Earth’s atmosphere is a mixture of gases, including water vapor and oxygen. Water, which is found almost everywhere on Earth, including the atmosphere, changes form and cycles between Earth’s surface to the air and back again. This cycling of water is driven by energy from the sun. The movement of water in the water cycle is a major process that influences weather conditions. Clouds form during this cycle and various types of precipitation result.
Earth’s oceans and landforms can be affected in various ways by natural processes in one or more of Earth’s spheres (i.e., atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere, and hydrosphere). Humans cannot eliminate natural hazards caused by these processes but can take steps to reduce their impacts. Human activities can affect the land and oceans in positive and negative ways.
Scientists record patterns in weather conditions over time and across the globe to make predictions about what kind of weather might occur next. Climate describes the range of an area’s typical weather conditions and the extent to which those conditions vary over long periods of time.