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What is Weather? - Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jeremy Cook

Jeremy has been teaching in elementary education for 13 years and holds a master's degree in Education

Look out the window. Is it raining? Is it sunny? Is it hot or cold? The answers to these questions tell you what the weather outside at that moment in time. This lesson will explain what weather is and what causes it.

Defining the Weather

Put very simply, weather is the state of the atmosphere at any given period of time. The atmosphere is made up of the gasses, like oxygen, that surround the Earth. What is happening in the atmosphere is the weather. Weather includes several different factors that we can measure. Have you ever watched the weather forecast on the news or online? What kind of things do they tell us? Most weather forecasts will tell us what the temperature will be, if it's going to rain or snow and whether it will be cloudy or sunny. Those factors combined together to make the weather.

This forecast includes many of the things that makes up weather
Weather Forecast

What Causes Weather?

What shape is the Earth? The fact that Earth is round contributes to the weather. The Sun heats up the atmosphere and the Earth, but since the Earth is round, it hits different parts at different times of the day and the year. It also hits at different angles. Areas around the equator get more direct sunlight and are warmer. Areas around the poles get indirect, or angled, sunlight, so they are colder. The Earth is tilted on its axis, giving us the seasons. The different temperatures across the planet as the seasons change cause the atmosphere to move and churn. The movement is what causes wind, clouds, storms and precipitation. Precipitation is moisture that falls to the ground from clouds in the form of rain or snow. The cycle of warm and cold air mixing and churning creates the weather cycle across the globe.

The tilt of the Earth causes the rays of the Sun to hit at different angles, affecting the weather and seasons
Seasons

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