Weather and Climate on a Spherical Earth

 Modern residents focus on current weather and contemporary climate trends. Most weather and climate reporters understandably highlight recent events and predict events in the near future. They devote less attention to ancient weather and climate phenomena, preferring to comment “in the moment.” How did weather and climate “in the moment” evolve to its lofty importance? The simple response: Weather and climate relate to the behavior of water in its various states, the atmosphere, and the flow of heat energy to power Earth’s dynamic physical weather/climate system.

Who originated our physical weather/climate system? We propose it was the Judeo-Christian God of Creation. The initial creation event of Genesis 1:1—the ex nihilo creation of the universe “from nothing”—triggered a multitude of wondrous existential events.

In our present day we have access to scientific evidence of past and present (ongoing) creation events. Since the initial creation event, dating to 13.8 billion years ago, the universe has experienced many captivating physical transitions. Millions of years after transitional events take place, scientists are able to infer what happened in the distant past. We refer to the formation of spherical planets long after the initial creation event. There are many hypotheses for how planets formed. For example, a NASA publication has published photographic evidence that “golf ball-size clumps of space dust formed the building blocks of our terrestrial planets.” This phenomenon is inferred by examining some meteorites which manifest a process called “pebble accretion.” Scientists acknowledge they are not sure of the exact nature of the process of planet formation.  

(Our Science/Faith posts of February 2021 discussed divine creation events which occurred long after the initial Big Bang creation event. Our 2/5/21 post referred to ‘leftovers’ of the initial creation event. Our 2/19/21 post reinforced the concept that creation events still occur.)

God’s creative activity was powerfully manifest when He created spherical planets to revolve around a central star. Our timeless God could have created a fully functional universe in a single instant. Moreover, he could have designed a system where the entire human population resides on a flat surface. Instead, He produced a physical Solar System consisting of the Sun and the gas and ice giant planets—Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. A short time later, much smaller spherical inner planets—Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars became part of the Solar System. They are rocky planets with metallic cores. Earth is unique in its habitability. Insofar as we know, there is no other location in the universe suitable for human habitation.

A spherical, axis-tilted, rotating planet revolving around a stationary central star results in unequal heating of the surface of Planet Earth for several reasons. The low latitude equatorial regions of our spherical Earth receive more heat than mid-latitude regions and much more heat than high latitude polar regions. This is a result of the varying angle at which the sun’s rays strike. Our rotating Earth causes the angle of the sun’s rays to change constantly. In addition, the Earth’s axis tilt causes changes in the sun’s angle from season to season. Latitude, time of day, seasonal variation, and axis tilt all relate to the flow of heat energy on our spherical planet. Solar energy drives Earth’s weather and climate.

The interlocking relationships of water, atmosphere, and heat energy on our spherical planet produce a weather/climate system which sustains human life. Details of the fine-tuned system are the province of expert scientists who study the life-sustaining interaction of these three factors. Our universe is fine-tuned for the existence of human life. Our timeless Creator is the author of this fine-tuning. 

“For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the Earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited): ‘I am the Lord, and there is no other.’” (Isaiah 45:18 ESV)

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