By Michael C. MacCracken

Quantity considered one of this Encyclopedia offers with the actual and chemical dimensions of the Earth procedure, together with for instance the ambience, the oceans, the cryosphere, and people points of the land floor rather correct to interactions with different parts of the Earth procedure. It makes a speciality of the main dynamic points of the process, at the components and techniques that produce switch, and at the courses and person scientists such a lot curious about measuring and figuring out swap. the amount starts with a gaggle of prolonged assessment essays, via shorter articles on a number of features of the background, present country, and attainable destiny states of the Earth method, together with the interactions one of the elements of the program. professional contributions characteristic on: ancient traits in a variety of environmental symptoms, either some time past century and lengthening again via geological time What we have now realized, and the instruments used to realize wisdom concerning the functioning of this complicated procedure, from box courses to mel simulations results of human intervention on weather switch and stratospheric ozone depletion info of geared up foreign staring at, information administration, and study courses within the Earth sciences short biographies of a range of major scientists This quantity represents a uniquely useful resource of targeted, well timed, and authoritative info in terms of the problems of world environmental swap. it's been developed large adequate in scope to light up each nook of the proper geophysical sciences, whereas last concise and quite simply usable via the non-specialist.

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Atmosphere – Ocean Interaction: El Nino Understanding the climate system becomes more complex as the components interact. El Ni˜no events are a striking example of a phenomenon that would not occur without interactions between the atmosphere and ocean. El Ni˜no events involve a warming of the surface waters of the tropical Pacific Ocean (see El Nino ˜ and La Nina: ˜ Causes and Global Consequences, Volume 1). Ocean warming takes place from the International Dateline to the west coast of South America and results in changes in the local and regional ecology.

This rotation gives us the day–night cycle. A consequence of the Earth s roughly spherical shape and the rotation is that the average solar radiation received at the top of the Earth s atmosphere is the solar constant divided by 4, which is the ratio of the Earth s surface area (4pa2 , where a is the mean radius) to that of the cross-section (pa2 ). On timescales of tens of thousands of years, the Earth s orbit slowly changes, the shape of the orbit is altered, the tilt changes, and the Earth precesses on its axis like a rotating top, all of which combine to alter the latitudinal and seasonal distribution of solar radiation received by the Earth (see Orbital Variations, Volume 1).

Effects of Clouds Clouds also absorb and emit thermal radiation; as a result, they have a blanketing effect similar to that of the greenhouse gases. However, clouds are also bright reflectors of solar radiation and thus also act to cool the surface. While on average there is strong cancellation between the two opposing effects of shortwave and longwave cloud heating, 19 the net global effect of clouds in our current climate, as determined by space-based measurements, is a small cooling of the surface.

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