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Ocean Currents & the Affect on

Climate

Affect of cold ocean currents
Cools the summer temperature;
Reduces precipitation; cooler air holds less
moisture.
Maritime Climate


Ocean Currents
1. Permanent or semi-permanent
horizontal movement of surface water (the
top 100m)
It is unusually cold or hot, when compared
with the surrounding water
2. Caused by and shaped by,
prevailing winds,
variations in temperature
density of water
Coriolis force
Warm and Cold Currents
Cold ocean currents: move water towards the
equator.

For example the Humbolt or Peru Current carries cold
water from Antarctica toward the equator (along the
South American coast).

Another example is the Labrador Current which
carries cold water from the Arctic Ocean down along
the Labrador coast towards the Grand Banks.

Cold Ocean CurrentsPractical Examples
Marys Harbour on the
coast of Labrador is
affected by the Labrador
Current which gives Mary's
Harbour cool summer
temperatures & surprising
little precipitation for a
location right on the
oceans edge.
Drying & cooling effect to
maritime climate
Newfoundland Coast
LC brings both cool water & air south from
the Arctic
When this meets the warm Gulf Stream,
flowing north from the equator, fog forms
along our coast
There is a frontal effect created off our
coast contributing both to our precipitation
& wet / foggy weather conditions
Practical Examples
Newfoundland's south
coast has ice-free
ports year-long while
its north coast has
heavy ice for several
months.
The difference in
latitude is not enough
to explain this
difference in ice.
Warm and Cold Currents
Warm ocean currents: Move water away from warm
equatorial regions.

For example the Gulf Stream moves warm water from the
Gulf of Mexico northeast toward England.

Another good example is the Japanese current which
moves warm water from Japan northeast towards
Vancouver.


Forms of Condensation and
Precipitation
Condensation
Condensation occurs when water vapor
changes to a liquid.
For condensation to take place, the air must be
saturated and there must be a surface on which
the vapor can condense.
In the air above the ground, tiny hygroscopic
(water-absorbent) particles known as
condensation nuclei serve as the surfaces on
which water vapor can condense.
Clouds
Clouds, visible aggregates of minute droplets of
water or tiny crystals of ice, are one form of
condensation.
Clouds are classified on the basis of two criteria:
form and height.
The three basic cloud forms are:
cirrus (high, white, and thin),
cumulus (globular, individual cloud masses), and
stratus (sheets or layers).
Cloud Heights
Cloud heights can be either:
high, with bases above 6000 meters (20,000 feet),
middle, from 2000 to 6000 meters, or
low, below 2000 meters (6500 feet).
Based on the two criteria, ten basic cloud types,
including such types as cirrostratus,
altocumulus, and stratocumulus, are
recognized.
Cloud Types
Cirrus Clouds
Cumulostratus Clouds
Movement of Storm
Cumulonimbus
cloud
Positive
Charge
Negative
Charge
Lightning
Cool air descends
and replaces
warm air
The Bergeron Process (Cold Clouds)

The Collision-Coalescence Process
(Warm Clouds)


Precipitation Formation Mechanisms
The Bergeron process describes how rain or snow forms when the
cloud temperature is below freezing.
This process where ice crystals grow at the expense of cloud droplets is called the Ice
Crystal Process. It is also named after the Norwegian researcher who discovered it (Tor
Bergeron, there were others).
Temperatur
e
RH wrt
*
H
2
O(liq) RH wrt H
2
O(ice)
0C 100% 100%
-05C 100% 105%
-10C 100% 110%
-15C 100% 115%
-20C 100% 121%
*wrt = with respect to
Three important properties of water droplets:

1. Cloud droplets do not freeze at 0.C

2. Supercooled (water in the liquid state below 0C)
water droplets will freeze immediately if
agitated sufficiently or when they come in contact with
freezing nuclei (a crystalline structure similar to ice)

3. The saturation vapor pressure with respect to ice is
lower than the saturation vapor pressure with respect
to liquid water.
Ice
Saturation with Respect to Ice and Water
Vapor pressure is the pressure due to water vapor molecules when the
evaporation rate is equal to the condensation rate.
Because of the crystalline structure of ice, water molecules are not able
to break free from an ice surface as easily than from a water surface.
Therefore, the saturation vapor pressure with respect to an ice surface
would be less than the saturation vapor pressure with respect to a liquid
water surface at a given temperature.

Liquid Water
Gravitational Force = Frictional Force
Terminal Velocity occurs when: F = 0
(when F
gravity
= F
friction
)


4
/
3
r
3
g = r
2
v
4
/
3


g r

=

v
mass gravity

= area velocity
(velocity is a function of r)
As droplets fall they collide with
smaller droplets and coalesce.

after collecting ~1 million cloud
droplets the particle is large enough
to fall without evaporating.

Because there are a large number of
collisions needed, clouds with great
vertical extent are typically produce
precipitation by this process.
The Process from Warm Clouds:
The Collision-Coalescence Process
Air cools as it is
forced to rise
Condensation
Clouds form
Rain
Precipitation (commonly called as Rainfall)
Rainfall is of three types.
1. Relief Rain
2. Forced to rise over the mountains
1. Warm moist air from the sea

Mountains on coast force the air to rise
Water vapour
Condenses to
form clouds
Evaporation of
water from the
ocean
Onshore
moisture laden
winds
Air cools
down
Further cooling
leads to
precipitation
Formation of Relief Rainfall
Occurs in the mountains
on the west coast of
Britain
1,000 mm
2,000+ mm
Under 750 mm
Mountains on the coastal belts
force air to rise
Water vapour
Condenses to
form clouds
Evaporation of water
from the ocean
Onshore
moisture laden
winds
Air cools
down
Further cooling
leads to precipitation
Formation of Convectional / Relief / Frontal Rainfall
Occurs in the mountains on
the west coast of Britain
1,000 mm
2,000+ mm
Under 750 mm
Water vapour
Condenses to
form clouds
Air cools down
Further cooling
leads to heavy
precipitation
Warm air rises
Ground heats up the air
Suns rays heat up
the ground
Occurs in the late afternoon after the maximum heating
In the tropical rainforest every afternoon
Formation of Convectional / Relief / Frontal Rainfall
Water vapour
Condenses to
form clouds
Warm air rises
Further cooling leads
to precipitation along
the Warm Front
Air cools down
Occurs mainly in
winter but can occur
any time of the year
Warm moisture laden air
from the south meets cold
air from the north and forms
the Warm Front
Formation of Convectional / Relief / Frontal Rainfall
Warm air
Cold air
Relief rain is
quite common
in Britain
especially in
the west
where the high
land areas are
2. Convectional Rain
1. The sun heats
the ground
which heats
the air
2. Warm air rises

Water vapour
Condenses to
form clouds
Air cools down
Further cooling
leads to heavy
precipitation
Warm air rises
Ground heats up the air
Suns rays heat up
the ground
Convectional Rainfall
Occurs in Britain in the late afternoon after the maximum heating
In the tropical rainforest every afternoon
3. Frontal Rain
1. Mass of warm
air meets a
mass of colder
air
2. Lighter warm air rises over
heavier cold air

Water vapour
Condenses to
form clouds
Warm moisture laden air
from the south meets cold
air from the north and forms
the Warm Front
Warm air rises
Further cooling leads
to precipitation along
the Warm Front
Air cools down
Frontal or Depression rainfall
Occurs mainly in
winter in Britain but
can occur any time
of the year
Cold air
Warm air
Frontal / Cyclonic Rainfall
Stage 1 An area of warm air
meets an area of cold air.
Stage 2. The warm air is
forced over the cold air
Stage 3. Where the air
meets the warm air is cooled
& water vapour condenses.
Stage 4.
Clouds form & precipitation
occurs

Forms of Precipitation
(Rain, Snow, Sleet and Glaze, Hail)
Droplet size determines the type of precipitation.


Rain is the term for drops of water that fall from a cloud
and have a diameter of 0.5 millimeter (mm). Drizzle and mist
have smaller droplets.

Rain mostly occurs in nimbostratus clouds and cumulonimbus
clouds. These clouds are capable of producing cloudbursts.

Most rain starts as snow or ice crystals; as the snow falls through
the cloud it melts. Drizzle is a fine uniform water droplet with a
diameter less than 0.5 mm.
Rain
Temperature Profile for Rain
Snow is precipitation in the form of ice crystals (snowflakes) or
more often, aggregates if ice crystals. The size and structure of
the crystals is a function of the temperature at which they form.

When air temperatures are cold the moisture content is very
small. This results in the formation of very light fluffy snow
made up of six sided ice crystals.

When conditions are warmer,
the ice crystals join together into
larger clumps consisting
interlocked aggregates of crystals.
Snow
Temperature Profile for Snow
Sleet and Glaze
Sleet is a wintertime phenomenon that refers to the fall of small
particles of ice that are clear to translucent.
Sleet forms when rain
passes through a cold
layer of air and freezes
into ice pellets. This
occurs most often in
the winter when warm
air is forced over a layer
of cold air.
Temperature Profile for Sleet and Glaze
Hail
Hail is precipitation in the form of hard, rounded pellets or
irregular lumps of ice. The layers of ice accumulate as the
hailstone travels up and down in a strong convective cloud.
Hailstones begin as small
ice pellets that grow by adding
supercooled water droplets as
they move through the cloud. As
the ice crystal cycles up and down
in the cloud the hailstones increase
in size until they are forced out by
a downdraft or become heavy
enough to fall out.
Hail
Rime
Rime is a deposit of ice crystals formed by the freezing of super cooled fog or cloud
droplets on objects whose surface temperature is below freezing. When rime forms on
trees, it covers them with ice feathers; in windy conditions only the windward surfaces
will accumulate the layer of rime.
Mist drizzle
rain/sleet
0.005-0.05 mm
less than 0.5mm
0.5 5 mm
Approximate size of types of Precipitation
Fog
Fog, generally considered an atmospheric
hazard, is a cloud with its base at or very near
the ground.
Fogs formed by cooling include:
radiation fog (from radiation cooling of the ground
and adjacent air),
advection fog (when warm and moist air is blown
over a cold surface), and
upslope fog (created when relatively humid air
moves up a slope and cools adiabatically).
Fog (cont.)
Those formed by evaporation are:
steam fog (when rising water vapor over
warm water condenses in cool air) and
frontal fog (when warm air is lifted over
colder air along a front).
Dew and White Frost
Dew is the condensation of water vapor on
objects that have radiated sufficient heat
to lower their temperature below the dew
point of the surrounding air.
White frost forms when the dew point of
the air is below freezing.
Precipitation Formation
For precipitation to form, millions of cloud
droplets must somehow coalesce into drops
large enough to sustain themselves during their
descent.
The two mechanisms that have been proposed
to explain this phenomenon are:
the Bergeron process, which produces precipitation
from cold clouds (or cold cloud tops) primarily in the
middle latitudes, and
the warm cloud process most associated with the
tropics called the collision-coalescence process.
Collision Coalescence Process
Rain Measurement
Rain, the most common form of precipitation, is
probably the easiest to measure.
The most common instruments used to measure
rain are:
the standard rain gauge, which is read directly, and
the tipping bucket gauge and weighing gauge,
both of which record the amount of rain.
A standard rain
gauge