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Weather and Climate

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The atmosphere, which surrounds our planet, is a huge blanket of air. To exist, all living organisms on this planet rely on the atmosphere. It provides us with the air we breathe and protects us from the sun’s harmful rays. If we didn’t have this blanket of protection, we’d be burned alive by the heat of the sun during the day and frozen at night. As a result, it is this mass of air that has kept the earth’s temperature manageable.


The state of the atmosphere, like clear or foggy, hot or cold, peaceful or stormy, is described by the weather. The troposphere, the lowest layer of the planet’s atmosphere immediately below the stratosphere, is where most weather events occur on Earth. Weather refers to daily temperature, precipitation, and other atmospheric circumstances, whereas climate refers to the long-term average of atmospheric conditions. 

Weather is influenced by changes in air pressure, temperature, and moisture. These changes could be caused by the Sun’s angle at any given point, which varies with latitude. The largest scale atmospheric circulations are caused by the huge temperature difference between polar and tropical air. Weather events in the middle latitudes, such as extratropical cyclones, are caused by instabilities in the jet streamflow. Because the Earth’s axis is tilted with respect to its orbital plane, sunlight strikes the globe at various angles throughout the year. Changes in Earth’s orbit can have a long-term impact on the amount and distribution of solar energy received by Earth, influencing long-term climate and global climate change.


On Earth, wind, cloud, rain, snow, fog, and dust storms are all common meteorological phenomena. Tornadoes, hurricanes, typhoons, and ice storms are less common natural calamities. The troposphere is the location of almost all meteorological phenomena that we are familiar with. Weather happens in the stratosphere and can influence weather in the troposphere, however, the exact mechanisms are unknown.

Changes in air pressure, temperature, and moisture from one region to another are the primary causes of weather. These fluctuations are caused by the sun’s angle at any given point, which varies with latitude away from the tropics. In other words, as one moves further from the tropics, the sun angle decreases, causing colder zones to form due to the distribution of sunlight across a greater surface. The temperature differential between polar and tropical air causes large-scale atmospheric circulation cells and jet streams. Weather systems in the mid-latitudes, such as extratropical cyclones, are caused by instabilities in the jet stream movement.

Effect on humans

Weather has played an important, and sometimes direct, part in human history. Aside from climatic changes that have caused population drift, extreme weather events have caused smaller scale population movements and have intervened directly in historical events. One similar instance occurred in 1281, when the Kamikaze winds rescued Japan from an attack by Kublai Khan’s Mongol fleet. Hurricane Katrina, more recently, displaced about a million people from the central Gulf coast to other regions of the country, resulting in the largest diaspora in US history.


Climate is the long-term weather tendency of a location, which is typically averaged over 30 years. It is the average and variability of meteorological variables over time periods ranging from months to millions of years. Temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind speed, and precipitation are just a few of the meteorological variables that are recorded on a daily basis. Climate refers to the state of the Earth’s climate system as a whole, which includes the ocean, land, and ice. The climate of a location is impacted by its latitude/longitude, topography, altitude, and proximity to water bodies and currents.

Climates are classified according to average and usual parameters, the most common of which are temperature and precipitation. The Köppen climate classification system was the most widely used. The Bergeron and Spatial Synoptic Classification systems are interested in the origin of air masses that define the climate of a region.

Climate variability

Beyond specific weather events, climate variability refers to variations in the mean state and other elements of the climate on all geographical and temporal scales. Some of the variability appears to be generated at random intervals rather than in a planned fashion. This is referred to as random variability or noise. Periodic variability, on the other hand, occurs in discrete modes of variability or climate patterns.

There are substantial links between the Earth’s climate cycles and astronomical impacts, as well as routes of heat movement between the ocean-atmosphere climate system. Climate variability and its accompanying concept, climate change, have evolved over time. While the term “climate change” now refers to long-term human-caused alterations, it was first used in the 1960s to refer to what is now known as “climate variability,” or climatic inconsistencies and irregularities.

Climate change

Climate change refers to the variation in global or regional climates through time. It reflects changes in the variability or average state of the atmosphere across time periods ranging from decades to millions of years. Internal Earth processes, external causes, and, more lately, human activities can all cause these changes. 

Sample Problems

Question 1: Name the constituents of air.


Nitrogen, oxygen, argon, carbon dioxide, and other elements are found in air. In addition to these gases, small dust particles are present in the air.

Question 2: How is nitrogen taken by the plants?


Plants require nitrogen to survive. They are unable to obtain nitrogen straight from the air. Bacteria that reside in the soil and on the roots of plants extract nitrogen from the air and convert it into a form that plants can use.

Question 3: Which atmospheric layer has very thin air and light gases?


The exosphere layer is made up of very thin air, and light gases such as helium and hydrogen float into space from here.

Question 4: What is global warming?


When greenhouse gas levels rise due to factory and industry smoke or vehicle fumes, the heat retained raises the earth’s temperature. This is referred to as global warming.

Question 5: What is wind?


Wind is the passage of air from a high pressure location to a low pressure area.

Last Updated : 30 Apr, 2022
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