GPH 212, Week 1 Notes
GPH 212, Week 1 Notes GPH 212
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Sheridan Smede on Saturday August 20, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to GPH 212 at Arizona State University taught by Matei Georgescu in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 53 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Meteorology in Physical Geography at Arizona State University.
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Date Created: 08/20/16
GPH 212 Week 1 08.22.2016 ● Every class will begin with the following information provided: ○ Office: COOR 5578 ○ Office hours: Monday and Wednesday from 4:30 PM 5:30 PM ○ Suggested text: Understanding Weather and Climate (Aguado and Burt: 6/7th Edition) ● Course Objective ○ This course outlines physical processes responsible for the spatial and temporal variability in Earth’s weather ○ Will begin with and introduction of energy and mass ○ Atmospheric moisture ○ Implications for the formation of disturbances ■ Midlatitude cyclones, hurricanes, etc. ○ Class will begin with a dialog of weather across the U.S. ● Grading ○ Based on 4 exams ■ 3 exams and a final exam ○ Several weather forecasting contests (extra credit) ○ Exams are cumulative ○ Multiple choice and true/false ○ Each exam is 20% of the grade ○ Final exam is 40% of the grade ● Course Policies ○ Attendance and participation not required, but suggested ○ 24 hours after missing an exam, you’ll receive a zero 08.24.2016 ● The atmosphere ○ Mixture of gas molecules ■ Small suspended particles of solid and liquid and falling precipitation ● Meteorology ○ Study of atmosphere ○ The process we call “weather” ○ Weather shortterm ○ Climate longterm ○ Basically everything you “see in the sky” ○ We are interested in the mechanisms of weather, not just the way it looks or feels ■ Not “it is hot today”, but what are the processes that led to it being hot? ● Climatology ○ Long term study of the atmosphere ○ Statistics key element of climate (average temperature, frequency of extreme heat, etc.) ○ Not just about averages, but the deviation from the average ○ Climatology is about the variability of climate ● Where is the distinction between climate and weather? ○ Literal definition: A process becomes climatic if it lasts 30 years or longer ○ In this class: Weather typically lasts less than a week ■ Very much shortterm ○ Over longer periods of time ○ Climate begs the question: “What leads to variability?” ● Earth System PHOTO ○ Atmosphere ■ The way that air moves (atmospheric motion) ■ Incoming amount of solar radiation ■ How air is received and reemitted ■ Regulation and transfer of material (plant cycle) ■ Atmosphere is not unaffected by what goes on below the surface ■ Changes in parts of the earth will still affect the atmosphere ■ External forcing mechanisms ● These are the nonnatural forces on earth (a sauna, for example) ● Human activities it all boils down to our use of energy ○ Unsustainable ○ Climate has a natural variability (depends on many things) ○ Anthropogenic climate change ■ Correct term for human effect on planet evolution ■ Refer to video: http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/sci ence/earthsci/climateweathersci/ ■ Air quality ■ Droughts ● Crop failure ○ Increase in cost of produce ■ Everything is interrelated ■ Aviation perspective when a haboob arrives ● Cannot see ● Creates problem for pilots ● Strong winds ■ Volcanoes modify temperature of air rising from earth ● Volcanoes emit sulfates, solid particles, etc. ○ Strength of eruption determines how high they go ○ Residence time (time spent in atmosphere) will be shorter the less intense the explosion is ○ Lithosphere ○ Biosphere ○ Hydrosphere ○ Stratosphere ■ Very stable ■ Particles emitted into stratosphere stay for a very long time ■ Mount Pinatubo particles stayed in stratosphere for several years ● Made the regions nearby cool down ● Particles from volcano prevent solar radiation reaching surface ● Between 1980 and 2010 99 disasters occurred ○ $700B in damage ● Invention of air conditioner ○ Phoenix population skyrockets ○ Deserts are fastest growing urban areas in the world ○ Humans are adaptable ● Thickness of the atmosphere ○ Atmosphere density decreases rapidly with height ○ Top of the atmosphere is undefined ○ Majority of atmospheric mass is contained in thin layer near earth’s surface ○ Atmosphere contains impressive sum of mass ○ Atmosphere characterized differently by different scientific domains ● “Where does the atmosphere end?” ○ There is no actual end ○ Goes toward zero ○ Meteorological perspective: atmosphere is not infinite ○ Top of atmosphere is “undefined” ● Vertical structure of atmosphere ○ Thermal layers of the atmosphere ■ 4 distinct layers based on average temperature and how temperature changes as one moves vertically ■ Starting from the bottom: ● Troposphere: where most of the action happens ● Tropo (Greek root) means “turning” ● Lowest layer ● Region promotes atmospheric overturning (always in movement both vertical and horizontal) ● Layer of almost all weather processes ● Warmed at surface by solar radiation ● Steady temperature decrease with height ● Thinnest layer but contains 80% of atmosphere’s mass ● Thermal expansion ○ Tropopause is 16 km over the tropics, but only 8 km at poles ● Atmosphere is quite transparent to incoming solar radiation ○ An open porous medium for solar radiation to traverse through ● This is where most clouds exist ○ Sometimes, violent updrafts penetrate cloud tops into stratosphere ● Stratosphere: area of little weather and temperature increases with height ● Contains 20% of all atmospheric mass ● Why does temperature increase instead of decrease like troposphere? ● Inversion (increasing temperature with height) is caused by absorption of ultraviolet radiation by ozone ● Ozone exists through an altitude between 2030 km ● Mesosphere temperature decreases with height ● Coldest atmospheric layer (5080 km above surface) ● Thermosphere uppermost layer, slowly merges with interplanetary space ● Increasing temperatures with height ○ Temperature approaches 1500 Celsius ● Both mesosphere and thermosphere combined account for 0.1% of total atmospheric mass ○ These spheres are not so relevant to our class, we will focus on bottom 2 layers ● Permanent Gases ○ N2, O2, Ar, Ne, He, Kr, Xe, H2 ○ Nitrogen makes up most of our atmosphere ● Variable Gases ○ H2O is water vapor ■ Most important variable gas ■ Clouds, rain, snow, irrigating crops, having food to eat ○ CO2 is carbon dioxide ■ We put more of this in the atmosphere everyday, which means it is constantly changing and is variable ○ O3 is ozone ■ Harmful to humans, an irritant to the lungs ■ The TwoFace of meteorology ● Has both positive and negative effects ● In stratosphere: good ● In troposphere: bad
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