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John Marco M.

Maligaya Environmental Science


1 Recap
2012-52270 Second Part February 1
Lecture

The Troposphere and Radiosonde Weather Balloon


Atmosphere may be divided into different layers according to its
vertical temperature, gaseous composition, and electrical properties. We live
at the bottom of the layer called troposphere where most weather
phenomena happen.
Weather scientists or meteorologists use an instrument to measure
temperature, pressure, wind speed and direction at the troposphere. This is
called a radiosonde weather balloon which is a radiosonde attached to a
weather balloon. A radiosonde has GPS, battery, antenna, and sensors for
temperature and humidity along with other interfaces. Data is transmitted to
computers through radio transmission. At higher altitudes beyond the
troposphere, weather balloons burst and what is left is the radiosonde guided
back to earth by its parachute. Those who can chance upon it can bring it
back to the rightful owner and receive cash in return.
In several parts of the earth, weather balloons are released in every
six hour. A high quality weather balloon costs around Php25, 000, an amount
which can be impractical for some researchers. Fortunately, we have several
locations in the Philippines where weather balloons are released particularly
in Tanay, Davao, and Ilocos.
Ideally temperature is decreasing as you go up in troposphere.
However, in reality, radiosonde weather balloons record atmospheric
temperature which is not constantly decreasing. The instrument accounts
every particle or gas present at a particular layer thus deviating from ideal
conditions Ideal Gas Law needed. In the temporal scale, there are layers in
the atmosphere where temperature increases as altitude increase also. This
is called the inversion layer where temperature has a sudden nonconformity
in the trend. Inversion layers signify sinking warm air and rising cold air.
Whatever contained in the lower layer is trapped including pollution, carbon,
nitrates and other gases. Atmospheric pollution is enhanced with the
presence of inversion layers. Smog we usually see in the morning is a
physical manifestation of an inversion layer.

Heat transfer in the atmosphere


The first method of heat transfer is called conduction. Conduction is
the transfer of heat from molecule to molecule in a substance. In this case,
contact is needed in order heat to transfer.
Substances have varying heat conductivity which is measured in
watts/meter/degree Celsius. Heat conductivity is defined as the ability to
conduct heat as a consequence of molecular motion. Dry soil has heat
conductivity of .25 while sandstone has 2.6. This means that when sunlight
strike to both substances, sandstone will heat up first.
Another method of heat transfer is convection. This is the transfer of
heat by mass movement of a fluid. It doesnt need to be in contact with the
medium but there should be a fluid in between them moving. Convection
takes place in liquid and gases as their kinetic energy is more pronounced. Air
temperature is measured as the average speed of air molecules. Cold air
molecules move slowly and closer with each other while warm air molecules
move faster and further apart. The rising of warm air and sinking cold air is a
result of convection naturally happening in the atmosphere.