|MadSci Network: Earth Sciences|
What is the force that drives weather phenomena, gravity or the temperature differential? * * * * * * * As well as I can tell, your argument is that "gravity" is a force, and that a temperature differential is not per-se a force and therefore cannot "drive" anything. The great majority of the energy involved in weather dynamics is received as electro-magnetic radiation from the Sun. A small amount of energy comes from the particulate plasma of the solar wind and there are tiny increments from sources such as cosmic rays and geothermal radiation. All of these sources provide electo-magnetic energy, which is the physical expression of the electo-magnetic force - one of the four basic forces of physics. As you correctly identified, gravitational force is also involved in atmospheric phenomena. The other two forces - the strong force and the weak force - do not participate much in the weather. You remember from basic physics courses that energy is force times distance. Either the electro-magnetic force or the force of gravity acting over a distance are energy. The atmospheric dynamics referred to as weather are the product of the interaction of energy with the gases which make up the atmosphere. Nearly all of this energy exists - at one point or other - as a temperature differential. Little of it is derived from force differentials along the gravity gradient. Thermal energy, or temperature differentials, dominate over gravity in "driving" the weather.
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