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By John P. Rafferty

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Other significant subdisciplines of climatology include bioclimatology and paleoclimatology. conduction, a process where energy is conveyed through a material from one atom or molecule to another. In the case of water surfaces, the transfer is by convection and may consequently be affected by the horizontal transport of heat within large bodies of water. Temperature The temperature of the air is one of the most important determinants of Earth’s climate. Although the global average air temperature does not change much from day to day or year to year, the mean temperature of any particular 9 7 Climate and Climate Change 7 location may differ substantially from other points on Earth’s surface.

Other significant subdisciplines of climatology include bioclimatology and paleoclimatology. conduction, a process where energy is conveyed through a material from one atom or molecule to another. In the case of water surfaces, the transfer is by convection and may consequently be affected by the horizontal transport of heat within large bodies of water. Temperature The temperature of the air is one of the most important determinants of Earth’s climate. Although the global average air temperature does not change much from day to day or year to year, the mean temperature of any particular 9 7 Climate and Climate Change 7 location may differ substantially from other points on Earth’s surface.

8 *Above or below sea level. 5 °C (8 °F) in July. The seasonal variation of temperature and the magnitudes of the differences between the same month in different years and different epochs generally increase toward high latitudes and with distance from the ocean. Temperature Variation with Height There are two main levels where the atmosphere is heated—namely, at Earth’s surface and at the top of the ozone layer (about 50 km, or 30 miles, up) in the stratosphere. Radiation balance shows a net gain at these levels in most cases.

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