This introductory chapter provides an overview of the Earth's climate system—its composition, structure, and circulation—and some of the ways in which these vary naturally with time. It examines the key features of the structure of the Sun, its magnetic field, atmosphere, and its emission of radiation and particles. A comprehension of how the sun affects the Earth is a fundamental requirement for understanding how climate has varied in the past and how it might change in the future. This is particularly important in the context of determining the cause(s) of climate change and understanding natural factors in order to be able to attribute to human activity any past or potential future influence on a range of timescales.
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