The Earth¶s Atmosphere

Chapter 1

The Earth and its Atmosphere

This chapter discusses: 1. Gases in Earth's atmosphere 2. Vertical structure of atmospheric pressure & temperature 3. Types of weather & climate in the atmosphere

Solar Energy as Radiation

Figure 1.1

Nearly 150 million kilometers separate the sun and earth, yet solar radiation drives earth's weather.

occurs within the first 10 to 15 km.Earth's Atmosphere Thin Gaseous envelope Figure 1. however. including water vapor. . extend only 30 kilometer (km) above earth's surface.2 99% of atmospheric gases. Most of our weather.

037% Other gases make up the rest .78% Oxygen .Composition of Atmosphere ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Nitrogen .21% Water Vapor ± 0 to 4% Carbon Dioxide ..

but condensed vapor in the form of liquid droplets.Atmospheric Gases Nitrogen. carbon dioxide. argon. contains reactants of nitrogen and ozone. and most other gases are invisible. Ozone ± is the primary ingredient of smog! . water vapor. oxygen. Clouds are not gas. Ground based smog. which is visible.

Fossil fuels are the biggest problem! . CO2 has risen more than 18% since 1958. but carbon dioxide. methane. nitrous oxides.Variable & Increasing Gases Figure 1. and chlorofluorocarbons are greenhouse gases experiencing discernable increases in concentration.3 Nitrogen and oxygen concentrations experience little change.

. The gases mainly responsible for the earth¶s atmospheric greenhouse effect are water vapor and carbon dioxide.Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect ‡ The warming of the atmosphere by its absorbing and emitting infrared radiation while allowing shortwave radiation to pass through.

and ash particles as suspended aerosols. Figure 1.Aerosols & Pollutants Human and natural activities displace tiny soil. salt.6 . as well as sulfur and nitrogen oxides. and hydrocarbons as pollutants.

Pressure & Density Gravity pulls gases toward earth's surface.Hg.92 in.25 mb or 29.7 psi at sea level. a pressure of 1013. The amount of force exerted Over an area of surface is called Air pressure! Air Density is The number of air Molecules in a given Space (volume) . and the whole column of gases weighs 14.

Climbing to an altitude of only 5.5 km where the pressure is 500 mb. would put you above one-half of the oneatmosphere¶s molecules.Vertical Pressure Profile Atmospheric pressure decreases rapidly with height. .

Lapse Rate ‡ The rate at which air temperature decreases with height. . ‡ The standard (average) lapse rate in the lower atmosphere is about 6.6°F per 1000 ft.5°C per 1 km or 3.

Temperature Inversion ‡ An increase in air temperature with height often called simply an inversion.000 ft) . ‡ Radiosonde ± an instrument that measures the vertical profile of air temperature in the atmosphere (sometimes exceeding 100.

1. 7. Troposphere Tropopause Stratosphere Stratopause Mesosphere Mesopause Thermosphere Exosphere . 5. where the outer exosphere is not shown. 6. 8.Atmospheric Layers 8 layers are defined by constant trends in average air temperature (which changes with pressure and radiation). 4. 2. 3.

Atmospheric Layers Tropopause separates Troposphere from Stratosphere. but Averages about 11 km in height. Troposphere ± Temp decrease w/ height Most of our weather occurs in this layer Varies in height around the globe.7 . Generally higher in summer Lower in winter. Figure 1.

The troposphere is the lowest major atmospheric layer. whereas the stratosphere has either constant or slowly increasing temperature with height. to around 8 miles high in the summer. and as high as 11 or 12 miles in the deep tropics. The boundary that divides the troposphere from the stratosphere is called the "tropopause". it is usually because the updrafts in the storm are "bumping up against" the bottom of the stratosphere . The troposphere is where all of Earth's weather occurs. located at an altitude of around 5 miles in the winter. like in the illustration above. It has decreasing temperature with height (at an average rate of 3.5° F per thousand feet (6.5 ° C per kilometer). and is located from the Earth's surface up to the bottom of the stratosphere. When you see the top of a thunderstorm flatten out into an anvil cloud.

7 .Atmospheric Layers Stratosphere Temperature inversion in stratosphere Ozone plays a major part in heating the air At this altitude Figure 1.

Air quite Cold -90°C (-130°F) near the top of mesosphere Figure 1.7 . pressure low. Need oxygen to live in this region.Atmospheric Layers Mesosphere Middle atmosphere ± Air thin.

7 . Very few atoms and molecules in this Region.Atmospheric Layers Thermosphere ³Hot layer´ ± oxygen molecules absorb energy from solar Rays warming the air. Figure 1.

a particularly reactive form of oxygen. since only when oxygen is produced in the atmosphere can an ozone layer form and prevent an intense flux of ultraviolet radiation from reaching the surface. The Mesosphere and Ionosphere Above the stratosphere is the mesosphere and above that is the ionosphere (or thermosphere).The Stratosphere and Ozone Layer Above the troposphere is the stratosphere. The thin ozone layer in the upper stratosphere has a high concentration of ozone. and is also responsible for absorbing the most energetic photons from the Sun. where air flow is mostly horizontal. There is considerable recent concern that manmade flourocarbon compounds may be depleting the ozone layer. with dire future consequences for life on the Earth. The formation of this layer is a delicate matter. This layer is primarily responsible for absorbing the ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. where many atoms are ionized (have gained or lost electrons so they have a net electrical charge). but it is where aurora take place. thereby making long-distance radio communication possible. and for reflecting radio waves. . where it is quite hazardous to the evolution of life. The ionosphere is very thin.

Atmospheric Mixture & Charge Additional layers include: a) the homosphere with 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen b) the poorly mixed heterosphere c) the electrically charged ionosphere .

9 (Ionosphere Radio Prop) AM radio waves are long enough to interfere with ions in the sunsuncharged D layer. but at night the D layer is weak and the AM signal propagates further. requiring stations to use less power. .Radio Wave Propagation Figure 1.

g. 30 yr) averages of weather.Weather & Climate Weather is comprised of the elements of: a) air temperature b) air pressure c) humidity d) clouds e) precipitation f) visibility g) wind Climate represents long-term long(e. .

Satellite Instruments Meteorologists may study larger weather patterns with space borne instruments. while ground-based groundtools often measure a single point.10 . (GOES SAT) Meridians Longitude Latitude Middle Latitudes ± 30-50N Middle-latitude cyclonic storm Hurricane Thunderstorm Tornado ± most violent disturbance in atms Figure 1.

Figure 1.Surface Weather Map Meteorologists generate diagrams of observed weather from groundground-based instruments. This surface map overlaps in time with the previous satellite image.11 Low High Fronts Wind Direction .

History of Meteorology ‡ Meteorology is the study of the atmosphere and its phenomena ‡ Aristotle wrote a book on natural philosophy (340 BC) entitled ³Meteorologica´ ± Sum knowledge of weather/climate at time ± Meteors were all things that fell from the sky or were seen in the air ± ³meteoros´ : Greek word meaning ³high in air´ .

History of Meteorology ‡ Invention of weather instruments ± 1500¶s Galileo invented water thermometer ± 1643 Torricelli invented mercury barometer ± 1667 Hooke invented anemometer ± 1719 Fahrenheit developed temp scale based on boiling/freezing water ± 1735 Hadley explained how the earth¶s rotation influences winds in tropics ± 1742 Celsius developed the centigrade temp scale .

Motions 1869 first isobars were placed on map 1920 concepts of air masses and weather fronts were formulated in Norway 1940¶s upper air ballons/3-D view of atmos 1950¶s high speed computers 1960 Tiros 1 first weather satellite ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ .History of Meteorology ‡ ‡ 1787 Charles discovered relationship between temp and a volume of air 1835 Coriolis used math to demonstrate the effect that the earth¶s rotation has on atmos.

Impacts of Weather 1/5 Figure 1.12 .

13 .Impacts of Weather 2/5 Figure 1.

Impacts of Weather 3/5 Figure 1.14 .

15 146 people die each year In US from flash floods .Impacts of Weather 4/5 Figure 1.

Impacts of Weather 5/5 Lightning strikes earth 100 times every second Figure 1.16 .

mesosphere.Summary ‡ Overview of earth atmospheric gasses ‡ Various layers to atmosphere ± Troposphere. thermosphere. stratosphere. exosphere ‡ Weather map and satellite photo ± Weather elements ‡ Defined Meteorology and climate ‡ History of meteorology .

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful

Master Your Semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master Your Semester with a Special Offer from Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.