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  • 1. “ Atmosphere”
  • 2. Vocabulary
    • Ozone
    • Troposphere
    • Stratosphere
    • Mesosphere
    • Thermosphere
    • Exosphere
    • Radiation
    • Conduction
    • Convection
  • 3. Atmospheric Basics
    • Climate and weather relies in how solar energy interacts with the atmosphere, and how the interactions combine to produce weather and climate
  • 4. Atmospheric Composition
    • Air is a combination of many gases, each with its own unique characteristics
    • These gases form Earth’s atmosphere, which extends from Earth’s surface to outer space
  • 5.
    • About 99% of the atmosphere is composed of nitrogen and oxygen
    • These main components are critical for life on Earth
    • If either were to change significantly, life as we know it could not exist.
  • 6. Key Atmospheric Gases
    • The amount of water vapor in the atmosphere at any given time or place changes constantly, from 4% to 0%
    • Percentage varies with seasons, altitude, and with the surface features beneath the air
  • 7.
    • Water vapor, the gaseous form of water, is the source of clouds, rain, and snow.
    • Water is the only substance in the atmosphere that exists in all three states
    • When water changes state to another, heat is either absorbed or released, this heat greatly affects motions that create weather and climate.
  • 8.
    • Atmosphere also contains solids such as dust and salt from the wind and oceans
    • Dust and salt play a role in cloud formation
    • Ice is the third solid found the atmosphere as hail and snow
  • 9. Ozone
    • Ozone is a gas formed by the addition of a third oxygen atom to an oxygen molecule.
    • Absorbs ultraviolet radiation
    • It is thinning
  • 10. Structure of the Atmosphere
    • Made up of several different layers
    • Each layer differs in composition and temperature
    • There are lower atmospheric layers and upper atmospheric layers
  • 11. Lower Atmosphere Layers
    • Layer closest to the Earth’s surface, the troposphere, contains most of the mass of the atmosphere, including water vapor
    • Most weather takes place here
    • Most pollution is collected
    • General temp decrease from bottom to top
    • Upper limit is called the tropopause, 9km
  • 12.
    • The next layer up is the stratosphere, made up primarily of concentrated ozone
    • Ozone absorbs more radiation than the troposphere.
    • Stratosphere is heated
    • Gradual increase in temp
    • Top layer called a stratopause, 50km up
  • 13. Upper Atmosphere
    • Above the stratopause is the mesosphere
    • No concentrated ozone
    • Temp decreases
    • Mesopause is the top layer
  • 14.
    • Above the mesopause is the thermosphere.
    • Only minute portion of atmosphere’s mass
    • This layer increases in temperature, more than 1000°C
  • 15.
    • Ionosphere is part of the thermosphere
    • Made up of electrically charged particles of progressively lighter gases
    • Exosphere is the outermost layer of Earth’s atmosphere
    • Light gases such as helium and hydrogen are found in this layer
    • There is no clear line between the exosphere and space
  • 16. Solar Fundamentals
    • The sun is the source of all energy in the atmosphere.
    • This energy is transferred to Earth and throughout the atmosphere in three ways
  • 17. Radiation
    • Radiation is the transfer of energy through space by visible light, ultraviolet radiation, and other forms of electromagnetic waves.
    • While Earth is absorbing solar radiation, it is also continuously sending energy back into space.
    • 35% of incoming radiation is deflected
    • 15% is absorbed be the atmosphere
  • 18.
    • Rate of absorption for any particular area varies depending on the physical characteristics of the area and the amount of solar radiation it absorbs
    • Water heats up and cools down more slowly than land.
    • Darker objects absorb energy faster than lighter ones
  • 19.
    • Solar radiation does not heat air directly
    • Most radiation travels as short wavelengths and the atmosphere does not easily absorb short wavelengths and so is absorbed by the Earth’s surface.
  • 20.
    • The energy then released in the heat of the Earth’s surface gives off long wavelengths
    • It is absorbed by the atmosphere and warms the air through the processes of conduction and convection
  • 21. Conduction
    • Conduction which is the transfer of energy that occurs when molecules collide
    • Like a pot of boiling water
    • For conduction to occur, substances must be in contact with one another
    • Conduction affects only a very thin atmospheric layer
  • 22. Convection
    • Convection - transfer of energy by the flow of a heated substance
    • Pockets of air near the Earth’s surface are heated, become less dense than the surrounding air, and rise
    • As the warm air rises, it expands and starts to cool
    • When it cools below the temp of the surrounding air, it increases in density and sinks
  • 23.
    • It heats again and the cycle continues
    • Convection currents are among the main mechanisms responsible for the vertical motions of air, which in turn cause the different types of weather
  • 24. “ State of the Atmosphere”
  • 25. Vocabulary
    • Temperature
    • Heat
    • Dew point
    • Condensation
    • Lifted condensation level
    • Temperature inversion
    • Humidity
    • Relative humidity
  • 26. Temperature Versus Heat
    • Heat and temperature are two different concepts.
    • Temperature is a measurement of how rapidly or slowly molecules move around.
    • Heat, on the other hand, is the transfer of energy that occurs because of a difference in temperature between substances.
  • 27.
    • Direction of heat flow depends on temperature
    • Heat flows from an object of higher temperature to an object of lower temperature
    • Heat is the transfer of energy that fuels atmospheric processes, while temperature is used to measure and interpret that energy
  • 28. Measuring Temperature
    • Three units of measuring temp
      • Fahrenheit (F)
      • Celsius (C)
      • Kelvin (K)
        • Is based on absolute zero which corresponds to about -273 C
        • More direct measure of molecular activity, because at absolute zero, molecular motion theoretically stops (no negative numbers)
  • 29. Dew Point
    • The dew point is the temperature to which air must be cooled at constant pressure to reach saturation.
    • Dew point is important because until air is saturated, condensation can not occur
  • 30.
    • Condensation occurs when matter changes state from a gas to a liquid.
    • Dew point is often called the condensation temperature.
  • 31. Vertical Temperature Changes
    • The temperature on a mountaintop is cooler than at lower elevations because the temperature of the lower atmosphere decreases with increasing distance from its heat source
    • The height at which condensation occurs is called the lifted condensation level (LCL).
  • 32.
    • Height of the LCL often corresponds to the base of clouds.
    • Above the LCL air becomes saturated and cools slowly
    • The rate at which saturated air cools is called the moist adiabatic lapse rate.
  • 33. Air Pressure and Density
    • The gravitational attraction between Earth and atmospheric gases causes particles of gas to be pulled toward the center of the Earth.
    • Atmospheric pressure decreases with height because there are fewer and fewer gas particles exerting pressure.
  • 34. Pressure-Temperature-Density
    • Temperature is directly proportional to pressure
    • As temperature increases or decreases pressure does the same
    • Temperature and density are inversely proportional
    • As temperature decreases, density increases.
  • 35. Pressure-Temperature-Density
    • As temp increases, pressure increases
    • As temperature decreases, pressure decreases
    • As temperature decreases, density increases
    • As temperature increases, density decreases