Chapt3 - Chapter 3 Introduction to the Atmosphere I Size of...

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Chapter 3: Introduction to the Atmosphere I. Size of Earth’s Atmosphere A. air 1. air: a mixture of gases, mainly nitrogen and oxygen 2. pure air is invisible; gases in it are colorless, odorless, and tasteless B. the atmosphere 1. the atmosphere completely surrounds Earth, to which it is held by gravitational attraction, out to 6,000 miles 2. > 50% of mass of atmosphere within 3.8 miles of sea level; 98% within 16 mi. 3. atmosphere extends downward into crevices in rocks and soil II. Composition of the Atmosphere A. Permanent Gases 1. Nitrogen and Oxygen a. nitrogen 1) 78% volume of dry air 2) added by decay and burning of organic matter, volcanic eruptions, and chemical breakdown of certain rocks b. oxygen 1) 21% volume of dry air 2) produced by vegetation c. argon = 0.943% d. trace gases: neon, helium, methane, krypton, hydrogen e. atmospheric concentration does not change f. minimal effect on weather and climate B. Variable Gases sparse but highly variable atmospheric quantities; significant influenc e on weather and climate 1. Water Vapor a. determines humidity of atmosphere b. 0 – 4% of total volume 1) highest in air overlying warm, moist surfaces, such as tropical oceans 2) lowest over deserts and in polar regions 3) listed as a variable gas, but it is variable in location, not in time 4) total amount in atmosphere as a whole remains virtually constant c. significant influence on weather and climate 1) source of all clouds and precipitation 2) storage, movement, and release of heat energy 3) absorbs infrared radiation 2. Carbon Dioxide (CO 2 ) a. 0.038% volume b. concentration increasing , result of increased burning of fossil fuels c. significant influence on weather and climate
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Chapter 3: Introduction to the Atmosphere – p. 2 of 6 1) absorbs infrared radiation 2) increase concentration global climate change 3. Ozone (O 3 ) a. a minor but vital gas b. concentrated in ozone layer (9-30 miles above Earth’s surface) c. absorbs ultraviolet radiation C. Particulates 1. particulates : solid and liquid particles in the atmosphere a. natural sources: volcanic ash, windblown soil, wildfire smoke, salt spray b. human sources: industrial and auto emissions, smoke and soot 2. influence on weather and climate a. hygroscopic : water vapor condenses around them cloud formation b. absorb or reflect sunlight → decrease solar energy reaching earth III. Vertical Structure of the Atmosphere A. Thermal Layers (Fig 3-5) 1. lower portion of the atmosphere is the zone in which most weather phenomena occur
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This note was uploaded on 02/20/2011 for the course ENGR 127 taught by Professor Hunter,eleswarapu,cortez during the Spring '11 term at Rutgers.

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Chapt3 - Chapter 3 Introduction to the Atmosphere I Size of...

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