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Understanding Climate
Components of the Climate System

The term "climate system" refers to the many elements that contribute to creating a climate in a particular place or region. Components include the atmosphere and oceans, the land, ice, and biosphere (plant and animal life), as well as cities and other parts of the "built environment."

Click the labels in the graphic for more details.

Cloud Processes Snow Cover Land Surface Oceans Biosphere Radiative Atmosphere
Image elements courtesy of the Integration and Application Network, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (