Which Factors Determine Earth’s Climate
Earth’s climate has always been changing. But the concerns about its current state come from abrupt changes in the environment that have coincided with mankind’s industrialisation. While we know that humans have brought about some of these changes, researchers are still trying to study what causes them and how they impact the Earth.
Earth’s Climate Is Influenced By Many Factors
The Sun, which provides the energy that drives Earth’s weather and climate, has been gradually increasing its brightness over the past few decades. This increase in solar output, called “solar forcing,” may have contributed to recent warming trends.
Human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, have also affected Earth’s climate.
Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and other heat-trapping gases emitted into the atmosphere through human activities. These are warming the planet by building up in the atmosphere and retaining heat that would otherwise escape into space.
Natural influences include cyclical changes in ocean currents and winds that affect the amount of solar energy absorbed by the oceans. Changes in cloud cover. Volcanic eruptions. And variations in Earth’s orbit around the Sun.
These natural influences appear to be working against human-induced global warming since 1998.
Earth’s Position In The Solar System
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and its orbit is elliptical rather than circular. This means that sometimes Earth is closer to the Sun than at other times when it is farther away.
When Earth is closest to the Sun, it receives more solar radiation than when it is farther away. This heating changes with the season as well as over the year.
Earth’s tilt on its axis also influences climate. As Earth orbits the Sun, it rotates on its own axis once every 24 hours or so (a day).
But because of its slightly tilted axis, this spinning motion causes one hemisphere to face more toward the Sun than another hemisphere does at any given time of year.
The hemisphere that faces toward the Sun receives more radiation from our star and heats up; this hemisphere has summer. The other hemisphere receives less solar radiation and cools down; this hemisphere has winter.
Earth’s position in the solar system is also important. For example, if Earth were closer to the Sun, it would be warmer than it is now. On the other hand, if Earth were farther away from the Sun, it would be colder than it is now.
The Amount Of Sunlight That Reaches The Planet
The factors that determine Earth’s climate are complex and interrelated. They include the amount of sunlight that reaches the planet. The amount of energy it reflects into space. And the speed at which heat travels through its atmosphere and oceans.
The primary source of energy for our planets climate system is sunlight. About 30% of incoming solar radiation is reflected into space by clouds, ice cover, gases in Earth’s atmosphere and land surfaces.
The rest is absorbed by water vapour, clouds or other atmospheric gases.
Sunlight is essential for photosynthesis and nearly all life on Earth depends on it to survive. The amount of sunlight reaching our planet is determined by the distance between the Earth and Sun, as well as by the thickness of our atmosphere.
The amount of sunlight that reaches the earth depends on its distance from the sun and how much it reflects into space. The closer we are to the sun, the more energy we get. And as we move away from it, that energy decreases.
That’s why Earth’s orbit varies so much throughout the year — when you look at our planet from above, you can see that it moves around our star in an ellipse.
There are four seasons because we move closer to and further away from our sun each season.
Wind Patterns And Ocean Currents
The climate of the Earth is determined by several factors, including wind patterns and ocean currents.
Winds are caused by differences in air pressure between one area and another. The winds blow from areas high pressure to low pressure.
These winds can be strong enough to push water around, which is why you often see “rivers” in the sky when big weather fronts are moving through.
Around 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by the oceans and they have a huge impact on climate. The main driver of ocean currents is the temperature difference between the poles and the equator caused by solar radiation and greenhouse gases.
When warm water travels towards the poles, it cools off, becomes denser than colder water beneath it and sinks down into deeper layers — just like ice cubes float in your drink but sink when they melt!
This process creates currents that move along with this sinking water, while also mixing up different layers of water at different depths.
The Percentage Of Greenhouse Gases In The Atmosphere
The Earth’s climate is complex and can be influenced by many different factors. The most important factors are the amount of incoming solar radiation. The number of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (including water vapour). And the reflectivity or albedo of clouds and ice cover.
The main greenhouse gases are water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. All of these increase the amount of infrared radiation that is trapped in the atmosphere.
This is known as the greenhouse effect and without it, our planet would be too cold to support life as we know it.
The amount of energy received from the sun is constant over time. The amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere is also constant over time. But this varies greatly from year to year because of human activity.
The amount of water vapour in our atmosphere varies even more than either of these.
The combination of these three factors determines our planet’s average surface temperature. Which in turn determines how much moisture evaporates into our atmosphere. And how much water falls as rain or snow depending on where we live.
Volcanic Eruptions Can Cause Cooling And Warming
When volcanoes erupt, they spew ash and other particles into the atmosphere. This can block sunlight from reaching Earth’s surface, which causes temperatures to drop for a few years.
Volcanoes also release greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. These gases trap heat in the atmosphere, causing temperatures to rise.
Scientists think that volcanic eruptions may have played a role in some of the most dramatic climate changes in Earth’s history, including ice ages and global warming events known as interglacial periods.
Volcanic eruptions create a significant number of particles in the atmosphere called aerosols. These can reflect light from the sun back into space, resulting in cooling.
For example, after Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991, global temperatures temporarily dropped 0.5°C (0.9°F) because of its aerosols.
And when volcanoes erupt under ice caps, as Eyjafjallajökull did in 2010, they can melt ice. This then caused sea levels to rise as well as contributing to short-term cooling because of all that water now in oceans instead of on glaciers or landmasses.
Location On Earth And Proximity To Water
The average weather conditions over a long period is the earths climate. The climate varies from year to year and from place to place.
The climate in one area may be very different from the climate in another area, even though both places are nearby.
One factor that determines Earth’s climate is where you live on the planet. If you live near water, like next to an ocean or lake, your climate will be more temperate than if you lived away from water in a desert or other dry area.
The distance between continents can also affect the weather where you live. If there is a lot of distance between continents, then what happens on one continent will not affect what happens on another continent as much as it would if they were closer together.
This means that one continent can have two different types of climates depending on how far apart they are from each other. For example, Europe has a colder climate than Africa because Europe is farther north and Africa is closer to the equator, making it warmer than Europe.
Oceans surrounding continents help regulate temperatures by absorbing heat energy from sunlight during summer months and releasing it back into space during winter months (the reverse also happens).
These processes act as natural thermostats for Earth’s climate system because they absorb excess heat energy produced by greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4).
Human Activities Have Been Warming The Planet’s Surface
Scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are warming the planet’s surface. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a scientific body established by the United Nations, has concluded that it is “extremely likely” that human activity is responsible for more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010.
Global temperatures have increased approximately 1°C since 1880, with about 0.8°C occurring since 1950.
A warming trend had already been present before 1950 because of natural variations in climate, but it was much less pronounced.
The IPCC predicts that under current conditions, the Earth’s surface will continue to warm by at least another 0.5°C by 2100 if no further action is taken to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane into Earth’s atmosphere.
The planet’s land, ocean, and atmosphere are warming, the amounts of snow and ice are diminishing, the sea level is rising, and the patterns of rainfall and drought are shifting. These changes are associated with increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
Climate change is not just a problem for future generations — it is already affecting our lives today.
Understanding the driving forces behind earth’s climate is important to understanding climate change.
Global warming is a hotly debated topic, and for good reason. There are many arguments for and against the realisation of global warming and its potential effects on our planet.
The more knowledge you have about global warming and its potential effects, the better equipped you will be to make informed decisions.
The consequences of global warming are serious. Increased temperatures can lead to extreme weather events like floods and droughts, rising sea levels higher incidence of heat-related illness and death.
There could be more frequent extreme weather events such as heat waves and hurricanes and decreased water supplies.
This will lead to increased food shortages across the world due to extreme weather events and crop damage from drought or flooding.
There will be an increased risk of wildfires due to rising temperatures which dry out forests and grasslands leaving them susceptible during dry seasons.
Our climate is determined by a range of factors including proximity to the sun, our oceans and mountains, the way we use land, and greenhouse gas emissions.
The issue of climate change is a controversial one, with some people denying that there is sufficient scientific evidence to support it. Others believe that scientists have not yet isolated all of the causes of global warming.
However, rising temperatures and extreme weather events do seem to be indicating some definitive trends, and the research is pretty clear in its conclusions.
So if you simply want to better understand your options and make informed decisions, then it’s worth reading up on the subject.
And if a little extra knowledge can prevent damage to our planet that we might regret at some future point, then it’s worth making the leap now.