We are sure that, with the whole issue of air pollution, the lack of rain and other related issues that we are experiencing today, you will have wondered at some point, or at least rambled, about the relationship between the state of our atmosphere and the weather. What is the link between them? How does one influence the other? In this AgroCorrn article we try to explain it to you so, if you are interested in knowing more, read on to discover how the atmosphere influences the weather . Attentive!
Climate and time are two different concepts
Before going fully into the article, we must highlight something very important. We often confuse and use the terms “climate” and “weather” interchangeably. The truth is that they are two concepts that, although related, are different.
We call “climate” the average of the values of parameters such as temperature , humidity, rainfall, cloudiness, atmospheric pressure, etc., of a certain region over the years. The climate of the different terrestrial regions is influenced by the interaction that exists between the lithosphere, the atmosphere and the hydrosphere.
When we speak of “weather” , on the other hand, we are referring to these parameters, but at a specific time and place and they may be different from the climate of that place, that is, the weather is changing.
What is the atmosphere and its functions
What do we understand by atmosphere? In general, the atmosphere is called the mixture of gases that surrounds celestial objects in space that present a gravitational field that makes these gases keep enveloping it without dispersing, as in our case, the Earth.
Our atmosphere is mainly composed of nitrogen (78%), oxygen (21%), argon (0.9%) and carbon dioxide (0.03%), as well as water vapor and ozone, among others.
The atmosphere has many functions . In addition to enveloping and protecting our planet from the intense solar radiation and the collision of small objects from space and providing the necessary gases for living beings on the planet, it is also a very influential element in the parameters that determine the weather and climate .
The elements and factors that determine the climate
As we said, the climate is influenced by multiple factors, but, before going into detail, we must know with certainty what elements determine the climate of different places on Earth. These elements are nothing other than meteorological phenomena produced in our atmosphere and are:
- Temperature: measures how much heat the atmosphere has and the most widely used scales are degrees Celsius and Fahrenheit.
- Wind: refers to the horizontal movement of the air present in the atmosphere and which is responsible for the displacement of cloud masses.
- Humidity: measures how much water vapor is in the atmosphere. In large quantities it gives rise to banks of fog and clouds.
- Atmospheric pressure: it is measured in millibars, it is the force produced by the atmosphere as pressure on the earth’s surface.
- Precipitation: this is the name given to the water that falls in liquid form (rain) or solid (snow or hail) on the earth’s surface.
Once the elements that make up the climate are known, we can proceed to describe the factors that determine the climate on Earth :
- Altitude: is the distance that a certain point has with respect to sea level. When this increases, the temperature decreases by around one degree every 180 meters, the air becomes less dense and precipitation increases.
- Latitude: in this case it is the distance from a point on earth to the Equator. The closer to it we are, the temperatures will be higher as the Sun’s rays strike with greater perpendicularity.
- The influence of the sea: since it has a softening effect on the temperature of the coastal areas, which varies less between day and night.
- The relief: this factor is closely related to the altitude factor and will determine, among other things, the form of precipitation, which can be liquid (rain), solid (snow or hail) and even gaseous (fog banks) . Learn more about How relief influences the climate in this other AgroCorrn article.
But where is the atmosphere in all of this? Keep reading.
So how does the atmosphere influence weather?
Now, although we can already get a little idea, the time has come to enter into the real question of this article: How does the atmosphere influence time?
The molecules that are in the atmosphere are always in constant change, but always maintaining a natural stable balance, which does not mean that there are no seasonal changes in our atmosphere . What happens is that this natural balance is being altered with, among others, the increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases , which are affecting various natural cycles, among others, that of water.
In addition, the atmosphere acts as a selective filter for the sun’s rays that penetrate it and the radiation that remains inside. However, these gases in the excessive amounts that are found are causing heat to be trapped to a greater extent, increasing the global temperature of our planet.
By all this we mean that any change in the composition of the atmosphere can have adverse effects on the climate dynamics of our planet, such as the greenhouse effect , global warming and climate change. This is producing very important changes such as rising temperatures , the absence of rainfall, high intensity climatic phenomena, floods due to the melting of the polar ice caps, loss of biodiversity and natural spaces …
Once again we verify, in this case through the atmosphere, that the changes that alter the natural balance of the processes of our planet have serious consequences in the short, but above all, in the long term.
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