Key concepts Climate Literacy Essential Principle 2:
a. Earth's climate is influenced by interactions involving the Sun, ocean, atmosphere, clouds, ice, land, and life.
b. Covering 70% of Earth's surface, the ocean exerts a major control on climate by dominating Earth's energy and water cycles. It has the capacity to absorb large amounts of solar energy.
c. The amount of solar energy absorbed or radiated by Earth is modulated by the atmosphere and depends on its composition.
d. The abundance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is controlled by biogeochemical cycles that continually move these components between their ocean, land, life, and atmosphere reservoirs.
e. Airborne particulates, called "aerosols," have a complex effect on Earth's energy balance: they can cause both cooling (by reflecting incoming sunlight back out to space) and warming (by absorbing and releasing heat energy in the atmosphere).
f. The interconnectedness of Earth's systems means that a significant change in any one component of the climate system can influence the equilibrium of the entire Earth system.