Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Extreme Weather

Extreme Weather

Ratings: (0)|Views: 8|Likes:
Published by Simon
Uploaded from Google Docs
Uploaded from Google Docs

More info:

Published by: Simon on Jun 11, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

05/12/2014

pdf

text

original

 
INSTABILITY
AND
PRECIPITATION
Instabilityoccurswhenairislessdensethanitssurroundings.ItisgreatestwhenthereisCOld,denseair
aloft,
andWarm,moistair
atlow
leve!s,
since
moist
alr
isless
dense
thandryair.Inanunstableatmosphere,
alrthat
starts
movingupwardsw!!1keepmovingupwards,
As
airmovesupwards,
It
expandsfurther,Expansioncausescooling,since
as
themoleculesofairmovefartherapart,theamountofkineticenergy
in
a
given
volume
falls.
At
somepointitbecomestoo
(001
forwater
vapour
intherisingalrtoremaininthegasphase.Whenairreachesthispoint,calledthedew-pointtemperature,watervapourbeginscondensingoutoftneair,formingcloudsandprecipitation-rain,hail
or
snow.Thus,twoIngredientsareneededtogenerateprecipitation:sufficientwatervapourintheair,and
a
mechanismto
lift
airsothatItcools
'to
itsdew-pointtemperature,ThethreemainwaysairgetglifteD
to
cause
COOling
andcondensationare:
l)
solart1eOlting
of
theground,";lusingthermals
to
develop
2)
airmassesofdifferentdensitiesmeeting
and
creating
'fronts=that
pushairupwards,and
3)
airbeingforcedupwards
by
mountainsinitsway,Whileairtemperatures
fOIl!
with
altitude
intheloweratmosphere,or'troposphere,atanaltitudeofaround
II
kilometres
the
airsuddenlybeg!mtowarmagain,Thls"temperatureInversion"marksthebottomoftl1estratosphere,Itiscausedbytheheatingofairasozoneabsorbsultravioletlight.Nocloudsforminthestratosphere,sinceairfromthetropospherecannotriseabovethe
g
inversion.Thisputsalidoninstablllty.~IfthereWasnoinversion,wewoUldget
S
moreextremeweather,illNewScientistl20ctober2010
THESUN:
DRIVEROF
THE
WEATHER
Asrisingaircools,
water
vapourcondenses(,Jut,
forming"lauds!;arth'5atmosphereisheatedunequallyatthepolesandequator.ThIsoccursbecauseof
slrn
pIegeometry.Weliveonasphereorbitingthesun,andsunlightfallsfromdirectlyoverheadontheequator,but
ata
sharplyslantedanglenearthenorth
and
southpoles.Thepolarregionsthusreceivelesssunlightforagivenareathantheequator.
ill
sdifferenceIsthefundamentaldriverofweatheron
the
planetHeat
naturally
moves
from
hottertocolderareas,sotheatmospMre
and
oceanstransportheatfromtheequatortothepoles.
A
planetwithouttemperaturedifferenceswouldbeaplanetwithoutweather,wherethewindneverblows.ButonEarththewindalway~blows,andsometimes
It
blowsveryhard.
Thesj:leedatwhichthe
E,u;th
rotatesshapesItswindpattern
WINDBELTSANDTHECORIOLISEFFECT
If
~<!rthdidnotrotate,globalwindpatternswouldbeverysimple.Hotairwouldrise
at
theequ::!tl!ri
then
spreadouthorizontally
towards
thepl!!esonce
it
reachedthetopoftneatmosphere.
At
the
poles
it
wouldcool,sinkingasitbecamemoredense,thenflowalongthesurface
backtotile
eQlJator.Surfacewindswouldthusflowonly
from
north
to
southInthenorthernhemisphere,andsouthtonorthInthesouthernh~illisphere.
On
arotatiogsphere,thesurface"andtheairabove
it-
movesfastestattheequatorandnotatallatthepole:>.Thus,i:;lrth'srotationdeflectswinds
to
therightinthenort!lernhemisphere,andleftinthesouthern,Thisdef!ectloniscalledtheCorioliseffect,TherotationoftheEarthcreates
1I
CorioUs~ffe[t5tFOngenoughtoproducethreeinterlockingbandsofsurfacewindsIneachhemisphere:theequatorialtradewinds,themid·latitudewesterliesandthepolareasterlies(seediagram).IfEarthspunfaster,therewouldbemore
of
thasewindbelts.Jupiter'sveryfastrotationrate-Itsdayslastjust
10
hours-givesthatplanetmanymore
bands
ofwindsthanEarth,Athighaltitudes,fastwast-to-aastbandsofwindcalledJetstreamsdevelopabovetheslower-movingsurfacewinds.Whilethisgeneralpatternofwindbeltspredominates,becausewedonotlh,eonauniformspherebutononewithoceans,mountains,forestsanddeserts,actualwindpatternsaref;lfmorecomplicatedandvariable.
-
.
.
,-
 
DRIVINGFORCE
ThethinlayerofgasmakinguptheEarth'samazingatmosphereisprone
tomoods
ofspectacularbeauty~
andstunning
violence.a
understandwhat
makes
the
weather
gowild,we
muststart
by
lookilngattheintricateworkingsoftheforcesthatsettheatmosphereinmotionandthusdriveourplanet'sweather
"IfEarthspunfaster,therewouldbemoreofthesewindbelts.as
can
be
seenorijuplter"
TEMPERATURE,PRESSUREANDWINDS
AiriswarmedInthreemainways:radiation,conductionand
convection.The
sunradiatesphotonsthatareabsorbedbyairmolecules,makingthemoleculesmovefaster-
that
is,get
warmer.tt
has
the
sameeffectonthe
ground,
whosemolecules
then
conductheatenergy
to
thethin
layer
ofair
incontactwith
it.
A.5the
rnotaculesinthisparc~1ofwarmairzingaroundmomrapidly.itsvolumeIncr~ases.Sineathismakestheairparcellessdensethanthesurroundingair.Itbecomesmorebuoyant
a
nd
thus
rises,Cooler,heavierairflows
into
thespace
It
hasvacated,wherll
it
inturnbecomesheatedandrises.continuingthecycle.ThisverticaImovementofheatiscalledconvection,andtherisingparcelsofairareknownas
thermals,
inthis
way,
temperaturedifferencescauseiiariationsindensity
andpressurathatdrtvawlndsboth
verticallyand
horizontally
astheairflowsto
try
toequalisethepressure.2october2010
I
NewScientlst
I
iii

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->