Heat Tranfer leads to Winds 1) Of the angle at which the sun’s heat and light comes to earth. A sphere (like the earth) can NOT be heated the same way from a single light source (like the sun). The sun is HUGE compared to the earth, sort of like the image below: In fact, the size difference is so dramatic that the suns’ radiation essentially comes to earth in parallel waves of energy. The only parts of the earth that receives direct light and heat are areas near the equator. Hear, radiation hits the earth straight on, making these areas the warmest in temperature. Areas near the poles receive the suns energy at a much more shallow (oblique) angle, which means these areas are the coolest places on earth. The image below shows global air temperatures because of this effect (the warmest areas are shown in orange and the coolest in blue). Remember, air is set in motion by differences in temperature and density, and the movement of air creates all weather patterns on earth. The rotation of the earth. The counter clock-wise spin of the earth on its’ axis is responsible for time. We see the change of time during the day as the sun crossing the sky, which is of course an illusion. The sun is the stationary center of the solar system – the rotation of the earth makes it seem like the sun is moving. At any given moment, EXACTLY half of the earth is in sun (day), and half is in darkness (night). The earth’s surfaces that are in day will be absorbing the suns energy, and the surfaces that are in night will be releasing it. In the picture of the earth above, the air above the continent of Africa will be warmer than the air over the surrounding ocean creating differences in air movement, but as the planet continues to rotate, this will change – and continue to change. All of these variables combine to make the weather impossible to completely predict.