The Earth’s Climate System

Categories: Climate Change

The Earth’s Climate System: Function

An overview of Earth’s climate system function which interactively consist of some major components of atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, biosphere, and the land surface are influenced by various external forcing mechanisms from the sun and human activities.

Furthermore, the interaction among the components is seen as a wild range of space and time scales from billions of years to decades when considering the physical, chemical and biological process of interactions. These components of the climate system are varied from physical properties to chemical properties, structure and behavior but are linked by fluxes of mass, heat and momentum.

Therefore, climate variations may change whether in natural or anthropogenic, in the component of the climate systems (IPCC, 1997).

Role of Sun and Orbital Cycles

The sun is considered as the controller of the climate changes and by far consider the most important driving force of the climate system. Global insolation changes sometime and can be related to nuclear fusion in the core of the sun, the radiation zone and convection zone are deemed to support energy transport, the emission of radiation from the photosphere, and the distance between the sun and the earth.

Meanwhile, the orbital cycle also has an effect on the climate system depending on the incoming sunlight (Mende, W., Stellmatcher, R., 2000). Climate variability of the Earth is very important to the cycle of ice ages that is linked to earth’s orbit. However, gravitational attraction that is found between the earth and the sun, is because of the Earth orbit around the sun.

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To examines how energy is cycled through the earth’s climate system we have to follow the energy of the Earth dynamic climate system. The objective is to know the flow of energy from space to Earth and verse versa that will set the stage for climate, climate variation and the change in climate.

The fundamental understanding pertaining to Earth’s climate system shows that on a global scale, the flow of energy happens between Earth and space, and the incoming solar radiation effect on Earth’s energy budget that are likely to impact the atmosphere on the flow of energy to space.

Causes of Recent Changes

To determine possible causes of recent changes in the global temperature is because the Earth’s climate system evolves under the certain conditions of its own internal dynamics. That is, when the changes in the incoming solar radiation such as changes in Earth’s orbit or Sun’s output and when the changes in the fraction of solar radiation that is reflected. This refraction effect changes in cloud cover, atmospheric particles or vegetation. However, some of these recent changes makes the climate respond directly and indirectly through numerous mechanisms. 

Energy-To access how energy is transported horizontally in the atmosphere, it is pertinent to note that heat energy can be transported through the atmosphere by conduction and convection. Therefore, for horizontal transfer to occur, heat energy has to take place from the equator to the poles which is subjugated by the ocean currents (Pidwirny, M. 2006). 

Features of Ocean Circulation

 One thing for sure is to understand that Ocean exert vital influences on Earth climate system. Ocean features provides inertia to the climate and it’s acting as the pacemaker of climate change (Vallis G.K., 2012). So, the essential feature of ocean circulation when it comes to climactic impact from atmospheric energy and geologic events is that it moderates the climate by taking in heat from the underlying atmosphere when is hot by way of storing that energy and releasing heat when the energy is cold (Vallis G.K., 2012). Note that Ocean also redistributes heat on a large-scale ocean circulation.

Geological Events 

Some geological characteristics has influence global climate system through atmospheric and oceanic conditions. Here, I focus on the present-day geologic events that includes vast ranges of volcanoes hidden under the ocean floors known by scientists as gentle giants of the planet of a steady rates along mid-ocean ridge.

For some reasons, people have ignored seafloor volcanoes merely for the fact that they assume to be in a steady state, but they are not. Volcanic activities on the ocean floor are growing edge of giant tectonic plates. Lava is push out, forms new area at the ocean floor, and interestingly comprise some 80% of the Earth’s crust (Krajick, K. 2015). 

Climate Oscillation

This section details the process that drives short periods of climate oscillation. Climate oscillation are the result of precipitation and temperature variations in an area or region. El Nino-Southern Oscillation as it is global climate oscillation, have been linked to observed weather patterns in some part of the world. It’s unclear how the different climate oscillations act simultaneously where weather and vegetated land are part of the affected area. It might be logical for different oscillation indices to occur within a region of the world (Bothe O, Fraedrich K and Zhu X 2012).

Example is the central Asia where North Atlantic Oscillation, East Atlantic / West Russia pattern, and the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation predominantly influence temperature in the northern part of Central Asia. Regardless, regional climate pattern also plays a significant role, indicating global climate alone may not be sufficient to project weather pattern in some of the region (Flato G et al 2013).

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The Earth’s Climate System. (2021, Oct 31). Retrieved from

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