Earth-Sun Relationship and Solar Radiation

Covered in this unit are the influences of solar radiation and the effects of changing Earth-Sun geometries which give rise to seasonality. Solar radiation received by the Earth changes depending on the Earth’s orientation to the sun and also the Earth’s distance to the sun.

Check out these brilliant animations which illustrates the relationships of incoming solar radiation and changing sun angles:

1.  [Illumination and Energy] http://astro.unl.edu/naap/motion1/orbits_light.html

2.  [Seasons] http://astro.unl.edu/naap/motion1/animations/seasons_ecliptic.swf

The animations are provide via the Astronomy program at the University of Nebraska. The first animation tool illustrates how the changing sun angle effects the amount of energy available at the earth’s surface (on a cloudless day). The second animation illustrates the changing relationship between the earth and the sun which we can use to infer information about the Earth’s seasonality.

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Study Questions

To help guide the study of weather and climate I will present a number of questions. Answering the questions presented should result in a gradual understanding of weather processes.

  1. What is climatology?
  2. What is weather?
  3. What is climate?
  4. What is meteorology?
  5. What are the two general divisions of the atmosphere?
  6. What are the permanent gases?
  7. What are the volatile gases?
  8. What is an aerosol?
  9. How do Density and Pressure affect the vertical structure of the atmosphere?
  10. What are the Four Temperature-based Layers of the atmosphere?
  11. What are the Three Temperature Scales used for recording temperatures?
  12. How does atmospheric pressure affect wind speed?
  13. How is air pressure mapped?
  14. What can air temperature changes tell us about air masses?
  15. Which value for expressing the amount of water vapor in the air is preferred?
  16. What is a station model?
  17. What are the different components of the Station Model symbol?

Below, I have provided some self-authored videos. Make no mistake, I am not the Anthony Bourdain of Weather and Climate. To my native English-speaking viewers I say, I did not make these videos with only you in mind. The premise of my blog is to expose geography to everyone. If my tone, my enunciation bothers you, just remember most of the world does not speak English. It is my non-native English-speaking audience which I have in mind.

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