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Free «Define the Terms “Weather” and “Climate”» Essay Sample

1) Define the terms “weather” and “climate.”

Weather is the instant state of certain characteristics of the lower stratum of atmosphere (moisture, temperature, atmospheric pressure etc.).

Climate is the long-term weather regime characterized by the regular sequence of atmospheric processes that occur in a given locality under the influence of solar radiation, atmospheric circulation, and physical phenomena.

2) The following statements refer to either weather or climate. On the basis of your definitions above, label each as a weather issue or a climate issue.

a) The baseball game was rained out today.

A weather issue.

b) January is Peoria’s coldest month.

A climate issue.

c) North Africa is a desert.

A climate issue.

d) The high this afternoon was 25°C.

A weather issue.

e) Last evening a tornado ripped through Canton.

A climate issue.

f) I am moving to southern Arizona because it is warm and sunny.

A climate issue.

g) The highest temperature ever recorded at this station is 43°C.

A climate issue.

i) It is partly cloudy.

A weather issue.

3) What are the three major components of clean dry air?

They are as follows: nitrogen, oxygen and argon.

4) Go to www.spaceweather.com and type today’s headline here.



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What’s up in space

5) What is the Earth’s albedo? (Provide a definition and the %)

Albedo is the physical quantity that describes an ability of certain surfaces and cosmic objects to reflect or diffuse radiation (light). The Earth’s average albedo is about 35%.

6) On page 19 of the textbook, talking about the albedo of parts of the earth, the Sahara Desert probably has what albedo? (%)

The Sahara Desert’s albedo is a little higher than that of the Earth in general. It fluctuates between 30 and 40%.

7) Is the albedo of your neighborhood always the same? Why or why not?

The albedo of my neighborhood constantly changes, as its streets are covered with snow during winter months. It is estimated that snow reflects nearly 85% of the Sun’s light.

8) What causes the seasons?

The Earth experiences four unique seasons due to two reasons. First of all, because it revolves around the Sun.  Secondly, its rotational axis is tilted toward the orbital plane.

9) Can the distance between the earth and sun adequately explain seasonal temperature differences (winter vs. summer)? What dates are we a) closest to the sun? b) farthest from the sun?

No, it cannot. The sole thing that contributes to the seasonal temperature differences is the tilt of the Earth’s rotational axis. The northern hemisphere of our planet is closer to the Sun in winter by the way.Provided that we are located in the northern hemisphere the dates are as following: a) early January, b) early July (and vice versa if we are in the southern hemisphere).  

10) Although the intensity of incoming solar radiation is greatest at noon, the warmest part of the day is most often mid-afternoon. Why?

Research by Ukrainian meteorologistsSavchenko and Hunko (2006) points out that it happens because “the amount of energy received by the Earth’s surface is greater than the amount of energy emitted by the surface.Therefore the surface will continue to absorb solar radiation. Consequently, the air will continue to warm’’.

11) Describe the three basic mechanisms of heat transfer.

Mechanisms of heat transfer are pigeonholed as follows: thermal radiation, convection, and conduction. Thermal radiation is the radiant energy of electromagnetic waves that are emitted by materialobjects. It may also be described as the process of energy emission and dissemination through the waves and charged particles. Thermal convection is the phenomenon of heat transfer in liquids, gases, and granular media by the flows of matter itself (both on purpose and accidentally). Thermal conduction is the transfer of internal energy from more heated particles (or bodies) to less heated particles (or bodies) that is carried out by the chaotically moving particles (atoms, molecules, electrons etc.).

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12) What is the main mechanism of heat transfer that weather uses to move heat around the earth?

The weather employs convection primarily to move heat around the Earth. Taking into consideration the aforementioned information it becomes clear that thermal convection deals with fluids. The World Ocean stores a huge quantity of heat and both cold and warm currents carry it around the globe.

13) What kills more people in the US? Hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods or heat?Why?

Anomalous temperatures annually decimate more people than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes and floods put together.

14) What is the wind chill and when would you expect to have a wind chill?

Wind chill is the term that means humans’ feelings experienced when the skin is exposed simultaneously to frost and wind.  You expect to have a wind chill when it is cold, humid and windy outdoors.

15) What is the heat index and when would you expect to have a heat index value?

The heat index is a measurement that combines air temperature, humidity and velocity of wind that is designed to determine how human beings perceive temperature. You expect to have a heat index value if you are an outdoor worker prone to heat-related illnesses.

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16) What is the difference between the concept of heat and temperature?

Temperature is a relative measurement that gauges the kinetic energy of the molecules contained in a body, while heat is the amount of energy derived from the heat exchange.

17) How does the sun make the wind blow?

Sea breeze is the simplest way to understand how the Sun makes the wind blow. Air above the terra firma is heated easier than that above the sea. The heated air rises up and colder air masses from the sea supplant it. The reverse process takes place at night. That is why the wind blows from the sea direction in the daytime and towards the sea in the nighttime. The similar approach is applied to explaining the origins of more powerful winds.

18) What instruments do we use to measure air pressure?

The instrument that helps us measure air pressure is called a barometer, unless you want to check the air pressure in tires.

19) What makes moving air bend to the right in the northern hemisphere? How does air bend in the southern hemisphere? (This applies to bullets and artillery as well, but not toilets.)

This bizarre phenomenon is called the Corioliseffect. In the northern hemisphere the air masses rotate clockwise and counterclockwise depending on the cyclones, while in the southern hemisphere absolutely reverse processes happen. Generally,air bends to the left in the northern hemisphere, though when an anticyclone emerges counterclockwise rotations occur. The Corioliseffect is also used to explain why water undermines right banks of the rivers in the northern hemisphere and washes underneath left banks of the rivers in the southern hemisphere.

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20) What is the jet stream and what makes it bend and buckle as it circles the northern and southern hemispheres?

Jet stream is a powerful narrow wind that is found in the upper troposphere or lower stratosphere and is characterized by the high velocity. People learned to avail themselves of jet streams, which, if handled correctly, can significantly decrease the time necessary for a trip by airplane.According to Riehl (1979), «uneven heating of the Earth by the sun causes the jet stream to bend to the north and to the south».


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