as distinct because there are currently no questions that have been tagged with both which suggests that askers do not feel confused about which to choose, irrespective of whether they are tagging correctly. I have not looked to see whether this is the result of any re-tagging to try and disambiguate them.

Working on their wikis seems to be a good idea.

  • 1
    Very few of these tagged questions actually deal with issues of climatology or meteorology: they focus on obtaining and processing data. As the questions and answers on this site routinely demonstrate, we are not about science--not even Geographic Information Science (for the most part). Little of what is discussed here is scientific: it is about data processing, programming, and running software. We have no need to present ourselves as something we are not. We should therefore keep the current names of these tags.
    – whuber
    Apr 8, 2015 at 17:21
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    We can perhaps discuss the relevance of GIS SE to science at another time. For now I will delete the tag name change suggestion from my answer.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Apr 8, 2015 at 21:08
  • I actually favor leaving them distinct and retagging as needed as well. Baring any dissent by the end of Friday, I'll probably go ahead and accept this answer and tweaking the wikis/examining questions if it hasn't already been done.
    – Chris W
    Apr 9, 2015 at 0:50

This question has been answered, but I'd like to add this (very obvious) point of view, too:

"Should weather be made a synonym of climate […]."

I don't even have to read the remainder of that last sentence to make up my mind: No. Like you said, weather and climate are distinct—they concern themselves with different time frames—and so should not be made synonyms.

"A synonym is a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language."Wikipedia

It's that simple to me.

If there actually was an advantage in having only one tag for both concepts—and I am not convinced there is any such advantage—I'd prefer it to be or (or both, one being a synonym of the other).

  • I don't disagree with you, but within the specific context of the tagging system on GIS.SE we have a number of cases where different words that don't actually mean the same thing are applied with the same meaning as tags. Or a word is applied incorrectly. This recent question for example, or some of the mess that is projections / projection conversions / transformations / coordinate system. That's not to say they shouldn't be fixed, as the route this question went, just that site convention can be as much a factor as strict def. of synonym.
    – Chris W
    May 15, 2015 at 1:11

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