Near the Earth’s equator, solar heating is intense year round. Converging trade winds and abundant water vapor all combine to produce a persistent belt of daily showers known as the Intertropical Convergence Zone.

The ocean is the largest solar energy collector on Earth. More than 90 percent of the warming that has happened on Earth over the past 50 years has occurred in the ocean. Not all of that heating is detectable at the surface because currents move some of the heat to deeper layers of water, where it can "hide" for years or decades.

Christopher Landsea, of NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, works with tropical storm data and other hurricane experts to figure out how our warming world will affect hurricanes. Find out what current research tells us about hurricanes in the future.

This report presents a comprehensive appraisal of Earth’s climate in 2009, and establishes the last decade as the warmest on record. Reduced extent of Arctic sea ice, glacier volume, and snow cover reflect the effects of rising global temperature.