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Iloilo State College of Fisheries

School of Graduate Studies
Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo

TAKE HOME EXAM in ASTRONOMY and METEOROLOGY

Submitted by: Submitted to:
MARIA VANESSA T. BENDALIAN Dr. R. Palla

1. Enumerate and characterized the different layers of the atmosphere.

The atmosphere has five different layers that are determined by the changes in
temperature that happen with increasing altitude. This includes the exosphere, thermosphere,
mesosphere, stratosphere, and troposphere.

a. Exosphere
The exosphere is the outermost layer of Earth's atmosphere (i.e. the upper limit of the
atmosphere). It extends from the exobase, which is located at the top of the thermosphere at an
altitude of about 700 km above sea level, to about 10,000 km (6,200 mi; 33,000,000 ft) where it
merges into the solar wind.
This layer is mainly composed of extremely low densities of hydrogen, helium and several
heavier molecules including nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide closer to the exobase. The atoms
and molecules are so far apart that they can travel hundreds of kilometres without colliding with one
another. Thus, the exosphere no longer behaves like a gas, and the particles constantly escape into
space. These free-moving particles follow ballistic trajectories and may migrate in and out of
the magnetosphere or the solar wind.
The exosphere is located too far above Earth for any meteorological phenomena to be
possible. However, the aurora borealis and aurora australis sometimes occur in the lower part of the
exosphere, where they overlap into the thermosphere. The exosphere contains most of the satellites
orbiting Earth.

b. Thermosphere
The thermosphere is the second-highest layer of Earth's atmosphere. It extends from the
mesopause (which separates it from the mesosphere) at an altitude of about 80 km (50 mi; 260,000 ft)
up to the thermopause at an altitude range of 500–1000 km (310–620 mi; 1,600,000–3,300,000 ft).
The height of the thermopause varies considerably due to changes in solar activity. Because the
thermopause lies at the lower boundary of the exosphere, it is also referred to as the exobase. The
lower part of the thermosphere, from 80 to 550 kilometres (50 to 342 mi) above Earth's surface,
contains the ionosphere.
The temperature of the thermosphere gradually increases with height. Unlike the stratosphere
beneath it, wherein a temperature inversion is due to the absorption of radiation by ozone, the
inversion in the thermosphere occurs due to the extremely low density of its molecules. The
temperature of this layer can rise as high as 1500 °C (2700 °F), though the gas molecules are so far
apart that its temperature in the usual sense is not very meaningful. The air is so rarefied that an
individual molecule (of oxygen, for example) travels an average of 1 kilometre (0.62 mi; 3300 ft)
between collisions with other molecules. Although the thermosphere has a high proportion of

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It lies above the troposphere and is separated from it by the tropopause. polar stratospheric or nacreous clouds are occasionally seen in the lower part of this layer of the atmosphere where the air is coldest. It is the coldest place on Earth and has an average temperature around −85 °C (−120 °F. This rise in temperature is caused by the absorption of ultraviolet radiation (UV) radiation from the Sun by the ozone layer. occupying the region above the stratosphere and below the thermosphere. it would not feel hot to a human in direct contact. and too low to permit orbital spacecraft. These are the highest clouds in the atmosphere and may be visible to the naked eye if sunlight reflects off them about an hour or two after sunset or a similar length of time before sunrise. 160.000 ft) above Earth's surface to the stratopause at an altitude of about 50 to 55 km (31 to 34 mi.000 ft) to the mesopause at 80–85 km (50–53 mi. 39. This layer is completely cloudless and free of water vapor. d. Stratosphere The stratosphere is the second-lowest layer of Earth's atmosphere. between 350 and 420 km (220 and 260 mi). because its density is too low to conduct a significant amount of energy to or from the skin. the stratosphere is almost completely free of clouds and other forms of weather.molecules with high energy. A type of lightning referred to as either sprites or ELVES occasionally forms far above tropospheric thunderclouds. which restricts turbulence and mixing.000 to 180. 190 K). However. 164. The mesosphere is also the layer where most meteors burn up upon atmospheric entrance. Although the temperature may be −60 °C (−76 °F. Stratospheric temperature profile creates very stable atmospheric conditions. It extends from the stratopause at an altitude of about 50 km (31 mi. 2|Page .000 ft) above sea level. Mesosphere The mesosphere is the third highest layer of Earth's atmosphere. so the stratosphere lacks the weather-producing air turbulence that is so prevalent in the troposphere. The International Space Station orbits in this layer. The stratosphere is the highest layer that can be accessed by jet-powered aircraft. which is the part of Earth's atmosphere that contains relatively high concentrations of that gas. This layer extends from the top of the troposphere at roughly 12 km (7. 260. They are most readily visible when the Sun is around 4 to 16 degrees below the horizon. The atmospheric pressure at the top of the stratosphere is roughly 1/1000 the pressure at sea level. Just below the mesopause. and may be near 0 °C. the air is so cold that even the very scarce water vapor at this altitude can be sublimated into polar-mesospheric noctilucent clouds.000 ft). the top of the stratosphere is much warmer. It contains the ozone layer. Temperatures drop with increasing altitude to the mesopause that marks the top of this middle layer of the atmosphere.5 mi. c. Consequently. The stratosphere defines a layer in which temperatures rise with increasing altitude. It is too high above Earth to be accessible to jet-powered aircraft and balloons. However non-hydrometeorological phenomena such as the aurora borealis and aurora australis are occasionally seen in the thermosphere.000–280. 210 K) at the tropopause. The mesosphere is mainly accessed by sounding rockets and rocket-powered aircraft.

This is because 3|Page . a layer of relatively warm air above a colder one).7 mi. mesosphere. so auroras are normally seen only in the thermosphere and lower exosphere. Thus. About 90% of the ozone in Earth's atmosphere is contained in the stratosphere. Nearly all atmospheric water vapor or moisture is found in the troposphere. Although variations do occur. the chemical composition varies with altitude. though the thickness varies seasonally and geographically.[19] This relatively homogeneous layer ends at the turbopause found at about 100 km (62 mi. e. the lowest part of the troposphere (i.000 ft) and includes the mesosphere. Above this altitude lies the heterosphere. However. It is responsible for auroras.3–21. It has practical importance because it influences.e.  The homosphere and heterosphere are defined by whether the atmospheric gases are well mixed. Here.000 to 3. This promotes vertical mixing (hence the origin of its name in the Greek word τρόπος. The ionosphere forms the inner edge of the magnetosphere.000 km (31 to 621 mi. so it is the layer where most of Earth's weather takes place.000 ft) of the troposphere. ionization in the mesosphere largely ceases during the night. tropos.6 km (18. 66.e. 330. which is much higher than in the lower atmosphere but still very small compared to the main components of the atmosphere. Fifty percent of the total mass of the atmosphere is located in the lower 5. with some variation due to weather.The troposphere is denser than all its overlying atmospheric layers because a larger atmospheric weight sits on top of the troposphere and causes it to be most severely compressed. The troposphere contains roughly 80% of the mass of Earth's atmosphere. for example. and it is the only layer that can be accessed by propeller-driven aircraft. thermosphere. and the lowest part of the thermosphere.000 ft) at the equator. radio propagation on Earth. The surface-based homosphere includes the troposphere.  The ionosphere is a region of the atmosphere that is ionized by solar radiation. the temperature usually declines with increasing altitude in the troposphere because the troposphere is mostly heated through energy transfer from the surface. Other layers Within the five principal layers that are largely determined by temperature. 49.000 ft). and in others by a zone which is isothermal with height. it stretyphoonhes from 50 to 1. Most conventional aviation activity takes place in the troposphere. During daytime hours. 160. It has basically all the weather-associated cloud genus types generated by active wind circulation. a boundary marked in most places by a temperature inversion (i. and parts of the exosphere. where the chemical composition of the atmosphere does not depend on molecular weight because the gases are mixed by turbulence. although very tall cumulonimbus thunder clouds can penetrate the tropopause from below and rise into the lower part of the stratosphere. Earth's surface) is typically the warmest section of the troposphere. several secondary layers may be distinguished by other properties:  The ozone layer is contained within the stratosphere. which places it about 20 km (12 mi.280. In this layer ozone concentrations are about 2 to 8 parts per million.000 ft) above the mesopause. It extends from Earth's surface to an average height of about 12 km.000 ft). meaning "turn"). stratosphere. the very edge of space itself as accepted by the FAI. It is mainly located in the lower portion of the stratosphere from about 15–35 km (9. The troposphere is bounded above by the tropopause. although this altitude actually varies from about 9 km (30. which includes the exosphere and most of the thermosphere. Troposphere The troposphere is the lowest layer of Earth's atmosphere.000 ft) at the poles to 17 km (56.000–115.

there is no standard language for these initial stages. During the day the planetary boundary layer usually is well-mixed. recurving and assuming extratropical characteristics.800 ft) or more during the afternoon in dry regions. calm nights to 3. Mature Stage The mature stage of a TYPHOON is usually associated with the period in which the TYPHOON reaches maximum intensity. Intensification or Deepening Stage In this stage. 3. whereas at night it becomes stably stratified with weak or intermittent mixing. mainly through turbulent diffusion. features associated with earliest stages of the TYPHOON life-cycle can overlap. This allows the gases to stratify by molecular weight. some meteorologists prefer the term "genesis" to describe both the earliest stages of the life-cycle and progression to a mature hurricane or typhoon. present only near the bottom of the heterosphere. the lightest element. 2. Even though the TYPHOON is decaying.  The planetary boundary layer is the part of the troposphere that is closest to Earth's surface and is directly affected by it. For example. The depth of the planetary boundary layer ranges from as little as about 100 metres (330 ft) on clear. moving over cool water. The central pressure has reached a minimum. enumerate the different signal number and characterize each. the decaying process is the result of a TYPHOON moving over land. it can produce high winds and heavy rains. To complicate the issue. Usually. such as oxygen and nitrogen. 2. and the surface winds have reached a maximum. the distance that particles can move without colliding with one another is large compared with the size of motions that cause mixing.000 m (9. The upper part of the heterosphere is composed almost completely of hydrogen. An eye may develop at the center of the TYPHOON if the stage continues. 4. Others use the term "genesis" to describe the earliest stages and "formation" to somewhat later stages in the life- cycle. Discuss the stages of typhoon formation. the TYPHOON central pressure falls and the maximum surface wind speed increases. the central pressure increases and the maximum surface winds weaken. STAGES OF TYPHOON FORMATION: 1. or a combination of these processes. with the heavier ones.Formation or Genesis Stage Since the nature of TYPHOON development is continuous. 4|Page . Decay Stage When a TYPHOON decays.

Very strong winds of more than 185 kph may be expected in at least 12 hours. further glacial retreat. 5|Page . A gradual increase in the overall temperature of the earth's atmosphere generally attributed to the greenhouse effect caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide. TYPHOON SIGNAL: Signal No. and other pollutants. heat waves. droughts. Amounts and patterns of precipitation are changing. 2 .Winds greater than 100 kph up to 185 kph may be expected in at least 18 hours.4° to 9° Fahrenheit) by the year 2100. (When the tropical cyclone develops very close to the locality . reduced summer stream flows.60 kilometers per hour (kph) may be expected in at least 36 hours or intermittent rains may be expected within 36 hours. Changes in temperature and precipitation patterns increase the frequency. 4 . and tornadoes. chlorofluorocarbons.Winds of 30 . Signal No. What is global warming? Describe its effect. such as floods. More details about the effects of global warming : Increasing global temperatures are causing a broad range of changes. in addition to melting of land ice. GLOBAL WARMING Global warming is the term used to describe a gradual increase in the average temperature of the Earth's atmosphere and its oceans. a change that is believed to be permanently changing the Earth’s climate. 3. species extinctions. Other effects of global warming include higher or lower agricultural yields. diseases like malaria are returning into areas where they have been extinguished earlier.a shorter lead time of the occurrence of the winds will be specified in the warning bulletin) Signal No.Winds of greater than 60 kph and up to 100 kph may be expected in at least 24 hours. Public Storm Warning Signal No. As a further effect of global warming. 3 . 1 . Effects of global warming There are two major effects of global warming:  Increase of temperature on the earth by about 3° to 5° C (5.  Rise of sea levels by at least 25 meters (82 feet) by the year 2100. duration. The total annual power of hurricanes has already increased markedly since 1975 because their average intensity and average duration have increased (in addition. there has been a high correlation of hurricane power with tropical sea-surface temperature). and intensity of other extreme weather events. Sea levels are rising due to thermal expansion of the ocean.

e. Received radiation is unevenly distributed over the planet. such as atmospheric composition (mainly aerosols and greenhouse gases). 9 via convection and turbulence. The 65 remaining units are absorbed: 14 within the atmosphere and 51 by the Earth’s surface. Incoming radiant energy (shortwave) The total amount of energy received per second at the top of Earth's atmosphere (TOA) is measured in watts and is given by the solar constant times the cross-sectional area of the Earth. until a new equilibrium state is established between radiative forcing and the climate response. winds. the numbers quoted are long-term averages. let the insolation received at the top of the atmosphere be 100 units. HEAT BUDGET Earth's climate is largely determined by the planet's energy budget. Changes in surface temperature due to Earth's energy budget do not occur instantaneously. A heat budget is the perfect balance between incoming heat absorbed by earth and outgoing heat escaping it in the form of radiation. To quantify Earth's heat budget or heat balance. the Earth is said to be in radiative equilibrium and under that condition. The 48 units absorbed by the atmosphere (34 units from terrestrial radiation and 14 from insolation) are finally radiated back to space. the albedo (reflectivity) of surface properties. However. the average TOA flux is one quarter of the solar constant and so is approximately 340 W/m². The net heat flux is buffered primarily by becoming part of the ocean's heat content. These 51 units are radiated to space in the form of terrestrial radiation: 17 directly radiated to space and 34 absorbed by the atmosphere (19 through latent heat of condensation. typically averaged from multiple satellite measurements. 2 from snow and ice-covered areas. due to the inertia of the oceans and the cryosphere. and. and ocean circulation. An accounting of how much energy enters the Earth's climate system from the Sun. convection. as shown in the accompanying illustration. and lithosphere. global temperatures will be stable. the area of a circle). In spite of the enormous transfers of energy into and from the Earth. around 35 units are reflected back to space: 27 from the top of clouds. cloud cover and vegetation and land use patterns. seasonal and annual variations. as a whole. 4. because the Sun heats equatorial regions more than polar regions. the balance of incoming and outgoing radiation which is measured by satellites and shown in W/m2. 6|Page . it maintains a constant temperature because. there is no net gain or loss: Earth receives the same amount of energy via insolation (all forms of electromagnetic radiation) as it emits via atmospheric and terrestrial radiation (shifted to longer electromagnetic wavelengths) to space. hydrosphere. Called the albedo of Earth. thereby demonstrating no net gain of energy by the Earth. These 65 units (17 from the ground and 48 from the atmosphere) balance the 65 units absorbed from the sun. Discuss your own report. Energy is absorbed by the atmosphere. will change global temperatures in response. and 6 by other parts of the atmosphere. Earth's energy balance and heat fluxes depend on many factors. then earth would get progressively warmer or cooler with each passing year. and 6 directly absorbed). how much energy is lost to space and accounts for the remainder as stored on the Earth and its atmosphere. the solar heating is redistributed through evaporation of surface water. Since the absorption varies with location as well as with diurnal. such as an increase of greenhouse gases. Disturbances of Earth's radiative equilibrium. When the incoming solar energy is balanced by an equal flow of heat to space. rainfall. If the balance is disturbed. Because the surface area of a sphere is four times the cross-sectional surface area of a sphere (i. in a process informally described as Earth's heat engine.

7|Page . light from distant stars and the thermal radiation from space. including accretion of interplanetary dust and solar wind. Of the ~340 W/m² of solar radiation received by the Earth.60 ± 0.15 W/m². Earth's internal heat and other small effects The geothermal heat flux from the Earth's interior is estimated to be 47 terawatts.000 terawatts of incoming solar radiation. Earth's energy imbalance measurements provided by Argo floats have detected an accumulation of ocean heat content(OHC). which is dominated by 173. heat energy is transported between the planet's surface layers (land and ocean) to the atmosphere. that amounts to net heat added to or lost by the planet (if the incoming flux is larger or smaller than the outgoing respectively). This gives the earth a mean net albedo of 0. which is sustained by increased energy leaving the surface through evaporation (the latent heat flux). Earth's energy imbalance If the incoming energy flux is not equal to the outgoing energy flux. The estimated imbalance was measured during a deep solar minimum of 2005-2010 to be 0. Longwave radiation Longwave radiation is usually defined as outgoing infrared energy leaving the planet. However. the atmosphere absorbs parts initially. Ultimately.29.Later research estimated the surface energy imbalance to be 0. Earlier.17 W/m². offsetting increases in longwave flux to the surface. which represents only 0. Joseph Fourier had claimed that deep space radiation was significant in a paper often cited as the first on the greenhouse effect. Generally.087 watt/square metre. Recent satellite observations indicate additional precipitation. transported via evapotranspiration and latent heat fluxes or conduction/ convection processes. or cloud cover can reflect radiation. Other minor sources of energy are usually ignored in these calculations.58 ± 0. the result is an energy imbalance. leaving ~240 W/m² of solar energy input to the Earth's energy budget. energy is radiated in the form of longwave infrared radiation back into space. an average of ~77 W/m² is reflected back to space by clouds and the atmosphere and ~23 W/m² is reflected by the surface albedo.027% of Earth's total energy budget at the surface. This comes to 0.