Weather and climate are not the same. Weather is what occurs outdoors on a daily basis and is unpredictable from one week to the next, whereas climate follows a stable pattern that is developed over centuries. The planet is divided into climate zones-tropical, temperate and polar-based on temperature differences with distance from the equator where the sun is most intense and temperature affects humidity, precipitation, cloudiness and wind. To understand what drives our climate, scientists study the atmosphere, the oceans, biosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere. 30-Second Climate is an immediately accessible guide to the 50 key factors affecting Earth's climate, past, present and future, each explained in half a minute. From atmospheric circulation to zero carbon, this is the quickest way to know your planet.
Joanna D. Haigh CBE FRS is Professor of Atmospheric Physics and co-Director of the Grantham Institute (Climate Change and the Environment) at Imperial College London. She has been fascinated by weather since childhood and has been lucky enough to follow a career in meteorology. Her particular expertise is in how solar and heat radiation interact with the atmosphere and in the physics of climate change.