Weather and Climate Ch1

  1. Atmosphere
    mixture of gas molecules, microscopically small particles of solid and liquid
  2. Meteorology
    study of the atmosphere and its processes
  3. Weather
    short-term phenomena, as opposed to Climate (long-term patterns)
  4. Climate
    Long-term patterns
  5. Climatology
    study of atmosphere and its processes, but on a longer time-scale than meteorology
  6. Permanent Gases
    those gases that form a permanent porportion of the atmospheric mass
  7. Variable Gases
    those gases whose distribution varies in time and space
  8. Homosphere
    region within 80 km of Earth's surface, the atmosphere
  9. Heterosphere
    Above the homosphere, where lighter gases are increasingly dominant with increasing altitude. Does not contain permanent gases.
  10. Nitrogen
    Most dominant gas in the atmosphere (homosphere). A stable gas, accounts for 78% of all permanent gases.
  11. Oxygen
    Second most dominant gas in the atmosphere (homosphere). 21% of all permanent gases.
  12. Nitrogen and Oxygen
    99% of all permanent gases when combined
  13. Argon
    1% of permanent gases (as opposed to the 99% made up of Nitrogen and Oxygen)
  14. Water Vapor
    Most abundant of variable gases, a quarter of 1% of the atmosphere. Source of water vapor = evaporation from Earth's surface.
  15. Hydrolic Cycle
    The cycle in which water is cylcled back and forth between Earth and the atmosphere
  16. Carbon Dioxide
    A variable gas, CO2. Supplied by plant and animal respiration, the decay of organic material, volcanic eruptions, and human-based eruptions. Removed from atmosphere by photosynthesis.
  17. Photosynthesis
    The process by which green plants convert light energy to chemical energy. Removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
  18. Ozone
    The form of oxygen in which 3 O atoms are joined to form a single molecule is called ozone. Makes up the Ozone Laer. A paradox = pollutant, yet essential to life on Earth. Part of the stratosphere (upper atmosphere).
  19. Methane
    CH4, variable gas
  20. aerosols
    small solid particles and liquid droplets in the air (excluding cloud droplets and precipitation), collectively called aerosols.
  21. Condensation Nuclei
    Condensation Nuclei are suspended aerosols on which cloud droplets are formed.
  22. Vertical Structure of the Atmosphere
    (has no distinct upper boundary, the air simply becomes less and less dense with increasing altitude)

    Based on many different factors, such as density, temperature, and electrical properties.
  23. Density
    the amount of mass of the substance (in kilograms) contained in a unit of volume.

    (gas density: can always add or take away gas molecules, no limit, so gas density can always change)
  24. mean free path
    When looking at density, the average distance a molecule travels before colliding with another.
  25. Fahrenheit and Celsius
    -40%F = -40%C
  26. Kelvin Scale
    Used with temperature because unlike other units of measurement, F and C allow for negative measures (which is physically impossible). Increments equal to that of the Celsius scale, but 0K is lowest Kelvin goes to.
  27. Celsius to Kelvin
    K = C + 273.16
  28. Kelvin to Celsius
    C = K - 273.16
  29. Celsius to Fahrenheit
    F = 9/5C + 32
  30. Fahrenheit to Celsius
    C = 5/9 (F-32)
  31. Standard Atmosphere
    Four Layers by temperature:

    • troposphere (lowest, most weather occurs here)
    • stratosphere (next up, little weather occurs here)
    • mesophere (next up)
    • thermosphere (uppermost layer)
  32. Tropopause
    the level at which temperature ceases to decrease with height, top of the troposphere.
  33. inversions
    Despite temperature's tendency to decrease with height, it is not uncommon for temperature to rise with height instead; this is known as an inversion. This allows high concentrations pollutants to be confined to lowest parts of atmosphere.
  34. Stratopause
    Top of Stratosphere, temperature increases with altititude
  35. Ozone Layer
    a zone of increased ozone concentration , but is not contained primarily of ozone. Absorbs soar energy that warms the stratosphere and protects life from ultraviolet radiation.
  36. Ionosphere
    extends from upper mesophere into the thermosphere, defined by electrical properties. Contains a large number of ions. (Reflects AM radio waves)
  37. Ions
    Electrically charged particles formed when electrically neutral atoms or molecules lose one or more electrons and become positively charged ions or gain one or more electrons and become negatively charged ions and free electrons.
  38. escape velocity
    If molecules move with sufficient speed (escape velocity), they can overcome gravity and leave the atmosphere.
  39. pressure
    • horizontal variation in pressure generates winds..
    • Air rizes in areas of low surface pressure and sinks in areas of high pressure. This affects formation of clouds and promotion of clear skies.
  40. winds
    generated by horizontal variation in air pressure
  41. isobars
    isobars are lines on maps used to plot atmospheric pressure. Pressure is expressed in millibars (mb)... but kilopascals (kPa) in Canada.
  42. Station Models
    detailed weather information regarding wind speed and direction
  43. fronts
    fairly narrow boundary zones separating warm and cold air; often generate major changes in temperature.
  44. relative humidity
    amount of water vapor in the air
  45. dew point temperature
    Like relative humidity, another indicator of water vapor in the air (the higher the dew point, the more water in the air.)
Card Set
Weather and Climate Ch1
Weather and Climate Ch1