Weather and Climate
Meteorology is the science of weather and predicting the weather. A meteorologist is a scientist who studies the weather.
Today, people have a much better understanding of the weather than ever before in human history. The invention of artificial satellites in 1958 by James Van Allen literally revolutionized the science of meteorology. Then, as never before in human history, mankind was able to look back upon our planet and its atmosphere from space. The weather satellite allowed us to look at our atmosphere from a planetary standpoint. For the first time, we were able to appreciate the wonder and complexity of our living atmosphere, and thereby gain a newfound appreciation for this wonderful world of ours.
Weather is caused by the interaction of several factors in the Earth's atmosphere. One such factor is heat, or RADIANT ENERGY. Only a small part of the sun's total radiant energy output ever reaches the Earth. Of that, only a small portion reaches Earth's surface. Because the Earth is a sphere, different regions of the Earth receive different amounts of radiant energy on their surfaces. Polar areas receive more slanted, or indirect rays from the sun. These rays carry less energy than do the direct rays. Equatorial areas receive more of the direct rays of the sun. These direct rays are hotter than the indirect rays. This is the reason that our equatorial regions are always going to be hotter than our polar regions. This UNEVEN HEATING of the Earth's surface is really the underlying cause of all of our weather conditions on Earth.