The atmosphere

The atmosphere

The atmosphere The atmosphere is a mixture of gases and aerosols that surround the the earth These gases and aerosol particles all play an important role: Oxygen (O2) - we need to breathe to survive Ozone - Blocks harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun Water Vapor (H2O) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) help trap energy so the earth isnt too cold Some aerosols serve as the nucleus for clouds to form Green Rhino Energy

The atmosphere is in various distinct layers The layer that is most relevant to weather and climate is the troposphere, this is level at which life inhabits The density of the atmosphere decreases with height Z (height,meters) Z=0 (surface) 1 meter =39.37 inches Density Density is the amount of particles per volume (particle density) or we

can define it the amount of mass per volume (mass density) Density is measured in kg/m3 Consider a box full of particles: The box has a volume, you fit stuff inside it. Low density, small amount of particles in volume High density,large amount of particles in volume Pressure & Temperature Pressure is force per unit area, i.e. if I push a box, my hands are causing a force on the surface of the box, my hands apply a pressure to the surface of the box

If we put gas particles into a box, the particles would exert some outward pushing out on box because the particles bump into it. This is measured as pressure The fundamental units for pressure is: Force/Area=Newtons/m2=Pascals=Pa The pressure at the Earths surface is 1000 hPa (100,000 Pa), it is literally the weight of all the air above you Temperature Temperature is a measure of the average speed of these particles. Faster particles means hot, whereas slow particles are cold Temperature is measured in Fahrenheit (F), Celsius

(C), or most of the times in science, Kelvin (K) The ideal gas law You could imagine, if we increased the density within the box (more particles), the particles bump into the walls more (increase in pressure) You could also imagine if we kept the number of particles in the box the same and increase their speed (higher temperature), they would bump into the walls of the box harder (increase in pressure) We can quantify this using the ideal gas law = Pressure

density temperature Air constant for dry air= 287 j/(kg*K) From this information, what happens to pressure in the atmosphere as we go up in height? Density Profile of the Atmosphere Surface pressure observations are reduced to sea level to remove the effects of elevation

Average mean sea-level pressure = 1013.25 hPa Pressure decreases faster near the surface, less so aloft due to higher density near surface (slide provided by Katie Towey) Seasonality The sun is the main driver of atmospheric motion The sun delivers energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation (light) generated

by nuclear fusion Light from the sun showers half the earth on the day side, while the other side of the earth experiences night The earth revolves around the sun in an orbit The earth also rotates on its axis, hence why we have days Wikipedia (Hartmann, Global Physical Climatology)

The earths axis of rotation is not straight up and aligned with its orbit however The earth rotates on a tilted axis, which gives rise to seasons For the hemisphere that is experiencing summer, the earths rotation axis is pointed towards the sun For the hemisphere experiencing winter the earths rotation axis is pointed away from the sun When its summer in one hemisphere it is winter in the other and vice versa

( Because the amount of energy a hemisphere received is very different depending on summer and winter, winter and summer are drastically different: Summer Winter Temperature Hot Cold

Weather disturbances Pop-up convective systems, extratropical cyclones, hurricanes, cold spells Heat Waves, Extratropical cyclones Precipitation Rain, Hail Rain, Hail, Snow, sleet

Storminess Not as stormy Most stormy Jet Stream Strength Weakest Strongest

Equator to Pole Temperature Gradient Low High

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