Weather and

Not only does the Earth have a complex atmosphere, but that atmosphere has complicated motion and nontrivial behavior. We Earthlings call this weather in the short term and climate over the longer term. The following images illustrate some of the complex patterns that develop in Earth's atmosphere.

Left: GOES-7 image of weather patterns in the Americas and Eastern Pacific.
Middle: Hurricane Fran from GOES-8 (Ref).
Right: GOES-8 false-color image of water vapor in Earth's atmosphere (Ref).

links to current weather satellite images:

How does this complex behavior arise? The most general answer is that it is a consequence of (1) solar heating, and (2) effects associated with the rotation of the Earth. In the next section we address these issues explicitly.