Earth and Environmental Systems

What is the main source of energy to the Earth’s atmosphere and in what form does this energy come to the Earth’s surface?
Sun, energy in the form of solar radiation
Know the order of the major bands of the EMR spectrum in order from smallest to largest wavelengths.
How is heat transferred in each of the following cases:
From the Sun to the Earth
From the Earth’s surface to the lower atmosphere
From the lower atmosphere to higher levels of the atmosphere
What are the three most abundant permanent gasses in the atmosphere in order of their abundance?
Nitrogen, Oxygen, Argon
What are the three most common variable gasses in the atmosphere?
Water vapor, Carbon Dioxide, Ozone
Besides gas, what else is in the atmosphere?
Know the four principal layers of the atmosphere, how these layers are defined, and the main characteristics of each.
Troposphere: bottom. T goes down w/ altitude. 11km, weather, 80% of atmosphere mass, 15 – (-50) degrees celsius, inherently unstable
Stratosphere: T goes up w/ altitude
Mesosphere: T goes down w/ altitude
Thermosphere: T goes up w/ altitude, absorb photons, up to 1500 degrees celsius, low heat content
What are the four main physical characteristics of the atmosphere that are measured to define the weather?
What is the difference between temperature and heat?
Temperature: average kinetic energy of a body
Heat: total kinetic energy of the atoms in a body
What does an isobar represent on a weather map?
Line of equal pressure
If you use a mercury barometer to measure pressure, for what three things must you correct?
The spacing of isobars on a weather map is a representation of what type of force?
Pressure Gradient
What do specific humidity, relative humidity, and dew point measure?
Humidity: measures the amount of moisture (water) in the air
Specific Humidity: the mass of water in the given mass of air
Dew Point: the temperature at which the air is at 100% relative humitidy
What is the difference between sensible and latent heat?
Sensible: heat that changes temperature of the object
Latent: changes the phase of the object (no change in temperature)
What are the three ways that air which is undersaturated with respect to water can become saturated?
Saturation: evaporation and condensation are equal
Add water
Mix cold air with warm moist air
Lower temperature to dew point
What are the names of the two processes by which the temperature of air can change and how is each process defined?
Diabetic: removal or input of heat, common in forming fog
Adiabetic: no heat exchange, results from expansion or contraction, forms higher clouds