An introduction to weather

Get an overview of the key elements that create weather and learn how it occurs in our environment.

Everyone on the planet is influenced by the weather and although it can create fantastic and spectacular experiences, it can also cause great damage.

In this video series, we will take a look at the hidden forces that rule our planet. We will explain how meteorologists predict the weather and learn how the atmosphere interacts with the oceans and the sun so that by the end of this series, you will have a better understanding of our weather.

The term weather refers to the mix of events that happens each day in our atmosphere. Most weather happens in the troposphere, the part of the atmosphere that is closest to the ground.

Weather and climate are closely related, but they are different.
Weather focuses on short term changes, whereas climate looks at the average weather over a longer period of time. So the difference is basically a measure of time.

There are three elements that determine the weather we experience – air pressure, water vapor and temperature. These elements exist in different combinations and affect one another. And with these ingredients, you can create all kinds of weather. Weather occurs primarily due to the fact that the earth is heated differently. This is because of the sun's position relative to the Earth and different heat capacities of the surface. This creates differences in air pressure. As the air heats, the molecules start moving around more and thus create more pressure. And vice versa. The more those molecules move around, the more heat they generate.

When cooling or heating changes the air pressure, the air begins to move. Air will always move from high pressure to low pressure to even out the difference. This is wind.

The third and final element we need to talk about is water vapor. Without it, there would be no clouds, rain or snow. As we just talked about, the heating of the earth makes the air warm up and rise into the atmosphere. When the air rises, it cools. Now it can no longer hold so much water. It reaches its saturation point. So the water condenses and forms clouds. This can eventually turn into precipitation that can fall in the form of rain, snow, sleet or hail.

In another video, we will take a closer look into precipitation. Now let's look at a familiar weather phenomena, the sea breeze.

During the day, the land gets really hot, making air heating up. This makes the air expand, which causes higher air pressure in the upper troposphere over land. As air moves from high pressure to low pressure, the hot air will move towards the ocean area.

This results in a higher pressure by the surface of the ocean. While we have low pressure by the surface of the land. This causes a sea breeze coming in from the sea.

The air that is coming from the ocean has a lot of water vapor. When the air moves towards land, it will heat because of the hot ground surface. This will make the air lighter, which causes it to rise.

When the air cools, it will be saturated with water vapor, and a cloud will be formed.

This was a very brief introduction to the weather and the elements that cause it. In the next video, we will take a look at the wind on a global scale.

Course overview

Modules: 5
Completion time
Completion time: 25 minutes
Difficulty level
Difficulty level: Intermediate