AVSC 1010 Lecture 7 - Lecture 7 The Weather The atmosphere...

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Lecture 7 The Weather The atmosphere is crucial for life on Earth. All life depends on the atmosphere to filter harmful radiation and allow the rays of the sun through to provide the Earth with energy. The atmosphere also contains water, in various forms, and makes movement of that water possible to enable life on the Earth's landmasses. When you look at the sky, what do you see? You may see some clouds. You may see airborne dusts or pollutants mixed with water vapor in the form of smog. You may see what you think is nothing. Actually, the atmosphere is made up of gaseous fluids, which react to the forces applied to them. There is no distinct dividing line between these gases and space, but they increase in density and mass the closer they are to the Earth's surface, due to the effects of gravity. It is a good idea to think of the atmosphere as an ocean of air. The weather is the most important safety consideration for any aerospace activitiy, whether it be the flight of a small glider or the launch of the Space Shuttle. Weather information and the knowledge to use this information is crucial in predicting the changing conditions of the Earth's atmosphere. The Earth's weather is made up of thousands of variables caused by a small number changes which we can observe. The original large computers designed and produced in the 1940's were built to predict weather. Scientists felt that if enough observed data could be put into computers that weather predicting would become easy. Although scientists were able to refine the process of weather forecasting through computer data crunching, they have never been able to forecast with good reliability beyond 72 hours. Forecasting the Weather Weather forecasting is the science and art of predicting changes in the Earth's weather patterns before they occur in specific places or regions. Weather forecasting has always been a very important task, from ancient times to the present. Floods, droughts, and severe weather have always brought death and destruction to mankind. In ancient days, temple priests offered sacrifice to bring rain, and used a variety of unusual devices to predict the weather. The priests used observations of animal entrails, and watched the movements of birds to attempt to predict weather. Their accuracy was important but not guaranteed. Entire societies rose and fell based on whether the rains fell or not. Even just a hundred years ago, many local sages in America interpreted the weather based on the observation of beetles, barn animals, and activity of the Northern Lights. Many of the predictions could be accurate in predicting a coming thunderstorm, but were rarely accurate more than a few hours in advance. Scientists believe that many animals are more sensitive to the changing atmospheric pressure that comes before a severe storm and that these animals show this in unusual behavior. Only in this century has weather forecasting become an accurate science. Weather
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This note was uploaded on 09/04/2011 for the course AVSC 1010 taught by Professor Green during the Fall '11 term at Utah Valley University.

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AVSC 1010 Lecture 7 - Lecture 7 The Weather The atmosphere...

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