Q:

What determines climate?

A:

Quick Answer

The climate is determined by a number of factors, including how the atmosphere, oceans and continents react to the solar radiation that heats the planet. The oceans play a major role in determining long-term climate, as they transport and release stored heat slowly over hundreds of years.

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Full Answer

Earth's climate is a very complex system involving different types of land masses, atmospheric conditions and even living organisms. The planet's climate evolved slowly over millions of years in response to both its own internal dynamics and changes brought about by external factors. Events, such as volcanic eruptions, variations in solar output and even the changes in atmospheric composition caused by industry, have all had an impact on the climate.

The climate is powered by heat from the sun. The atmosphere is able to transport heat energy very rapidly, whereas ocean currents have a much more long-term effect on the climate. Snow and ice on the planet's surface also play an important role by reflecting heat energy back into space. Even human industry has served to shape the climate of Earth, as greater amounts of heat have been trapped in the atmosphere by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases produced from the combustion of fossil fuels.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the factors that influence climate?

    A:

    Earth's climate is determined by the amount of incoming solar radiation that reaches the planet and the amount of reflected heat energy that radiates back into space. There are also a number of lesser factors that affect the average weather conditions that compose the various regional climates found across the globe.

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  • Q:

    How do volcanoes affect the Earth's atmosphere?

    A:

    Volcanic eruptions can affect the atmosphere and climate in the immediate vicinity of the volcano and also around the entire planet if the eruption is large enough. The main effect eruptions have on the weather near the volcano is producing large amounts of thunder, lightning and rain.

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  • Q:

    What are some abiotic and biotic factors of the oceans?

    A:

    Abiotic factors in the world's oceans include sunlight, temperature, climate and moisture, and its biotic factors are elements such as a coral reef, fish, algae and plants. All of these factors work together to balance an oceanic environment.

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  • Q:

    What is a psychrometer used for?

    A:

    A psychrometer is a simple form of hygrometer used to measure the level of humidity in the atmosphere. It has a dry-bulb thermometer and a wet-bulb thermometer that work together to measure atmospheric humidity. The dry-bulb thermometer measures the temperature when it is exposed to air, and the wet-bulb thermometer measures the temperature when it is dipped in liquid.

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