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The Earth’s atmosphere is essential to life. This is not simply as a gas to breathe: the atmosphere shapes the Earth’s surface, transports heat, water and nutrients and protects us from harmful radiation. Without the atmosphere, the surface of the Earth would be much too cold for liquid water and the planet would be a frozen desert.
The atmosphere is dynamic and moves in response to the way that it is heated by the Sun. The way that the atmosphere moves is governed by the Earth’s gravity and rotation. This leads to the day-to-day changes that we experience on the surface, which we call weather.
Life in different regions has adapted to the weather and to the pattern of seasons. Weather is important to almost everyone’s life. Predicting the timing and amount of rainfall is vital to agriculture. Knowing the strength and direction of winds is important for travel and transport, from sailing ships to modern aircraft. Everything, ranging from construction to sports and entertainment events, may be affected by the weather. But the most extreme weather can have a devastating impact on people’s lives.
In these short videos we will explore four extreme weather-related events which you will be able to investigate with simple home experiments to understand the science behind them. We hope that you will investigate further and you will share and discuss your own results online.