The atmosphere of the Earth is crucial to the ecosystem’s survival. Gravity holds the tiny layer of gases that envelops the Earth in place. The main components of air are nitrogen, oxygen, and water vapor, with considerably lower amounts of carbon dioxide, argon, and other gases. With increasing altitude, the air pressure decreases steadily. The ozone layer helps to reduce the quantity of ultraviolet (UV) radiation that reaches the earth’s surface. UV light is known to cause DNA damage, hence this serves to safeguard life on the surface. During the night, the atmosphere stores heat, minimizing the daily temperature extremes.
Terrestrial weather occurs nearly exclusively in the lower atmosphere and operates as a heat-redistributing convective system. Ocean currents, notably the massive oceanic thermohaline circulation that transports heat energy from the equatorial waters to the polar regions, are another essential component in determining climate. In temperate zones, these currents help to reduce temperature fluctuations between winter and summer. Also, without the ocean currents and atmosphere redistributing heat energy, the tropics would be much hotter and the polar regions would be much colder.
Weather can have both positive and negative consequences. Weather extremes, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and cyclones, can expend a lot of energy and cause a lot of damage along their tracks. Surface vegetation has evolved a reliance on seasonal weather variations, and even short-term changes in the weather can have a profound impact on the plants as well as the animals that rely on it for sustenance.
Climate is a phrase used to describe long-term weather patterns. Ocean currents, surface albedo, greenhouse gases, variations in solar luminosity, and changes in the Earth’s orbit are all known to influence the climate. The Earth has been known to have experienced significant climate changes in the past, including ice ages, based on historical records.
A region’s climate is influenced by a variety of elements, most notably latitude. A climate region is a latitudinal area of land having comparable climatic characteristics. There are several such areas, ranging from tropical climates at the equator to polar climates at the northern and southern poles. Seasons, which come from the Earth’s axis being tilted relative to its orbital plane, also influence weather. As a result, one section of the Earth is more directly exposed to the sun at any particular time throughout the summer or winter. As the Earth rotates in its orbit, this exposure changes.
Because weather is a chaotic system that is easily influenced by slight environmental changes, accurate weather forecasting is restricted to a few days. In general, two things are happening around the world: (1) the average temperature is rising; and (2) regional climates are changing noticeably.
A season is a division of the year that is based on variations in weather, ecology, and the amount of daylight hours in a certain place.
Seasons: What Causes Them?
The seasons are brought about by the Earth’s tilted axis. Various places of the Earth receive the Sun’s most direct rays at different times of the year. It is thus summer in the Northern Hemisphere when the North Pole tilts toward the Sun. It is also winter in the Northern Hemisphere when the South Pole tilts toward the Sun.
Summer, which occurs between spring and autumn, is the hottest season of the year. Temperatures vary depending on where you are on the planet; places near the equator are usually warmer than those near the poles. According to the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program, this is because these areas receive the most sunshine owing to the Earth’s curvature. Ice may also be found at the Earth’s poles, which reflects a lot of the sun’s rays.
Summer weather becomes warmer, and in certain locations, the heat results in drier conditions. Droughts can occur during this hot, dry time of year, when water is in low supply. During the summer, heat waves, which are periods of very hot weather with temperature surges, can occur. Both can cause plenty of issues for humans and wildlife.
Summer, on the other hand, is the “wet season” in many tropical areas, which is defined as a month with an average precipitation of 60 millimeters (2.4 inches) or more, according to the British Broadcasting Company (BBC). During this phase, vegetative growth accelerates. Increased rainfall, along with shifting winds, can bring in monsoon season, a period of intense rainstorms.
Autumn is the “cooling off” season, sandwiched between the scorching summer and the freezing winter. Night falls early, temperatures drop, and most vegetative growth slows down. Animals begin to stockpile supplies or migrate to warmer regions in preparation for the food shortage that usually occurs during the winter.
Leaves stop generating green-tinted chlorophyll, which helps them to catch sunlight and produce energy, in reaction to cold temperatures and variations in brightness. Because chlorophyll is sensitive to cold, it will shut down production more quickly in certain weather situations, such as early frosts.
Meanwhile, carotenoids, which may also be present in orange carrots, show through the washed-out green of the leaves. According to the State University of New York College of Environment, the red hue in certain leaves originates from anthocyanins, which, unlike carotenoids, are only formed in the fall. Strawberries, red apples, and plums are also colored by them.
Winter occurs between fall and spring and is the coldest season of the year. It’s linked to cold temperatures and ice conditions, although its impact and timing vary depending on where you are. Further and further a region is from the equator, the colder the temperatures become. Despite the changing seasons, temperatures in tropical regions remain relatively consistent. According to the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program, this is because the equatorial zones receive more sunlight owing to the Earth’s curvature.
The Northern Hemisphere is more likely than the Southern Hemisphere to have a colder winter. The Northern Hemisphere is home to all of the world’s coldest countries. Kazakhstan, Russia, Greenland, Canada, the US, Iceland, Finland, Estonia, and Mongolia are among them.
It’s not only about staying warm when people migrate. Changes in their food source and the arrival of new germs or viruses (due to climate change) to which they have inadequate tolerance can push animals out of their natural environment. Others go into hibernation throughout the winter, spending much of the season in a condition of near-sleep. Animals may hoard food to help them get through periods of scarcity when many plants die or become dormant. Some animals, in addition to altering their localities and activities, may also alter their appearance. Hares and foxes, for example, may alter their coloring to better fit with snowy settings.
Spring is one of the four temperate seasons, following winter and before summer. Spring has a variety of technical definitions, but local use varies depending on climate, culture, and customs. When the Northern Hemisphere experiences spring, the Southern Hemisphere experiences fall, and vice versa.
Spring is a time for new beginnings. Fresh blossoms bloom, animals arise, and the land appears to come back to life. Farmers and gardeners sow their seeds as temperatures gradually climb. The timing of these modifications varies based on where you are.
Spring is frequently accompanied by increasing rainfall, which aids in the watering of the baby seeds establishing root in the earth. Animals who spent the winter hibernating emerge from their burrows, while those that moved to warmer locations return. Many animals give birth in the spring. Winter coats are shed by individuals that wore them, and some animals may change color to mix in with their new environment.