How the Sun Affects the Weather

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ASTR 1020

August 31, 2011

“How the Sun Affects the Weather”

Our sun is a massive nuclear fusion reactor that generates astonishing amounts of energy. The sun is the largest body in our solar system. It has a gravitational pull causing all other objects in the solar system to orbit it. Since the sun is in the neighborhood of the earth this gives the results of a greater gravitational effect on earth. “Warmth for the planet is provided primarily by the sun’s energy. The rate of energy coming from the sun changes from day to day. At an average distance from the sun 93 million miles” (Ahrens 4). The energy from the sun affects many things here on earth. One of the main things the sun does is warm our planet, including the atmosphere. This energy drives our weather we see daily. Temperature fluctuation the sun generates can be associated to every weather phenomenon on earth and can be traced back to the sun. All planets have an atmosphere, a layer of gases that surrounds them. The Sun's atmosphere is made up of hydrogen, while Earth's is made up primarily of nitrogen and oxygen. Carbon dioxide, ozone, and other gases are also present. These gases keep our planet warm and protect us from the direct effects of the Sun's radiation. Without this regulation, Earth could not sustain life. To understand the weather you need to understand the layers of the atmosphere. The layers of the atmosphere from the surface rising upward are troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, and exosphere. We live in the troposphere layer, this is where the air temperature normally decreases with height, and contains all of the weather we are familiar with. Most of the clouds you see in the sky are found in the troposphere, and this is the layer of the atmosphere we associate with weather. Extending up to 10 miles above Earth's surface, the troposphere contains a variety of gases: water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and others. These gases help...
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