Introduction to Decadal Climate Variability Phenomena

Authored by: Vikram M. Mehta

Natural Decadal Climate Variability

Print publication date:  April  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9781466554528
eBook ISBN: 9781315374482
Adobe ISBN:


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Electromagnetic radiation from the Sun is the primary driver of the Earth’s climate system. Owing to the tilt of the Earth’s rotation axis and the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface is a function of latitude and time. At any time in the year, there is a gradient of radiation reaching the Earth’s surface, which is maximum at the equator and minimum at the poles. The annual cycle of the Sun’s apparent north–south movement across the Earth’s surface defines seasons. In this apparent north–south movement, the Sun’s most northern position is on approximately June 21. Then, it starts to move southward and reaches the equator on approximately September 21 and its most southern position is on approximately December 21. Then, the apparent position starts to move northward, again reaching the equator on approximately March 21 and the most northern position again is on approximately June 21. Annual cycles of weather and climate generally follow the Sun, but the Earth’s climate system’s response is delayed owing to thermal inertia of oceans, snow and ice, and land.

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