Atoc 210 - Atoc 210 Chapter 1 The Earth and its Atmosphere...

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Atoc 210 Chapter 1: The Earth and its Atmosphere 1. Gases in Earth's atmosphere 2. Vertical structure of atmospheric pressure & temperature Importance of our Atmosphere - We are always affected by the atmosphere - Many natural disasters are linked with the atmosphere - There is concern that our climate is changing Weather, climate and the atmosphere - Weather is part of everyday life o Mark Twain on spring weather in New England: "I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside four hours and twenty" o Weather has influenced historical events, e.g., Napoleon's defeat in Russia and the fall of ancient civilizations o Meteorology is the study of the atmosphere o Climate is the weather conditions at a certain location averaged over a specified time period (e.g., winter climate over Quebec), and their departure from long-term averages o Climatology is the study of climate, its controls and variability - Atmosphere is a thin envelope of gases and tiny particles that surround Earth o 99% of atmosphere's mass is confined to a layer of thickness ¼ % of the earth's diameter; atmosphere around Earth is thus thin, like the peel of an apple o atmosphere is essential for life: contains oxygen and carbon dioxide for life sustaining processes, supplies water and shields life from harmful ultraviolet radiation from Sun History of Meteorology - Aristotle around 340 B.C. o book on natural philosophy called Meteorologica o word ‘meteor’ referred to any particles from sky - Genuine science with weather instruments o 1643 barometer, 1700 humidity, 1843 telegraph, 1869 weather maps, 1920 fronts and air masses, 1940s daily upper air measurements, 1950s computers for calculations, 1945 radars used to observe precipitation, 1960 first weather satellite, 1990s Doppler radars, 1990s other sophisticated instruments Weather Maps - Weather maps show highs (H) and lows (L), fronts and different meteorological variables - Surface highs (H) are fair weather systems, winds around a high blow clockwise and spiral outward
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- Surface lows (L) are stormy weather systems, winds around a low blow counterclockwise and spiral inward - Highs and lows generally move from west to east across North America - Fronts are narrow zones which divide air masses of different temperature and humidity, depicted as imaginary lines on weather maps - Meteorological variables on a weather map include o maximum and minimum temperature o dew point and relative humidity (relates to moisture content of air) o precipitation amounts o type of precipitation o surface air pressure - Surface air pressure is proportional to weight of column of air over a unit area at Earth's surface - Units of pressure are force/unit area imperial units: pounds/in 2 metric units: Pascals (mass in kg and area in m 2 ) - Pressure is often measured in millibars (mb) [1 Pa = 0.01 mb] o an inflated automobile tire has a pressure of about 30 pounds/in 2 o surface air pressure is about 14.7 pounds/in
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Atoc 210 - Atoc 210 Chapter 1 The Earth and its Atmosphere...

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