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Weather concepts

Air envelops the earth. The behaviour of this envelop of air is what goes in the name of weather. Weather affects all life on earth. To understand about weather, we need to know how the sun and earth influence the behaviour of the air envelope (atmosphere). For this we need to make many atmospheric measurements including air temperature, air pressure and humidity. These quantities are interrelated and will enable us to know more about weather elements like wind, clouds, rain etc.

What factors contribute to the weather?
How do these factors affect the weather elements like clouds, rain or wind?
What are the important measurable quantities and how are they measured?
Based on measurements and analysis of data collected for a long enough period, how can weather be forecast?

Some of the major concepts necessary to understand weather are

  1. Earth has an atmosphere made up a mixture of gases.
  2. The air in the atmosphere is not uniformly distributed. It gets thinner and thinner as one goes higher and higher into the atmosphere.
  3. Changes in the atmosphere determine the weather.
  4. The sun, air and water are responsible for the changes in the atmosphere.
  5. The sun provides all the energy to bring about changes in weather.
  6. The sun heats up the ground (land and water surface of the earth) unequally. A consequence of this unequal heating is air circulation and creation of winds.
  7. Air distributes heat and water around the earth.
  8. The sun evaporates water and hence is responsible for increasing the water content (water vapour) in air.
  9. Winds also help in increasing the rate of water evaporation.
  10. The water cycle involves the circulation of water from water bodies on earth to air, and then back to land in the form of rain or snow, which then joins the various water bodies.
  11. Large masses of cold and warm air influences the weather conditions.
  12. Many factors determine weather. Knowledge of all factors is essential to predict or forecast weather accurately.
  13. Forecasts are never 100% accurate.

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