Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsSo welcome to week three of our Come Rain or Shine course. And up till now, we've had a quite strong focus on the weather systems that bring the weather in the UK, in Europe and anywhere around the globe in areas we term the mid-latitudes. In this week, we're going to take a slightly more global picture. We're going to start looking at the whole global weather circulation. In particular, we're going to focus on weather patterns in the tropics. Now one thing that's fairly obvious about tropical regions of the Earth is that they're very much warmer than mid-latitudes or high latitudes. We'll think about why that is. We're going to look at the energy balance of earth.

Skip to 0 minutes and 41 secondsWhere does the extra energy come from to make the tropics so much warmer than the rest of the earth? So in order to do that, we need to think about where the energy's coming from, and how it gets absorbed by the earth. Then we're going to start thinking about how that extra energy actually leads to very different weather patterns. Now the laws of physics, which determine how weather systems develop and evolve, are the same everywhere around the world. In fact, they're the same everywhere around the universe. But we know that the way the systems that we get in the tropics can be very, very different to weather systems that we get in mid-latitudes.

Skip to 1 minute and 12 secondsSo we need to think about why that is. Why is it that weather systems in the tropics can be very different and sometimes very much more extreme than weather patterns we get in mid-latitudes. So that's really the focus for this week. We're going to be looking on the global picture. We're going to be looking at the energy balance. We're going to be looking at, particularly, in the tropics. Looking at weather systems in the tropics. Hurricanes, cyclones, the El Niño and monsoon systems.

Welcome to Week 3

Welcome back to your final week of Come Rain or Shine: Understanding the Weather.

In Week’s 1 and 2, you explored the weather systems experienced within the mid-latitudes, particularly focusing on the UK. But what about elsewhere?

This week we take a more global view and explore some of the weather patterns in the Tropics – looking at why they’re so different to those experienced in the mid-latitudes.

You’ll find out more about global atmospheric circulation, learn how to read a weather chart and provide details about wind speed and direction, precipitation and cloud cover.

You’ll also discover how the Earth’s climate (on a global scale) is determined by the balance between energy absorbed and energy emitted, along with the consequences of this balance – bringing extreme weather such as hurricanes, cyclones and monsoon.

There’ll also be the chance to try another practical activity, which will consolidate some of your earlier learning and introduce you to the art of drawing contours.

Finally, if you’re a teacher or simply want to continue your online learning, we’ve provided a summary of freely available, online resources at the end of this week.

Don’t forget, you can also view the figures for Week 3, A-Z glossary, and the course supplement as you go through the week.

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This video is from the free online course:

Come Rain or Shine: Understanding the Weather

University of Reading