What is weather?

Sun and Clouds

Weather is the state of the atmosphere at any point in time and relates to wind, temperature, clouds, moisture or rain, etc. Weather is the current activity whereas climate refers to the long term conditions.

Weather occurs in the troposphere which is the layer of air about 10-15 km thick above the surface of the Earth.

What causes weather?

The weather is caused by the heating of the Earth's surface by the Sun which reacts with the atmosphere above it causing the air to circulate.

When the Earth spins on its orbit around the Sun this determines the amount of sunlight that reaches Earth. In December, when the southern hemisphere is tipped toward the sun, more sunlight and long hours of daylight cause warmer weather.

How do we forecast the weather?

Weather symbols

Weather forecasting uses science and technology to predict how the atmosphere may affect weather for a future time and place.

Studying how the weather works on other planets has been helpful in understanding how weather works on Earth. A famous landmark in the Solar System, the Great Red Spot on planet Jupiter, is actually a storm known to have existed for at least 300 years.

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