Vertical structure of the atmosphere-2011-v2

# Vertical structure of the atmosphere-2011-v2 - Vertical...

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Vertical structure of the atmosphere Introduction to Meteorology Leila Carvalho

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Where is the upper boundary of the atmosphere?
Well… There is no definite answer to this question. What happens is that air becomes thinner at higher altitudes. At an altitude of 16 km (10mi) the density of the air is only about 10% of that at the sea level and at 50km is only about 1% of that at the sea level At 100km (60mi) 99.99997 % of the atmosphere is below this height Most of the “action” or the “weather” that affects surface occurs below ~ 12km, the region we call troposphere ( Greek "tropos" for "turning" or "mixing“)

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How can we explain these differences in density ? Answer: GRAVITY FORCE! F G = Gravitational force mg r mGM F E G = = 2 The ME mass of the Earth = 5.98*10 24 kg G=gravitational constant=6.67x10 -11 Nm 2 kg 2
Now we can define atmospheric pressure Definition: is defined as the force per unit area exerted against a surface by the weight of the air molecules above that surface. Unities: millibar (USA) or hPa (hectopascals used in scientific publications = 100N/m 2 ) P2 P1 P1 > P2

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The basics to understand winds is to keep in mind that… Wind is air in movement Air always move from high to low pressure regions That is why we plot maps with lines with same pressure at surface (isobars) to localize where regions with high and low pressure exist High pressure (H) High pressure (H) Low pressure (L) Low pressure (L)
Training concepts: Arrows represent winds and colors temperature (F). Try to identify patterns of sea level pressure (relatively high and low pressure systems)

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These are surface analysis for Jan 05/2011 – solid yellow lines: isobars (lines with the same sea level pressure) DBZ- radar reflectivity – related to precipitation L – Low pressure systems H- High pressure systems
Vertical structure of the atmosphere

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First intriguing question: Why does temperature decrease with height in the troposphere and not the other way around??
The reason is… The atmosphere is relatively transparent to most types of radiant energy emitted by the Sun – which means that the direct sun radiation (mostly VIS and UV) does not contribute to the warming The solar radiation does warm the Earth does warm the Earth surface surface (it is absorbed by the earth) The emanating energy (or radiation) from from the earth surface warms the atmosphere the earth surface warms the atmosphere (and I am sure you remember why!)

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GASES!!! UV, VIS
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## This note was uploaded on 12/28/2011 for the course GEOG 110 taught by Professor Leila during the Fall '09 term at UCSB.

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Vertical structure of the atmosphere-2011-v2 - Vertical...

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