Introduction to the Earth's Climate System

Introduction to the Earth's Climate System

Kevin Trenberth

Former Coordinating Lead Author of the IPCC

The climate is a deciding factor in where to holiday, what food we eat and how we live. It guides animals in when to hibernate and when to mate. But what are the building blocks of our climate system and how does it work? Join pre-eminent climate scientist Kevin Trenberth as he guides us through the basics of the climate system.

The climate is a deciding factor in where to holiday, what food we eat and how we live. It guides animals in when to hibernate and when to mate. But what are the building blocks of our climate system and how does it work? Join pre-eminent climate scientist Kevin Trenberth as he guides us through the basics of the climate system.

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Introduction to the Earth's Climate System

17 mins 2 secs

Overview

Our climate is a beautiful, interconnected and delicate balance of the Sun and our Earth. Put simply, the climate could be defined as: the average prevailing weather conditions in a region, including all the variability and extremes. It comprises five internal components (the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, lithosphere and biosphere) and the largest external component (the Sun). However, human activity has interrupted this delicate balance, causing our current climate crisis. The climate change we refer to and are living through, is a cause for alarm due to how rapidly the changes are occurring.

Key learning objectives:

  • Learn what the climate system is

  • Identify the five internal climate components

  • Understand how human activity has caused the climate crisis

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Summary
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Expert
Kevin Trenberth

Kevin Trenberth

Dr. Kevin Trenberth is a Distinguished Scholar at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). He was a Coordinating Lead Author of the 1995, 2001, and 2007 Scientific Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Kevin also shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize which went to the IPCC and Al Gore. Between 1999 to 2006, Kevin served on the Joint Scientific committee of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). Kevin then went on to chair the WCRP Observation and Assimilation Panel from 2004 to 2010 and the Global Energy and Water Exchanges (GEWEX) Scientific Steering Group from 2010 to 2013. He has also served on many US national committees and is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Geophysical Union (AGU), and an honorary fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi. Kevin has received many awards throughout his career. In 2000, he received the Jule G. Charney award from the AMS; in 2003, he was given the NCAR Distinguished Achievement Award. In 2013 he was awarded the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water, and he received the Climate Communication Prize from AGU and in 2017 he was honoured with the Roger Revelle medal by the AGU.

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