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Weather and Climate Weather and Climate

Weather Elements of weather and climate

Weather is over a short period of time Properties that are measured regularly
Constantly changing Most important elements
Climate Temperature
Climate is over a long period of time
Generalized, composite of weather Precipitation
Air pressure
Winds speed and direction

Composition of the Atmosphere Composition of the Atmosphere

Air is a mixture of discrete gases

Major components of clean, dry air
Nitrogen (N) 78 percent
Oxygen (O2) 21 percent
Argon and other gases
Carbon dioxide (CO2) 0.0397 percent absorbs
heat energy from Earth


Air Pressure and Altitude Structure of the Atmosphere

Bottom layer
Temperature decreases with altitude called the
environmental lapse rate
6.5C per kilometer (average)
3.5F per 1000 feet (average)
Thickness varies average height is 12 km
Pressure is the Outer boundary is named the tropopause
weight of the air

Structure of the Atmosphere Structure of the Atmosphere

Stratosphere Ozone Layer

About 12 km to 50 km Three atoms of oxygen (O3)
Temperature increases at top Distribution not uniform
Concentrated between 10 to 50 kilometers above the
Outer boundary is named the stratopause surface
Consists of the Ozone layer Absorbs harmful UV radiation
Human activity is depleting ozone by adding
chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)


Antarctic Ozone Hole

Structure of the Atmosphere
About 50 km to 80 km
Temperature decreases
Outer boundary is named the mesopause

Structure of the Atmosphere Atmospheric Layers

No well-defined upper limit
Fraction of atmospheres mass
Gases moving at high speeds


Earth-Sun Relations Relationship of Sun Angle and Solar Radiation

Earth motions
Rotates on its axis
Revolves around the Sun
Result of
Changing Sun angle
Changing length of daylight

Changing Sun Angle Seasons

Caused by Earths changing orientation to the Sun
Axis is inclined 23
Axis is always pointed in the same direction


Seasons Seasons

Special days (Northern Hemisphere) Autumnal equinox

Summer solstice September 2223
June 2122 Suns vertical rays are located at the Equator (0
Suns vertical rays are located at the Tropic of Cancer latitude)
(23 N latitude)
Winter solstice
Spring (Vernal) equinox
December 2122
Suns vertical rays are located at the Tropic of Capricorn
March 2122
(23 S latitude) Suns vertical rays are located at the Equator (0

Seasons Atmospheric Heating

Heat is always transferred from warmer to

cooler objects
Mechanisms of heat transfer
Conduction through molecular activity
Mass movement within a substance
Usually vertical motions
Radiation (electromagnetic radiation)
Velocity: 300,000 kilometers (186,000 miles) per
second in a vacuum


Mechanisms of Heat Transfer Atmospheric Heating

Mechanisms of heat transfer

Radiation (electromagnetic radiation)
Consists of different wavelengths
Gamma (very short waves)
Ultraviolet (UV)
Microwaves and radio waves

The Electromagnetic Spectrum Atmospheric Heating

Incoming solar radiation

Atmosphere is largely transparent to incoming
solar radiation
Atmospheric effects
Reflection albedo (percent reflected)
Most visible radiation reaches the surface
About 50 percent absorbed at Earths surface


Average Distribution of Incoming Solar Radiation


Atmospheric Heating Greenhouse Effect

Heating of the atmosphere is termed the

greenhouse effect


Controls of Temperature Differential Heating of Land and Water

Land and water

Land heats more rapidly and to higher
temperatures than water
Water has high specific heat

Controls of Temperature Controls of Temperature

Altitude higher altitudes have lower temperatures Cloud cover and albedo
Clouds have high albedo
Clouds cool air during the day, keep heat in at night


Temperature Measurement Changes of State of Water

Human perception of temperature Heat energy

Anything that influences the rate of heat loss from Measured in calories one calorie is the heat
the body also influences the sensation of necessary to raise the temperature of one gram of
temperature water one degree Celsius
Important factors are
Air temperature
Relative humidity
Wind speed

Changes of State of Water Changes of State of Water

Three states of matter

To change state, heat must be
Absorbed, or


Changes of State of Water Changes of State of Water

Processes Processes
Evaporation Melting
Liquid is changed to gas Solid is changed to a liquid
600 calories per gram of water are added called 80 calories per gram of water are added called
latent heat of vaporization latent heat of melting
Condensation Freezing
Water vapor (gas) is changed to a liquid Liquid is changed to a solid
Heat energy is released called latent heat of Heat is released called latent heat of fusion

Changes of State of Water Humidity

Processes Amount of water vapor in the air

Sublimation Saturated air is air that is filled with water
Solid is changed directly to a gas (e.g., ice cubes vapor to capacity
shrinking in a freezer) Capacity is temperature dependent warm
680 calories per gram of water are added air has a much greater capacity
Water vapor (gas) changed to a solid (e.g., frost in a
freezer compartment)
Heat is released


Humidity Humidity
Measuring humidity
Relative humidity
Relative humidity 2. Changing the air temperature
Ratio of the airs actual water vapor content compared Lowering the temperature raises the relative humidity
with the amount of water vapor required for saturation
at that temperature (and pressure)
Expressed as a percent
Saturated air
Content equals capacity
Has a 100 percent relative humidity
Relative humidity can be changed in two ways
1. Add or subtract moisture to the air
Adding moisture raises the relative humidity
Removing moisture lowers the relative humidity

Daily Variations in Temperature and Relative Humidity

Dew point temperature
Temperature to which a parcel of air would need
to be cooled to reach saturation
Cooling the air below the dew point causes
e.g., dew, fog, or cloud formation
Water vapor requires a surface
on which to condense


Humidity Hygrometers

Relative humidity Psychrometer compares temperatures of

Two types of hygrometers are used to measure wet-bulb thermometer and dry-bulb
humidity thermometer
If the air is saturated (100 percent relative humidity) then
both thermometers read the same temperature
The greater the difference between the thermometer
readings, the lower the relative humidity
Hair hygrometer reads the humidity directly

A Sling Psychrometer
Hair Hygrometer


Condensation and Cloud Formation Condensation and Cloud Formation

Condensation Clouds
Water vapor in the air changes to a liquid and Made of millions and millions of
forms dew, fog, or clouds Minute water droplets, or
Water vapor requires a surface to condense on Tiny crystals of ice
Possible condensation surfaces on the ground can be
the grass, a car window, etc. Classification based on
Possible condensation surfaces in the atmosphere are Form (three basic forms)
called condensation nuclei Cirrus high, white, thin
Dust, smoke, etc Cumulus globular cloud masses often associated with
Ocean salt crystals which serve as hygroscopic (water- fair weather
seeking) nuclei Stratus sheets or layers that cover much of the sky

Condensation and Cloud Formation Condensation and Cloud Formation

Classification based on Classification based

Height on
High clouds above 6000 meters Height
Types include cirrus, cirrostratus, cirrocumulus Clouds of vertical
Middle clouds 2000 to 6000 meters development
Types include altostratus and altocumulus From low to high
Low clouds below 2000 meters altitudes
Types include stratus, stratocumulus, and nimbostratus Called cumulonimbus
(nimbus means rainy) Often produce rain
showers and


Classification of Clouds According to Height and Fog

Considered an atmospheric hazard
Cloud with its base at or near the ground
Most fogs form because of
Radiation cooling, or
Movement of air over a cold surface

Advection Fog Steam Fog

Warm, moist air moves Cool air moves over warm water
over a cool surface and moisture is added to the air.
Water has a steaming appearance.


Precipitation Particle Sizes Involved in Condensation and

Cloud droplets
Less than 20 micrometers (0.02 millimeter) in
Fall incredibly slow
Formation of precipitation
Bergeron process
Temperature in the cloud is below freezing
Ice crystals collect water vapor
Large snowflakes form and fall to the ground or melt
during descent and fall as rain

The Bergeron Process Precipitation

Formation of precipitation
Collision-coalescence process
Warm clouds
Large hygroscopic condensation nuclei
Large droplets form
Droplets collide with other droplets during their
Common in the tropics`


The Collision-Coalescence Process Precipitation

Rain and drizzle

Rain droplets have at least a 0.5 mm diameter
Drizzle droplets have less than a 0.5 mm
Snow ice crystals, or aggregates of ice


Wintertime phenomenon
Small particles of ice
Occurs when
Warmer air overlies colder air
Rain freezes as it falls

Snow crystals
under the


Precipitation Precipitation

Glaze, or freezing rain impact with a solid causes freezing Hail

Hard rounded pellets
Concentric shells
Most diameters range from 1 to 5 cm
Occurs in large cumulonimbus clouds with violent
up- and downdrafts
Layers of freezing rain are caught in up- and
downdrafts in the cloud
Pellets fall to the ground when they become too

Hail Precipitation

Forms on cold surfaces
Freezing of
Supercooled fog, or
Cloud droplets


Precipitation The Standard Rain Gauge

Measuring precipitation
Easiest form to measure
Measuring instruments
Standard rain gauge
Uses a funnel to collect and conduct rain
Cylindrical measuring tube measures rainfall in
centimeters or inches