mixture of gas molecules, microscopically small particles of solid and liquid
study of the atmosphere and its processes
short-term phenomena, as opposed to Climate (long-term patterns)
study of atmosphere and its processes, but on a longer time-scale than meteorology
those gases that form a permanent porportion of the atmospheric mass
those gases whose distribution varies in time and space
region within 80 km of Earth's surface, the atmosphere
Above the homosphere, where lighter gases are increasingly dominant with increasing altitude. Does not contain permanent gases.
Most dominant gas in the atmosphere (homosphere). A stable gas, accounts for 78% of all permanent gases.
Second most dominant gas in the atmosphere (homosphere). 21% of all permanent gases.
Nitrogen and Oxygen
99% of all permanent gases when combined
1% of permanent gases (as opposed to the 99% made up of Nitrogen and Oxygen)
Most abundant of variable gases, a quarter of 1% of the atmosphere. Source of water vapor = evaporation from Earth's surface.
The cycle in which water is cylcled back and forth between Earth and the atmosphere
A variable gas, CO2. Supplied by plant and animal respiration, the decay of organic material, volcanic eruptions, and human-based eruptions. Removed from atmosphere by photosynthesis.
The process by which green plants convert light energy to chemical energy. Removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
The form of oxygen in which 3 O atoms are joined to form a single molecule is called ozone. Makes up the Ozone Laer. A paradox = pollutant, yet essential to life on Earth. Part of the stratosphere (upper atmosphere).
CH4, variable gas
small solid particles and liquid droplets in the air (excluding cloud droplets and precipitation), collectively called aerosols.
Condensation Nuclei are suspended aerosols on which cloud droplets are formed.
Vertical Structure of the Atmosphere
(has no distinct upper boundary, the air simply becomes less and less dense with increasing altitude)
Based on many different factors, such as density, temperature, and electrical properties.
the amount of mass of the substance (in kilograms) contained in a unit of volume.
(gas density: can always add or take away gas molecules, no limit, so gas density can always change)
mean free path
When looking at density, the average distance a molecule travels before colliding with another.
Fahrenheit and Celsius
-40%F = -40%C
Used with temperature because unlike other units of measurement, F and C allow for negative measures (which is physically impossible). Increments equal to that of the Celsius scale, but 0K is lowest Kelvin goes to.
Celsius to Kelvin
K = C + 273.16
Kelvin to Celsius
C = K - 273.16
Celsius to Fahrenheit
F = 9/5C + 32
Fahrenheit to Celsius
C = 5/9 (F-32)
Four Layers by temperature:
troposphere (lowest, most weather occurs here)
stratosphere (next up, little weather occurs here)
mesophere (next up)
thermosphere (uppermost layer)
the level at which temperature ceases to decrease with height, top of the troposphere.
Despite temperature's tendency to decrease with height, it is not uncommon for temperature to rise with height instead; this is known as an inversion. This allows high concentrations pollutants to be confined to lowest parts of atmosphere.
Top of Stratosphere, temperature increases with altititude
a zone of increased ozone concentration , but is not contained primarily of ozone. Absorbs soar energy that warms the stratosphere and protects life from ultraviolet radiation.
extends from upper mesophere into the thermosphere, defined by electrical properties. Contains a large number of ions. (Reflects AM radio waves)
Electrically charged particles formed when electrically neutral atoms or molecules lose one or more electrons and become positively charged ions or gain one or more electrons and become negatively charged ions and free electrons.
If molecules move with sufficient speed (escape velocity), they can overcome gravity and leave the atmosphere.
horizontal variation in pressure generates winds..
Air rizes in areas of low surface pressure and sinks in areas of high pressure. This affects formation of clouds and promotion of clear skies.
generated by horizontal variation in air pressure
isobars are lines on maps used to plot atmospheric pressure. Pressure is expressed in millibars (mb)... but kilopascals (kPa) in Canada.
detailed weather information regarding wind speed and direction
fairly narrow boundary zones separating warm and cold air; often generate major changes in temperature.
amount of water vapor in the air
dew point temperature
Like relative humidity, another indicator of water vapor in the air (the higher the dew point, the more water in the air.)