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ATMO 170A Class Notes Week 1

by: Savannah Way

ATMO 170A Class Notes Week 1 ATMO 170 A1

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Savannah Way

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About this Document

Notes cover Earth, impurities, vertical structures of the atmosphere, and meteorology.
Intro to Weather and Climate
Dr. Mullen
Class Notes
weather, climate, Meterology
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Savannah Way on Thursday October 6, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ATMO 170 A1 at University of Arizona taught by Dr. Mullen in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 2 views.


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Date Created: 10/06/16
WEEK 1 (2-27; 483-485; 489; questions for review 01: 3, 4, 10, 14, 18, 19, 22, 23) EARTH  the earth’s temperature maintains an average temperature of 15C; low as -85C and high of 50C  atmosphere is made of nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor, carbon dioxide  earth’s first atmosphere likely hydrogen and helium, as well as methane, ammonia second atmosphere: denser, molten rock from volcanoes and steam vents outgassing: constant outpouring of gases from the hot interior  water vapor created the lakes, rivers, oceans  carbon dioxide created rocks such as limestone oxygen: second most abundant gas in the atmosphere photosynthesis: in the presence of sunlight, combined with carbon dioxide and water to produce oxygen and plant life Air: Nitrogen 78%, Oxygen 21% Water vapor: concentration of gas Condensation: changing of water vapor into liquid water Evaporation: changing of liquid water into water vapor  Water is the only substance that exists as a gas, liquid, and a solid at temperatures and pressures normally found near the earth’s surface Precipitation: water vapor growing in size and falling to the earth from clouds also releasing large amounts of heat called latent heat Latent heat: important source of atmospheric energy, storms, thunderstorms, hurricanes  Water vapor is a potent greenhouse gas because it strongly absorbs a portion of the earths outgoing radiant energy Greenhouse effect: trapping of heat energy close to the earth’s surface; methane, nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons  Carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere mainly from the decay of vegetation, volcanic eruptions, exhalations, burning of fossil fuels, and deforestation; removed from air through photosynthesis; entering the atmosphere at a greater rate than it is being removed; increased more than 40% since 1800’s, greenhouse gas Chemical weathering: rain and snow can react with silicate minerals in rocks and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere Ozone: primary ingredient of photochemical smog, 97% found in the stratosphere, protects life forms from ultraviolet rays Ozone hole: decreased ozone levels over Antarctica IMPURITIES Aerosols: tiny solid or liquid suspended particles of various compositions Pollutants: human-made impurities  Over 75 percent of carbon monoxide in urban areas comes from cars  Coal and oil release sulfur gases into the air Acid rain: rain containing sulfuric acid corrodes metals and painted surfaces, turns freshwater lakes acidic Particulate matter: solid particles and liquid droplets that are small enough to remain suspended in the air BRIEF REVIEW  The earth’s atmosphere is a mixture of many gases. In a volume of dry air near the surface, nitrogen (N2) occupies about 78 percent and oxygen (O2) about 21 percent.  Water vapor, which normally occupies less than 4 percent in a volume of air near the surface, can condense into liquid cloud droplets or transform into delicate ice crystals. Water is the only substance in our atmosphere that is found naturally as a gas (water vapor), as a liquid (water), and as a solid (ice).  Both water vapor and carbon dioxide (CO2) are important greenhouse gases.  Ozone (O3) in the stratosphere protects life from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. At the surface, ozone is the main ingredient of photochemical smog.  The majority of water on our planet is believed to have come from its hot interior through outgassing, although some of the earth’s water may have come from collisions with meteors and comets. VERTICAL STRUCTURE OF THE ATMOSPHERE Air density: number of air molecules in a given space (volume), greatest at the surface and decreases up into the atmosphere Atmospheric pressure: air pressure, amount of force exerted over an area of surface Lapse rate: rate at which the air temperature decreases with height Temperature inversion: temperature actually increasing with height  The inversion region, along with the lower isothermal layer, tends to keep the vertical currents of the troposphere from spreading into the stratosphere. Radiosonde: small, lightweight box equipped with weather instruments and a radio transmitter to detect the vertical distribution of temperature, pressure, and humidity Troposphere: region of circulating air extending upward from the earth’s surface to where the air stops becoming colder with height Isothermal: air temperature remains constant with height Tropopause: boundary separating the troposphere from the stratosphere  Mesosphere: air is extremely thin and the atmospheric pressure is low Hypoxia is the starvation of oxygen to the brain at this level Thermosphere: oxygen molecules absorb energetic solar Every Tree Must rays, warming the air; few atoms and molecules; Stand Tall high temperatures Exosphere: region where atoms escape the earth’s gravitational pull, region where atoms and molecules shoot off into space Homosphere: below the thermosphere, the composition of air turbulent is mixed (troposphere to mesosphere) Heterosphere: region from about the base of the thermosphere to the top of the atmosphere (mesosphere to exosphere) Ionosphere: not a real layer, but rather an electrified region within the upper atmosphere where fairly large concentrations of ions and free electrons exist BRIEF REVIEW  Atmospheric pressure at any level represents the total mass of air above that level, and atmospheric pressure always decreases with increasing height above the surface.  The rate at which the air temperature decreases with height is called the lapse rate.  A measured increase in air temperature with height is called an inversion.  The atmosphere may be divided into layers (or regions) according to its vertical profile of temperature, its gaseous composition, or its electrical properties.  The warmest atmospheric layer is the thermosphere; the coldest is the mesosphere. Most of the gas ozone is found in the stratosphere.  We live at the bottom of the troposphere, which is an atmospheric layer where the air temperature normally decreases with height. The troposphere is a region that contains all of the weather we are familiar with.  The ionosphere is an electrified region of the upper atmosphere that contains large numbers of ions and free electrons. WEATHER AND CLIMATE Weather Elements: Air temperature: the degree of hotness or coldness of the air Air pressure: the force of the air above an area Humidity: a measure of the amount of water vapor in the air Clouds: a visible mass of tiny water droplets and/or ice crystals that are above the earth’s surface Precipitation: any form of water, either liquid or solid, that falls from clouds and reaches the ground Visibility: the greatest distance one can see Wind: the horizontal movement of air Climate: average weather; accumulation of daily and seasonal weather events over a long period of time (rain in Seattle); over thousands of years, climate is constantly changing (ice caps) METEOROLOGY- THE STUDY OF THE ATMOSPHERE Meteorology: term dates back to Greek philosopher, Aristotle who, in 340 BC wrote a book entitled > Meteorologica: knowledge on weather and climate at the time, astronomy, geography, and chemistry  All things that fell from the sky were called meteoros meaning “high in the air”, hence meteorology Barometer: measures air pressure; 1643 Hygrometer: measures humidity; late 1700’s Isobars: lines of equal pressure, added to maps in 1869 to understand wind flow and storm movement Numerical models: 1950’s; mathematical equations that describe the behavior of the atmosphere into software (numerical weather predictions) Doppler radars: 1990’s after WWII, ability to peer into severe thunderstorms and unveil its wind and precipitation intensity Tiros 1: first weather satellite; used my weather men; 1960  Clouds appear white because sunlight is reflected back to space from their tops Middle-latitude cyclone storm system forms outside the tropics and in the northern hemisphere, has winds spinning counterclockwise about its center Hurricane: slightly small but more vigorous storm Cumulus clouds: puffy clouds that sometimes look like piece s of floating cotton; grow into thunderstorms with lightning, heavy rain, and strong winds Tornados: intense rotating column of air that usually extends downward from the base of a thunderstorm with a circulation that reaches the ground (twister, cyclone) WEATHER MAP Red Letter L indicates a region of low atmospheric pressure, low (warm) Blue Letter H represents regions of high atmospheric pressure, highs or anticyclones (cold) WIND is the horizontal movement of air Wind direction: the direction from which the wind is blowing Wind speed: the rate at which the air is moving past a stationary observer Front: boundary separating the warm and cool air that appears as a heavy, colored line on the map; across which there is a sharp change in temperature, humidity, and wind direction  cold front in blue, warm front in red  occluded front: where the cold air has caught up to the warm front in purple WEATHER AND CLIMATE IN OUR LIVES Frostbite or hypothermia: rapid, progressive mental and physical collapse that accompanies lowering of human body temperature Heat exhaustion or heatstroke: bodies become overheated  Chinook wind is a warm, dry wind blowing downslope affects behavior (irritable or depressed)  Santa Ana are dry, hot, downslope winds in Southern Cali can turn burning dry vegetation into a firestorm Flash floods: small streams that become raging rivers composed of mud and sand entangled with uprooted plants and trees Wind shear: rapid change in wind speed and/or wind direction resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people in airline crashes  Estimated $10 billion in property damage occurs annually CHARTS AND REFERENCE PAGE


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