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Exam 1 Study Guide

by: Alexandra

Exam 1 Study Guide GR4990

GPA 3.5

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Lecture 1-5 Study Guide for the test
Physical Climatology
Dr. Fuhrmann
Study Guide
Climatology, climate, Science
50 ?




Popular in Physical Climatology

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This 4 page Study Guide was uploaded by Alexandra on Thursday September 22, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to GR4990 at Mississippi State University taught by Dr. Fuhrmann in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 20 views. For similar materials see Physical Climatology in geosciences at Mississippi State University.


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Date Created: 09/22/16
GR 4990 Physical Climatology Exam 1 Study guide 1. Describe the primary spheres that make up the global climate system? The Hydrosphere is all the liquid water on earth, the Biosphere is all the flora and fauna, the Lithosphere is the solid earth, and the Cryosphere is the solid water on earth such as glaciers. 2. Compare and Contrast the fields of Meteorology and Climatology. Meteorology and Climatology both measure and examine the forces and processes that create properties of the atmosphere. However, Meteorology is the instantaneous condition of the atmosphere while Climatology is the state of it for a given location over a period of time. 3. Provide examples that illustrate how climatology is a rapidly advancing field. There is more available high res data, like climate models and datasets. Also, more sophisticated techniques for analysis and visualization such as GIS. Sensitivity to climate variability and change is increasing, as is the need for data and info about our climate. 4. The amount of solar radiation absorbed at the top of the atmosphere is a function of what three things? How do each of these contribute to the amount of absorbed solar radiation? The amount of solar radiation absorbed is a function of total solar irradiance, planetary albedo, and the radius of the planet. The total solar irradiance contributes to this because how much solar radiation is absorbed depends on how much of it is emitted from the sun to Earth. Planetary albedo affects this because albedo is the amount of radiation we reflect, so if we know how much we reflect, we can find out how much is absorbed. Finally, the radius of the planet affects this because depending on how big the planet is, is how much radiation it will absorb. 5. Explain the factors that affect each of the following: a mean global emission temperature of 255K and an observed mean global temperature of 303K. Why do these temperatures differ from the actual observed mean global temperature of 288K? They differ from the mean global temperature because the calculations that result in the higher and lower temperatures are not including factors like the greenhouse effect, radiative transfer, etc. 6. What is an atmospheric window? Why are they important? Provide an example. An atmospheric window is basically a hole in the electromagnetic spectrum that allows radiation leaving earth to escape back into space instead of being reradiated. They are important because they allow the infrared radiation back into space. An example of one atmospheric window is the water vapor window between 8 and 18 microns. 7. Why is there a difference between the amount of absorbed solar radiation and the emitted terrestrial radiation? Where within the climate system is solar radiation absorbed? Where does most of the radiant energy received at earth’s surface come from? How can the strength of the atmospheric greenhouse effect be measured using the global radiative energy flux? There is a difference between the amount of absorbed solar rad. And emitted terrestrial rad because not all incoming solar radiation gets absorbed. In the climate system, most of our radiation is absorbed at the top of the atmosphere. Most of the radiant energy received at earth’s surface comes from the sun. The strength of the greenhouse effect can be measured by comparing how much radiation gets re-radiated back down to earth from the atmosphere and how much the Earth emits. 8. Explain how Planck’s function, Wien’s law, and the Stefan-boltzmann equation are related to energy emitted by the sun and the earth. Planck’s function relates the intensity of radiation from a black body (which we assume earth is) to its wavelength. Wien’s law measures temperature and peak emission from the sun. The Stefan-Boltzmann equation is related because it finds the amount of energy emitted by earth. 9. What effect would adjusting the residence time of water vapor and clouds in the atmosphere to 4x their current duration have on the greenhouse effect of the planet and why? Adjusting the residence time of water vapor would have a potent effect on the greenhouse effect because water vapor is the most potent greenhouse gas. If its residence time was increased, the greenhouse effect would increase drastically. As for clouds, they would absorb much more radiation emitted by the earth in the water vapor window. 10. Describe an atmosphere in radiative-convective equilibrium. An atmosphere in radiative-convective equilibrium would have a temperature less than the dry adiabat, the wet adiabat, and the global average. As you would increase in height, the temperature would steeply decrease until about 10km, where it would begin to steadily increase. 11. Describe how heating and cooling rates of the stratosphere differ from that of the troposphere (assume an atmosphere in radiative-convective equilibrium). Consider the roles of various gases in the absorption and emission of radiant energy at these layers. There is more water and gases in the troposphere so it heats and cools slower than the stratosphere. Because majority of earth’s gases are confined to the troposphere, there are less greenhouse gases to heat the troposphere and keep the temperature steady so it heats and cools rapidly. 12. Explain why clouds composed of relatively small droplets are brighter than those with larger droplets. Clouds with larger droplets transmits more light than they scatter, compared to clouds with smaller droplets. Clouds with smaller droplets scatter much more than they transmit, hence, they are brighter. Clouds with smaller droplets also have larger albedo than ones with large droplets. 13. There exists positive relationship between the ice content of cirrus clouds and their opacity to longwave radiation. How does this relationship help explain the reduction in the diurnal temperature range when contrail frequency is high? Contrails and high clouds both act the same. Contrails reduce the diurnal temp. range by blocking incoming solar radiation during the day, and keeping in terrestrial radiation at night. High clouds like Cirrus do much the same. High contrail content in the atmosphere tends to act much like a day with many cirrus clouds in the sky. 14. How can we write the surface energy balance in terms of energy storage (in the soil or water)? What is the physical meaning of the surface energy balance equation? You write the amount of energy stored (G) by taking the net radiative flux and subtracting the Latent Heat, sensible heat, and ΔF .eo 15. Describe the diurnal cycle in the surface energy budget for the following mid-latitude location in summer. Would you characterize the climate of this location as relatively dry or wet? Why? I would characterize this climate as relatively dry looking at how high the sensible heat is compared to the net radiation. If it was relatively wet, I believe it would be much lower and we’d see a Latent heat term also. 16. Describe 4 effects of the urban environment on the surface energy balance. The urban environment prevents the radiation from escaping back to the atmosphere (the Skyview factor), decreases the latent heat flux, increases sensible heat flux, and increases the absorption of solar radiation. 17. Describe how agricultural development may be affecting surface temps in California’s central valley. Agricultural development in the valley has enhanced the nighttime sensible heat flux at the surface due to increased heat capacity of the vegetation and moist soil. 18. List the processes involved in the global hydrologic cycle and explain how they vary over land compared to over the oceans. The processes in the global hydrologic cycle are evaporation, precipitation, and runoff. Over water, evaporation exceeds precipitation. However, over land, it is the opposite. 19. Using the surface energy budget framework, explain why there is a summertime maximum in precipitation across the Sandhills region that extends from Georgia through the Carolinas. There is an increase in the latent heat which causes upward motion that creates precipitation and thunderstorms in the area. 20. Location A experiences a monthly precipitation maximum in July, while Location B experiences a maximum in February. Assume that both locations, which are in the mid-latitudes of the Northern hemisphere, are at field capacity at the beginning of the year. Using the surface water budget framework, which location is most likely to experience drought conditions by the end of the year? Why? Location B is more likely to experience drought conditions because the max precip is in the winter time, when not as much water is required by the atmosphere. So in the winter it will flood because of this. In the summer, it will be drought because the location cannot meet the atmosphere’s need of water.


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