Topic_4____Earths_Atmosphere_I - Topic 4: Earth's...

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Topic 4: Earth's Atmosphere I Atmosphere Structure and Composition A. What is the atmosphere? a. Outermost layer of the Earth b. Comprised of gas, turbulently flowing, held in by gravity c. Formed by outgassing of the Earth’s interior, since modified by many Earth system processes d. Compared to the lithosphere and hydrosphere, the atmosphere is more rapidly changing and dynamic e. Basic atmospheric variables i. Solar energy – sunshine is the major energy source for atmospheric and Earth surface processes ii. Humidity and precipitation (moisture) iii. Winds – governed by atmospheric pressure differences Summary B. Importance of the atmosphere a. Climate, weather governed by atmospheric processes (Weather vs. climate) b. Small amount of water, huge role in hydrologic cycle c. Highly sensitive to pollution d. Pollution transported across international borders via atmosphere e. Protects us: UV radiation; Meteors; Temperature moderation f. Diffuses and redistributes heat – controls climate and hydrologic cycle
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Topic_4____Earths_Atmosphere_I - Topic 4: Earth's...

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