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SNC2D – Earth and Space Science: Climate Change
Main Components Affecting the Earth’s Climate
The main components which affect the Earth’s climate include the presence of large bodies of
water, water and air currents, and latitude.
These components affect the amount of energy that is absorbed by, reflected from and
transferred around the Earth’s surface, thus causing changes to our planet’s energy balance.
1. Land and water composition of the earth’s surface:
Role of water:
2. Composition of the atmosphere above the oceans and continents:
Role of the atmosphere:
How does Earth’s movement affect our climate?
1) Rotation – the earth spins completely around on its axis every 24 hours
2) Revolution – the earth makes one complete cycle around the sun ~365 days
SNC2D – Earth and Space Science: Climate Change
The Role of the Earth’s Tilt on the Seasons
Summer
Winter
SNC2D – Earth and Space Science: Climate Change
Main Components Affecting the Earth’s Climate
The main components which affect the Earth’s climate include the presence of large bodies of
water, water and air currents, and latitude.
These components affect the amount of energy that is absorbed by, reflected from and
transferred around the Earth’s surface, thus causing changes to our planet’s energy balance.
1. Land and water composition of the earth’s surface:
Land - ~30% of the earth’s surface
Water - ~70% of the earth’s surface
Role of water: higher heat capacity than land (absorbs more heat), water currents transfer
energy around the earth
2. Composition of the atmosphere above the oceans and continents:
Air (nitrogen – 78%, oxygen – 21%, argon, carbon dioxide), water vapour, dust particles
Role of the atmosphere: earth’s insulating blanket, reflects and traps energy
How does Earth’s movement affect our climate?
1) Rotation – the earth spins completely around on its axis every 24 hours
At any given time, half of the earth is in darkness, other half illuminated by the sun – day and
night
West to east rotation determines:
 Direction in which the wind blows
 Ocean current flow
2) Revolution – the earth makes one complete cycle around the sun ~365 days

The seasons are due to the Earth’s tilt and revolution, not distance from the Sun!

North Pole slanted towards sun for half the year = summer in northern hemisphere;

North Pole slanted away from the sun for the other half = winter in the northern
hemisphere
SNC2D – Earth and Space Science: Climate Change
The Role of the Earth’s Tilt on the Seasons
Summer
Winter

At the equator, the Sun’s rays strike the earth’s surface more directly than at the poles

The energy reaching the equator is concentrated over a smaller area, while the energy is
spread out over a larger area as you move away from the equator

Energy spread out over larger area means lower intensity, and lower temperatures on
the average.