Atmospheric Circulation and Weather System
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- The Earth’s atmosphere is a dynamic and interconnected system that undergoes constant motion and circulation, shaping the climate and weather patterns across the globe. Atmospheric circulation refers to the large-scale movement of air around the planet, driven primarily by the uneven heating of the Earth’s surface by the sun. This intricate system plays a pivotal role in determining weather conditions, influencing everything from temperature and precipitation to the formation of storms and cyclones.
Atmospheric Circulation and Weather System – Lec 7
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Atmospheric Circulation and Weather System
Let’s expand the table to include more detailed information on atmospheric pressure:
|Atmospheric Pressure||The force exerted per unit area by the weight of the air above that point in the atmosphere. It is crucial for understanding weather patterns and atmospheric dynamics.|
|Standard Atmospheric Pressure||At sea level, standard atmospheric pressure is approximately 1013.25 hPa (hectopascals) or 29.92 inches of mercury (inHg). This standard serves as a reference for meteorological measurements.|
|Units||hPa (hectopascals), atm (atmospheres), inHg (inches of mercury), psi (pounds per square inch). Different units are used in various contexts, with hPa being common in meteorology.|
|Variability with Altitude||Atmospheric pressure decreases exponentially with increasing altitude due to the decreasing density of air. The barometric formula describes this relationship.|
|Measurement Instruments||Barometer (mercury, aneroid, electronic), manometer, and pressure sensors. Barometers measure atmospheric pressure, crucial for weather forecasting.|
|Sea Level Pressure||The pressure that would exist at sea level at a specific location, is used as a reference for weather maps and forecasts. Sea level pressure allows for standardized comparisons across different locations.|
|High-Pressure Systems||Areas where atmospheric pressure is higher than the surrounding areas. Associated with stable weather conditions, clear skies, and light winds.|
|Low-Pressure Systems||Areas where atmospheric pressure is lower than the surrounding areas. Associated with unstable weather conditions, cloud formation, and precipitation.|
|Isobars||Lines on a weather map connecting points of equal atmospheric pressure. Closely spaced isobars indicate strong pressure gradients, indicative of potential weather disturbances.|
|Millibar (MB)||A unit of pressure equal to one-thousandth of a bar is commonly used in meteorology. 1 mb is approximately equal to 1 hPa.|
|Pressure Tendency||The rate at which atmospheric pressure changes over time, provides valuable information for short-term weather forecasting. A falling pressure may indicate approaching storms.|
|High-Pressure Belt||Regions near 30 degrees latitude where descending air creates areas of high pressure, contributing to arid conditions and deserts such as the Sahara.|
|Low-Pressure Belt||Regions near the equator and 60 degrees latitude where ascending air creates areas of low pressure, contributing to moist conditions and rainforests.|
|Subtropical Highs||Semi-permanent high-pressure systems located over the oceans near 30 degrees latitude, influence climate and trade wind patterns.|
|Polar Highs||High-pressure systems near the poles are associated with cold, dense air masses. They contribute to the formation of polar easterlies.|
|Tropospheric Pressure Gradient||The change in pressure over a given horizontal distance in the troposphere. This gradient influences wind speed and direction, creating the dynamics of atmospheric circulation.|
|Effects on Boiling Point||As atmospheric pressure decreases with altitude, water boils at lower temperatures. This phenomenon is exploited in high-altitude cooking and has implications for the boiling point of liquids in mountainous regions.|
|Relationship with Temperature||In general, warmer air masses are associated with lower pressure, and cooler air masses are associated with higher pressure. Understanding this relationship helps in analyzing weather patterns and fronts.|
|Pressure Systems in Weather||High-pressure systems generally bring fair weather, while low-pressure systems are associated with clouds, precipitation, and storms. Understanding these systems is vital for weather prediction and hazard preparedness.|
This expanded table provides a more detailed and informative overview of atmospheric pressure, including its measurement, variations, and its role in influencing weather patterns and systems.
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Here’s a table summarizing the horizontal distribution of key atmospheric properties:
|Temperature||Varied horizontally due to factors like latitude, altitude, proximity to oceans or continents, and ocean currents. Generally, temperatures are warmer at the equator and colder at the poles. Seasonal variations are also prominent.|
|Pressure||Horizontal distribution is influenced by latitude and general circulation patterns. High-pressure systems often develop over continents, while low-pressure systems are common over oceans.|
|Wind Patterns||Governed by the general circulation cells (Hadley, Ferrel, Polar). Trade winds blow from east to west near the equator, westerlies from west to east in the mid-latitudes, and polar easterlies from east to west near the poles.|
|Humidity||Varies with proximity to water bodies. Coastal areas generally experience higher humidity, while continental interiors may be drier. Humidity also changes seasonally.|
|Precipitation||Influenced by air masses, prevailing winds, and topography. Rainfall is often higher on windward sides of mountain ranges and in areas with converging air masses. Deserts may form on the leeward sides.|
|Cloud Cover||Varies with the presence of moisture and atmospheric instability. Clouds often form along frontal boundaries, in areas of uplift, and in regions with high humidity.|
|Topography Influence||Mountains can significantly influence weather patterns. Windward sides of mountains experience orographic uplift and enhanced precipitation, while leeward sides may be in rain shadows, experiencing drier conditions.|
|Ocean Currents||Play a crucial role in moderating temperatures along coastal regions. Warm currents can raise temperatures, while cold currents can have a cooling effect. Influence regional climates and precipitation patterns.|
|Climate Zones||Earth is divided into climate zones (tropical, subtropical, temperate, polar) based on latitude and temperature. These zones dictate the general climate characteristics of different regions.|
|Weather Fronts||Boundaries between air masses of different temperatures and humidity. Fronts can bring changes in weather conditions, with warm fronts leading to rising temperatures and cold fronts bringing cooler conditions.|
|Monsoons||Seasonal wind patterns that bring heavy rainfall. Monsoons are common in regions like South Asia, where the direction of prevailing winds changes seasonally.|
|Jet Streams||Fast-flowing, narrow air currents in the upper atmosphere influence weather patterns. Their meandering paths can impact the development and movement of weather systems.|
|Climatic Patterns||Long-term weather patterns are influenced by factors like latitude, ocean currents, prevailing winds, and topography. Examples include the Mediterranean climate and the desert climate.|
This table provides a snapshot of how various atmospheric properties and phenomena are distributed horizontally across the Earth’s surface, illustrating the complex interplay of factors that contribute to regional and global weather patterns.
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