-the Earth’s spheres: atmosphere, hydrosphere (water in its liquid and vapor form), lithosphere (solid Earth, including land surface, crust, mantle), cryosphere (water in its solid form), biosphere (the living Earth)-what drives the weather?: the Sun; weather is variable throughout the year b/c the Sun does not heat the Earth’s surface evenly year round; this creates a gradient in terms of radiation and temperature, but the atmosphere is always trying to balance itself out, so, for example, areas that are warmer will transfer energy to areas that are cooler (this drives the circulation of wind, which comprises the weather)-what’s happening w/ the Sun?: we are about to enter a new solar cycle (can be traced by sun spots, or darker, cooler regions on Sun; frequency of maximum sun spots is decreasing), meaning the Sun is producing less radiation, and the Earth will possibly cool down-layers of atmosphere (about 400km total)-troposphere (area where “weather” occurs, various weather systems help to mix air in troposphere; temp. decreases with height [lapse rate=temp. varies with height]),
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