What are the elements of weather and climate ?

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Weather is nothing more than the different elements it is composed of, as well as the way they interact with each to create different atmospheric conditions or weather events.
1. The Elements of Weather and Climate
What Are The Elements Of The Weather And Climate?
Weather is nothing more than the different elements it is composed of, as well as
the way they interact with each to create different atmospheric conditions or
weather events. We first need to identify what the elements are that make up the
weather. Eight primary elements/factors drive all weather:
1. Temperature
2. Air (Atmospheric) Pressure
3. Wind (Speed & Direction)
4. Humidity
5. Precipitation
6. Visibility
7. Clouds (Type & Cover)
8. Sunshine Duration
We can now look at each one in more detail.
1) Temperature
We all know what temperature is. When discussing the weather, this will probably
be one of the first topics that come up. It is because we are so sensitive to
temperature and quickly become aware of feeling cold or hot. We know what it feels
like, but what exactly is temperature?
What Is Temperature?
Temperature is a measurement of the amount of kinetic energy present in the air,
which manifests itself physically through the experience of heat or cold.
The scales typically used to measure temperature, is Celsius, Fahrenheit, and Kelvin.
The instrument used to measure temperature is called a thermometer.
In more practical terms, it means that the particles in the air move or vibrate at a
certain speed, which creates kinetic energy. When the particles start to move/rotate
2. around faster, temperature increases. When the particles begin to slow down, the
temperature also starts to decrease.
Instrument for Measuring Temperature
The thermometer is the instrument used to measure temperature. They come in all
shapes and sizes and dates all the way back to 1714. The mercury, bimetal, and
digital thermometer are the 3 most commonly used instruments for measuring
ambient temperature.
2) Air Pressure
Air pressure is another essential element of weather, especially when it comes to
creating or changing atmospheric conditions. It is also one of the critical variables
used to make accurate weather forecasts.
What Is Air (Atmospheric) Pressure?
Air Pressure is the result of the pressure created by the weight of the air in the
Earth's atmosphere.
It is also called a barometric pressure, named after the instrument used to measure
air pressure.
Although it may not be visible, air has weight since it is not empty. It is filled with
small particles of nitrogen, oxygen, argon, carbon dioxide and a few other gases.
The weight of the particles in the air creates pressure due to the gravitational force
of the Earth. Since more air is present above the air close to the ground, air pressure
is the highest on the planet's surface and decreases as altitude increase.
Instrument for Measuring Air Pressure
The barometer is the instrument used to measure air pressure. Evangelista Torricelli
developed the first device in 1643.
Like the thermometer, the barometer also comes in different forms. Some examples
include mercury, water, aneroid, and digital barometers.
3) Wind (Speed & Direction)
3. The movement of air (wind) is one of the main driving forces of weather. The
majority of major and even extreme weather events like cold & warm fronts, clouds,
thunderstorms, and hurricanes are all driven by wind.
What Is Wind?
Wind is the large-scale movement of air from an area of high to an area of low
pressure in the atmosphere.
The speed and strength of wind are determined by the distance between the low-
pressure and high-pressure areas, as well as the difference in air pressure.
Instruments for Measuring Wind Speed and Direction
The anemometer is the instrument used to measure wind speed. Consisting of 3-4
half-cups on arms rotating around a central axis, you can typically find it on top of a
weather station or at an elevated position.
A wind vane (or weather vane) is the instrument used to measure wind direction. It
is a flat-shaped object that spins freely on an axis. Very often in the shape of an
arrow or cockerel, you can also find it on top of a weather station or highly elevated
objects. It is common to see them on top of roof chimneys, church towers, and even
communication towers.
4) Humidity
Humidity is another weather element that cannot be seen but can be felt. It not only
plays a big part in weather formation but also directly influence our physical comfort
What Is Humidity?
Humidity is the amount of water vapor that is present in the atmosphere at any
specific time.
Water vapor is nothing more than water in a state of gas (after the liquid has
evaporated). Although humidity and its effects can usually be felt, it is normally
invisible to the naked eye.
Humidity can be challenging to understand and interpret correctly. Then you also
have to be able to make a clear distinction between absolute and relative humidity.
Instrument for Measuring Humidity
4. The hygrometer is the instrument used to measure wind speed. You also find more
than one type of this device, like the psychomotor and the resistance hygrometer.
5) Precipitation
There is no argument that water in any of its forms is an absolute necessity for life
on Earth to exist. Humans, animals, and plants need water to grow or stay alive,
and precipitation is the only way to replenish the dams, rivers, reservoirs, and
groundwater on which we rely.
What Is Precipitation?
Precipitation is water in all its different states, which formed after condensation
turned water vapor into its solid form, which falls to the ground after it becomes too
heavy to stay suspended in the air. Precipitation can take the form of rain, snow,
hail, or graupel. Precipitation is primarily the result of evaporation and
Instrument for Measuring Rainfall
A rain gauge is the instrument used to measure rainfall. It is essentially a measured
container that captures rain and measures the amount that falls over a set period of
6) Visibility
Visibility may seem like a very unlikely element of weather, but is especially
important when discussing and measuring weather conditions like fog, mist, freezing
drizzle, and smog.
What Is Visibility?
Visibility is the measurement of the degree through which an object can be observed
over a certain distance.
This measurement is crucial when conditions like mist, haze, fog, and freezing drizzle
are present, which can severely impede visibility.
The importance to be able to measure this element is often underestimated. It is
especially applicable in areas where visibility plays a crucial role, like airports and
harbors where it can literally be a matter of life or death.
5. Instrument for Measuring Visibility
Visibility sensors like "forward scatter sensor" are the instruments used to measure
visibility. In the past, using your own vision (eyes) to measure the degree to which
you can observe an object, was the standard.
7) Clouds (Type & Cover)
It is no secret that clouds are one of the quickest ways to determine current and
future weather conditions. Studying them in more detail with scientific equipment
is very valuable to make very accurate assessments of present and feature
atmospheric conditions.
What Are Clouds?
Clouds are water droplets or water in different states (like ice and snow crystals),
which formed after water vapor reached condensation level and could no longer
remain in gaseous form. Knowing how to identify a certain type of cloud and the
weather associated with it, can prove valuable when assessing weather conditions
with only visual references.
Instrument for Measuring Clouds
The advanced instruments meteorologists use to study clouds in detail are weather
satellites and radars. Satellite and radar images are able to accurately measure cloud
density, the amount of moisture, the temperature, and movement of the clouds.
8) Sunshine Duration
The amount of sunshine the Earth receives (which is a characteristic of solar
radiation) greatly influence other elements of the weather like ambient
temperature, and more indirectly humidity and air pressure.
What Is Sunshine Duration?
Sunshine duration is the length of time the Earth's surface is directly exposed to solar
radiation. It is also referred to as sunlight hours and measure the amount of
exposure over a set period of time (generally in hours per day or year.)
As already stated, sunshine duration influence other weather elements, which can
change the whole makeup of the weather conditions. This ability makes it a more
powerful and influential factor than you might think.
6. Instrument for Measuring Sunshine
Sunshine recorders, more specifically Campbell–Stokes recorders, are the
instruments used to record sunshine duration. Campbell–Stokes recorders basically
consist of a spherical lens that focuses sunlight on a specific type of tape to make its