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ECU - AS 1300 - Class Notes - Week 9

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ECU - AS 1300 - Class Notes - Week 9

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background image Pressure & Wind: Forces on the Atmosphere Newton’s First Law of Motion o “A force is required to make something move”  Pressure- force exerted per unit area due to the weight of the air 
(units of pressure = millibars mb)
o Ex: more water in tank A = more pressure than tank B which has  less water If both tanks were connected the water would travel from 
the higher pressure tank to the lower tank by net force
1.Pressure gradient force- source of all wind Pressure gradient = difference in pressure/distance between points o Wind blows high to low and increases with a larger pressure  gradient o Larger pressure gradient the faster the wind will blow
o On a weather map, pressure gradient is larger where isobars are 
closer together o Vertical pressure gradient force is balanced by gravity
o Faster wind where pressure gradient is larger
       To change the air pressure, change the temperature Warm air – low density (expands/rises)
Cold air – high density (contracts/sinks)
Higher pressure: o Colder air
o Dry (clear skies)
o Dense
Low pressure o warmer air
o humid (clouds)
o less dense “taller”
2.Coriolis Force – air moves in the reference frame of the earth
depends on:
o Earth’s rotation
o Speed of object
o Latitude of object
*the atmosphere is not in a “fixed” frame of reference Pressure & Wind: Forces on the Atmosphere cont. *Isobars represent the air pressure on weather maps
background image Remember: 1. Pressure Gradient Force: H-L
2. Coriolis Force: is effected by the earth’s rotation
Increases with   o earth’s rotation
o faster speed of object
o higher latitude of object
o strongest at the poles, zero at the equator
o all moving objects are deflected by the Coriolis force
o is noticeable for objects that are in motion for a significant 
amount of time it takes for the earth to rotate once o ex: Colorado sized area in the northern hemisphere Pressure gradient force moves air high to low Once air moves Coriolis force takes effect Curves to the right and increases as air speeds up The pressure gradient force and Coriolis force 
become equal and point in opposite positions = air 
moves in straight path at constant speed
Geostrophic wind balance- pressure gradient force = Coriolis force 
(become equal and opposite)
o Also called a Jet stream- low pressure to the left of the motion & high pressure to the right 3. Friction (near the surface this force is also acting) o Slows the wind near the earth’s surface as air collides with trees,  hills, buildings, etc.  o Friction weakens the Coriolis force Low pressure systems spin: o Counterclockwise in northern hemisphere
Clockwise in the southern hemisphere
Extratropical Cyclones: Air masses, fronts, and their weather Convergence – air pushed together and piling up o Clouds and rain near a low (“Cyclone”) Divergence- air spread outward and sinking down o Clear and nice near a high (“anti-cyclone”) Air masses and fronts Air mass- large scale region of air (size of half the US) with similar 
Temperature (Tropical vs Polar)
Humidity (maritime (humid and moist) vs continental (dry)) 
cP- continental polar mT- maritime tropical Front – boundary between air masses

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School: East Carolina University
Department: Atmosphere Sciences
Course: Weather and Climate
Professor: Thomas Rickenbach
Term: Fall 2015
Tags: air, pressure, Fronts, weather, and maps
Name: ATMO/GEOG 1300: Weather & Climate
Description: These notes cover both topics discussed during week 8 and week 9 which covered weather fronts, air pressure, and understanding weather maps
Uploaded: 10/20/2017
6 Pages 45 Views 36 Unlocks
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