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Section 1.1 The science of meteorology

Meteorology is the study of the Earth's atmosphere, with a particular focus on observing and forecasting weather-related phenomena. The atmosphere is a relative thin layer (about 1% of the Earth's radius) of air that blankets the surface of our planet. Air is a mixture of numerous gases, consisting mostly of molecular nitrogen (N\(_2\)) and oxygen (O\(_2\)).

It is important to note the difference between weather and climate, both of which are areas of study in meteorology:

  • Weather is the condition of the atmosphere at a particular time and place. The atmospheric condition includes temperature, humidity, dew point, pressure, wind speed, cloud behavior, and precipitation.

  • Climate is the condition of the atmosphere over a longer time span of many years for a particular location or region of the Earth.