Fascinating variations - Weather made (sort of) understandable - Part Two

Jay Lehr, Terigie Ciccone

Weather is nothing more and nothing less than nature trying to equilibrate the balance of all energy transmitted to the Earth by the Sun. It is a never-ending multi-level physics show trying to overcome imbalances and irregularities too numerous to quantify accurately.

More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered and filled with water, accounting for about 96 percent of all Earth’s water. The rest of the 4 percent exists as water vapor in the air, flowing in rivers, stored in lakes, in icecaps and glaciers, and in the ground as soil moisture and as groundwater in aquifers.

How water heats up, cools down, loses, and redistributes the Sun’s heat is very different than how the land and air do it. Water, primarily in the oceans, receives the Sun’s rays. Before the rays penetrate the shallow surface water, a significant amount is reflected by the water back through the air, where some is stored in the air and /clouds, which creates “the greenhouse effect.”


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