unit3 - UNIT 3 The Atmospheric Circulation System Learning...

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The Atmospheric Circulation System Learning Objectives Know the structure and the physical interpretation of various atmospheric circulation systems and weather phenomena. Know why solar radiation decreases with latitude. Know the major characteristics of atmospheric circulation, why they occur, and how they affect the transport of energy and material around the globe. Know what buoyancy is and how it is controlled. Know why the incoming solar energy varies with latitude and season. Understand Hadley circulation. Know what the Coriolis Effect is. Understand why Earth experiences different seasons throughout the year. Understand the concepts of thermal conductivity and heat capacity. Know how water vapor and clouds play a dominant role in global energy. Understand what controls the locations of deserts. Review Questions 1.) What are the functions of the global circulatory system? The driving force for the atmospheric circulation is the global distribution of energy. The angle at which the Sun’s rays strike the Earth changes from the equator toward the poles. The result is that incoming solar radiation decreases with latitude. More solar radiation is received in the tropics than at the poles, resulting in an equator-to-pole temperature gradient. This temperature gradient drives the atmospheric circulation because of the inverse relationship between the temperature and the density of a gas: higher temperatures correspond to lower densities. Differences in the distribution of global temperatures cause differences in air density and, therefore, pressure. Air tends to move from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure. These large-scale movements of air produce the global windbelts. These windbelts are significantly modified by the Coriolis Effect, which is caused by the Earth’s rotation. move to the higher latitude, and incoming solar flux thus decreases from the equator toward the poles. 2.) 25 U N I T 3
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a. Draw a graph showing the variation of incoming solar energy and outgoing infrared radiation with latitude. Figure 4-2 from main textbook b. Indicate the regions of energy surplus and energy deficit. There is a surplus of energy in the tropics, where incoming radiation is greater than outgoing radiation, and a deficit at high latitudes, where more radiation is emitted than is received. c. Explain why this distribution is important for the atmospheric circulation. The latitudinal energy gradient produces atmospheric temperature and density differences that force the atmosphere to circulate, carrying warmer air toward the poles and colder air toward the equator. These circulations move energy from regions where there is a surplus to regions where there is a deficit. 3.)
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unit3 - UNIT 3 The Atmospheric Circulation System Learning...

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