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GPH 212, Week 1 Notes

by: Sheridan Smede

GPH 212, Week 1 Notes GPH 212

Sheridan Smede
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About this Document

These notes cover the two lectures during our first week of class.
Introduction to Meteorology
Matei Georgescu
Class Notes
Meteorology, gph, gph212, gph214, gph213, georgescu, mateigeoregscu, introtometeorology, introductiontometeorology, Climatology, geography




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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: 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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