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On Earth, common weather phenomena include wind, cloud, rain, snow, fog and dust storms. Less common events include natural disasters such astornadoes, hurricanes, typhoons and ice storms. Almost all familiar weather phenomena occur in the troposphere (the lower part of the atmosphere).Weather does occur in the stratosphere and can affect weather lower down in the troposphere, but the exact mechanisms are poorly understood
Weather occurs primarily due to air pressure (temperature and moisture) differences between one place to another. These differences can occur due to the sun angle at any particular spot, which varies by latitude from the tropics. In other words, the farther from the tropics one lies, the lower the sun angle is, which causes those locations to be cooler due to the indirect sunlight. The strong temperature contrast between polar and tropical air gives rise to the jet stream. Weather systems in the mid-latitudes, such as extratropical cyclones, are caused by instabilities of the jet stream flow (seebaroclinity). Weather systems in the tropics, such as monsoons or organized thunderstorm systems, are caused by different processes.
Because the Earth's axis is tilted relative to its orbital plane, sunlight is incident at different angles at different times of the year. In June the Northern Hemisphere is tilted towards the sun, so at any given Northern Hemisphere latitude sunlight falls more directly on that spot than in December (seeEffect of sun angle on climate). This effect causes seasons. Over thousands to hundreds of thousands of years, changes in Earth's orbital parameters affect the amount and distribution of solar energy received by the Earth and influence long-term climate. (See Milankovitch cycles).
The uneven solar heating (the formation of zones of temperature and moisture gradients, or frontogenesis) can also be due to the weather itself in the form of cloudiness and precipitation.Higher altitudes are cooler than lower altitudes, which is explained by the lapse On local scales, temperature differences can occur because different surfaces (such as oceans, forests, ice sheets, or man-made objects) have differing physical characteristics such as reflectivity, roughness, or moisture content.
Surface temperature differences in turn cause pressure differences. A hot surface heats the air above it and the air expands, lowering the air pressure and its density.The resulting horizontalpressure gradient accelerates the air from high to low pressure, creating wind, and Earth's rotation then causes curvature of the flow via the Coriolis effect.The simple systems thus formed can then display emergent behaviour to produce more complex systems and thus other weather phenomena. Large scale examples include the Hadley cell while a smaller scale example would becoastal breezes.
The atmosphere is a chaotic system, so small changes to one part of the system can grow to have large effects on the system as a whole. This makes it difficult to accurately predict weather more than a few days in advance, though weather forecasters are continually working to extend this limit through the scientific study of weather, meteorology. It is theoretically impossible to make useful day-to-day predictions more than about two weeks ahead, imposing an upper limit to potential for improved prediction skill.