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The Earth’s atmosphere is never at rest; Just like the oceans beneath it, and the mantle below that, it is a heaving mass alive with convection currents. This means that there are an incredible number of things for us, as curious humans to observe. Our thirst for knowledge as always slowly brought us closer to understanding about the world in which we live. Weather is a primary feature in this episode, as all weather comes from a mixture of atmospheric changes and changes in the water. The episode looks at the devastating effects of tornados, lightning storms, and the winds effect on our landscape, but also on the stranger sides of the atmosphere, in particular the moving rocks in death valley, and the shower of frogs and fish that happens very occasionally. It also covers the ability of the wind to displace things, and the effect that this could have on human life in the future. Also looked at are meteors and the ozone layer.
Kick-started by the heat from both the sun and the superheated solid core of the earth, and driven by the cycle of water and ocean currents, the movements of the atmosphere can be as relentless a force as any. In a few hours wind can decimate a city; over centuries it can shape our landscapes. From the atmosphere comes rain, snow, storms and every sort of weather. And the atmosphere permits us to live; its behaviour determines our future as a planet.
Movements in our atmosphere are complex and influenced by many factors. Air currents carry entire weather systems with them and, as currents are constantly colliding, it becomes extremely difficult to predict how these systems will react and how their future paths will be resolved. The picture is complicated by the fact that the atmosphere is not homogeneous - there is activity at different levels. Meteorologists are now able to follow currents at various heights in the atmosphere; their images give an insight into just how restless our skies are. Mapping the skies is an endeavor of approximation, constantly overtaken by events; we can only give a general picture of what’s going on.
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