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119 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
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The characteristic of the atmosphere that is the most uniform is ....
Oxygen – Nitrogen content
The region of the atmosphere that gains its heat primarily from the presence of ozone is the ...
To have an Earth with no seasons, the only thing that would have to be changed is its....
inclination axis to 0 degrees
Objects that are good absorbers of radiant energy are also good emitters ..

Correct or Wrong?
Wrong. Wavelength is dependent on the electromagnetic spectrum and not temperature.
An example of something that does not control local weather would be ...
incoming solar radiation.
The annual temperature range at most latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere is much smaller than that in the Northern Hemisphere. The reason for this is .....
that there is a greater percentage of water surface in the Southern Hemisphere.
Latent heat occurs at what temperature for ice water?
0 Degrees Celcius
Heat that is used to melt the ice does not raise the water’s temperature. This is referred to as latent heat and occurs for ice-water mixture at 0 Degrees Celsius.
If an air parcel had 100% relative humidity and then experienced a drop in temperature, what would occur?
Condensation would occur.

When air cools below the temperature of saturation the water vapor will condense to form liquid droplets. Thus clouds form in moisture laden air that is cooled aloft.
A process that would NOT force air to rise is...
Atmospheric stability is a property of air that determines whether it will remain in its original position or rise.
A tendency for a parcel of air rise without outside forcing is called?
Absolute instability - is limited to near the Earth’s surface.
Nimbostratus clouds would fall into the classification of ....
Low Clouds.
The Bergeron process explains the formation of....
Ice Crystals in clouds.
Ice crystals grow at the expense of cloud droplets. When they get large enough they fall at it snows.
Winds are controlled by...
1. a pressure – gradient force.
2. Coriolis effect.
3. friction with Earth’s surface

Upper level winds have no interaction with the Earth’s surface as do those at lower elevations.
The Coriolis effect is ....
affects only the direction of movement.
The deserts of Australia, Arabia, and North Africa exist due to .....
descending air of the subtropical high.

The subsidence and adiabatic heating of the air at 30 degree latitude (subtropical high) causes stable dry conditions that cause the great deserts.
At night, land cools more rapidly than the sea causing ....
cooler, denser air to move offshore.

As the cooler air moves offshore it generates a land breeze.
La Niña is associated with....
strong trade winds .

large low pressure system over Indonesia and Australia .

strong westward flowing equatorial currents .

large fisheries off the coast of Peru
La Niña is NOT associated with ...
strong eastward flowing equatorial counter current.

La Niña is considered the opposite of the atmospheric phenomenon known as El Niño.
What is not influenced by continental land masses?
incoming solar radiation .

It is the tilt of the Earth that influences the amount of solar radiation that hits the surface of the Earth.
What is NOT part of the classification scheme for basic types of air masses?
tropical polar .
A warm front ....
forms when warm air overrides cold air.
Precipitation is moderate and occurs near the front.
For middle latitudes a low pressure system will....
have counterclockwise circulation in the Northern Hemisphere.
Middle-latitude cyclones are centers of low pressure, traveling west to east and have airflow inward towards their centers
Thunderstorms are ....
caused by upward movement of warm moist air.
Strong updrafts build the storm. When the warm updrafts diminish, the cloud begins to dissipate.
What is true about tornadoes?
They are spawned off middle-latitude cyclones.
Tornado season is in early spring and most tornadoes occur in the mid-west. These intense short-lived intense storms usually form off cyclones.
Hurricanes, the greatest storms on Earth, are fueled by ....
Latent Heat of Condensation.
Fueled by the latent heat of water vapor condensation, to initiate a hurricane warm, moisture-laden air is needed.
Which of the Köppen classification of world climate patterns is NOT defined by temperature characteristics?
B climate .
B climate (Dry) is defined by precipitation.
"A" climates (Humid tropical) are distinguished by ....
Seasonal Rainfall.
"A" Climates are winterless, but have a rainy season.
Absent in Southern Hemisphere, this climate has severe winters with mean temperatures of -3 Degrees C and warm months > 10 Degrees C....
Humid middle-latitude climate (D)
D climates occur in the interiors of large continents.
Humans have modified the environment by....
1. deforestation.
2. over grazing.
3. burning of fossil fuels.
This is just a partial list of how humans have modified the environment.
An example of a negative feedback mechanism for global warming is ....
increased albedo with cloud cover .
What is NOT a consequence of global warming?
decreased sea level.
is the state of the atmosphere at a particular place for a short period of time.
is a generalization of the weather conditions of a place over a long period of time.
Quantities or properties that are measured regularly, of weather and climate are ....
1) air temperature
(2) humidity
(3) type and amount of cloudiness, (4) type and amount of precipitation
(5) air pressure
(6) the speed and direction of the wind.
If water vapor, dust, and other variable components of the atmosphere were removed, clean, dry air would be composed almost entirely of ....
nitrogen (N), about 78% of the atmosphere by volume, and oxygen (O2) about 21%.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is important because..
it has the ability to absorb heat radiated by Earth and thus helps keep the atmosphere warm.
Water Vapor is very important because .....
it is the source of all clouds and precipitation and, like carbon dioxide, it is also a heat absorber.
Ozone (O3) is the....
triatomic form of oxygen, is concentrated in the 10- to 50-kilometer altitude range of the atmosphere, and is important to life because of its ability to absorb potentially harmful ultraviolet radiation from the Sun.
Troposphere is the....
lowermost layer. In the troposphere, temperature usually decreases with increasing altitude.
Environmental Lapse Rate...
is variable, but averages about 6.5°C per kilometer (3.5°F per 1000 feet). Essentially all important weather phenomena occur in the troposphere.
Above the Troposphere is the Stratosphere -
which exhibits warming because of absorption of ultraviolet radiation by ozone.
Upward from the Mesosphere is the Thermosphere -
a layer with only a tiny fraction of the atmosphere's mass and no well-defined upper limit.
The two principal motions of Earth:
Rotation & Revolution
Rotation -
the spinning of Earth about its axis, which produces the daily cycle of daylight and darkness.
Revolution -
the movement of Earth in its orbit around the Sun.
Several factors act together to cause the seasons:
Earth’s axis is inclined 23 1/2° from the perpendicular to the plane of its orbit around the Sun and remains pointed in the same direction (toward the North Star) as Earth's journeys around the Sun. As a consequence, Earth's orientation to the Sun continually changes. The yearly fluctuations in the angle of the Sun and length of daylight brought about by Earth’s changing orientation to the Sun cause the seasons.
The three mechanisms of heat transfer are:
Conduction, Convection, and Radiation
Conduction :
the transfer of heat through matter by molecular activity.
Convection :
the transfer of heat by the movement of a mass or substance from one place to another.
Radiation :
the transfer of heat by electromagnetic waves.
Electromagnetic radiation:
is energy emitted in the form of rays, called electromagnetic waves. All radiation is capable of transmitting energy through the vacuum of space.
An important difference among electromagnetic waves is their wavelengths, which range from very long radio waves to very short gamma rays.
Visible light :
is the only portion of the electromagnetic spectrum we can see.
Basic Laws That Govern Radiation as it heats the atmosphere :
(1) all objects emit radiant energy (2) hotter objects radiate more total energy than do colder objects
(3) the hotter the radiating body the shorter the wavelengths of maximum radiation
(4) objects that are good absorbers of radiation are good emitters as well.
The general drop in temperature with increasing altitude in the troposphere supports the fact that :
the atmosphere is heated from the ground up.
Approximately 50 percent of the solar energy that strikes the top of the atmosphere is ultimately absorbed at Earth's surface.
Earth emits the absorbed radiation in the form of long-wave radiation. The atmospheric absorption of this long-wave terrestrial radiation, primarily by water vapor and carbon dioxide, is responsible for heating the atmosphere.
The factors that cause temperature to vary from place to place, also called :
controls of temperature
Controls of Temperature :
(1) differences in the receipt of solar radiation—the greatest single cause
(2) the unequal heating and cooling of land and water, in which land heats more rapidly and to higher temperatures than water and cools more rapidly and to lower temperatures than water
(3) altitude
(4) geographic position
(5) cloud cover and albedo
(6) ocean currents.
Water Vapor :
an odorless, colorless gas, changes from one state of matter (solid, liquid, or gas) to another at the temperatures and pressures experienced near Earth's surface.
Processes Involved :
evaporation, condensation, melting, freezing, sublimation, and deposition. During each change, latent (hidden) heat is either absorbed or released.
Humidity :
is the general term to describe the amount of water vapor in the air.
The methods used to express humidity quantitatively include :
mixing ratio, vapor pressure, relative humidity, and dew point
Mixing Ratio :
the mass of water vapor in a unit of air compared to the remaining mass of dry air.
Vapor Pressure :
that part of the total atmospheric pressure attributable to its water-vapor content.
Relative Humidity :
the ratio of the air's actual water-vapor content compared with the amount of water vapor required for saturation at that temperature.
Dew Point :
that temperature to which a parcel of air would need to be cooled to reach saturation.
When air is saturated, the pressure exerted by the water vapor, called the...
Saturation Vapor Pressure
Saturation Vapor Pressure :
produces a balance between the number of water molecules leaving the surface of the water and the number returning.
Relative humidity can be changed in two ways.
One is by adding or subtracting water vapor. The second is by changing the air's temperature. When air is cooled, its relative humidity increases.
The difference in the wet and dry adiabatic rates is caused by the condensing water vapor releasing ....
latent heat, thereby reducing the rate at which the air cools.
Four mechanisms that can initiate the vertical movement of air are ....
1) orographic lifting
2) frontal wedging, when cool air acts as a barrier over which warmer, less dense air rises
3) convergence, which happens when air flows together and a general upward movement of air occurs
4) localized convective lifting, which occurs when unequal surface heating causes pockets of air to rise because of their buoyancy.
Stability of Air...
is determined by examining the temperature of the atmosphere at various altitudes
For condensation to occur, air must be saturated....
Saturation takes place either when air is cooled to its dew point, which most commonly happens, or when water vapor is added to the air. There must also be a surface on which the water vapor can condense.
Clouds are classified on ...
the basis of their appearance and height.
The three basic forms of clouds are ....
cirrus (high, white, thin, wispy fibers)

cumulus (globular, individual cloud masses)

stratus (sheets or layers that cover much or all of the sky).

The four categories based on height are high clouds (bases normally above 6000 meters), middle clouds (from 2000 to 6000 meters), low clouds (below 2000 meters), and clouds of vertical development.
Fog is defined :
as a cloud with its base at or very near the ground. Fogs form when air is cooled below its dew point or when enough water vapor is added to the air to bring about saturation.
Various types of fog :
advection fog, radiation fog, upslope fog, steam fog, and frontal (or precipitation) fog.
For precipitation to form:
millions of cloud droplets must somehow join together into large drops.
Forms of precipitation include :
rain, snow, sleet, freezing rain (glaze), hail, and rime.
Air pressure is :
the force exerted by the weight of air above.
With increasing altitude there is less air above to exert a force, and thus air pressure decreases with altitude, rapidly at first, then much more slowly.
Isobars are
lines on a weather map that connect places of equal air pressure.
A mercury barometer :
measures air pressure using a column of mercury in a glass tube that is sealed at one end and inverted in a dish of mercury.
As air pressure increases, the mercury in the tube rises; conversely, when air pressure decreases, so does the height of the column of mercury. A mercury barometer measures atmospheric pressure in inches of mercury.
Upper-air winds, called :
geostrophic winds
The two types of pressure centers are :
cyclones, or lows (centers of low pressure), and anticyclones, or highs (high-pressure centers).
Earth's global pressure zones include :
equatorial low, sub-tropical high, subpolar low, and polar high.
The global surface winds associated with these pressure zones are :
trade winds, westerlies, and polar easterlies.
The seasonal changes in wind direction are known as :
The paths taken by these pressure systems are closely related to upper-level airflow and the polar ...
jet stream
Local winds are :
small-scale winds produced by a locally generated pressure gradient.
Local winds include :
sea and land breezes
valley and mountain breezes chinook and Santa Ana winds (warm, dry winds created when air descends the leeward side of a mountain and warms by compression).
The two basic wind measurements are:
direction and speed.
Winds are always labeled by the direction from which they blow.

Wind direction is measured with a..
wind vane
and wind speed is measured using :
cup anemometer
El Niño is the name given to the periodic warming of the ocean that occurs ....
in the central and eastern Pacific. It is associated with periods when a weakened pressure gradient causes the trade winds to diminish. A major El Niño event triggers extreme weather in many parts of the world.
When surface temperatures in the eastern Pacific are colder than average.....
La Niña event is triggered. A typical La Niña winter blows colder-than-normal air over the Pacific Northwest and the northern Great Plains while warming much of the rest of the United States.
An air mass :
is a large body of air, usually 1600 kilometers (1000 miles) or more across, which is characterized by a sameness of temperature and moisture at any given altitude.
Air masses are classified according to:
(1) the nature of the surface in the source region.
(2) the latitude of the source region.
Continental (c) designates an air mass of ...
land origin, with the air likely to be dry.
maritime (m) air mass originates...
over water, and therefore will be humid.
Polar (P) air masses originate in ....
high latitudes and are cold.
Tropical (T) air masses form ...
in low latitudes and are warm.
Fronts are...
boundaries that separate air masses of different densities, one warmer and often higher in moisture content than the other.
A warm front occurs when...
the surface position of the front moves so that warm air occupies territory formerly covered by cooler air.
A cold front forms ....
where cold air is actively advancing into a region occupied by warmer air.
Thunderstorms are caused by
the upward movement of warm, moist, unstable air, triggered by a number of different processes.
They are associated with cumulonimbus clouds that generate heavy rainfall, thunder, lightning, and occasionally hail and tornadoes.
Tornadoes :
destructive, local storms of short duration, are violent windstorms associated with severe thunderstorms that take the form of a rotating column of air that extends downward from a cumulonimbus cloud.
Hurricanes :
the greatest storms on Earth, are tropical cyclones with wind speeds in excess of 119 kilometers (74 miles) per hour. These complex tropical disturbances develop over tropical ocean waters and are fueled by the latent heat liberated when huge quantities of water vapor condense.
Hurricanes form most often in late summer when ocean-surface temperatures reach 27°C (80°F) or higher and thus are able to provide the necessary heat and moisture to the air.
Climate is the..
aggregate of weather conditions for a place or region over a long period of time. Earth's climate system involves the exchanges of energy and moisture that occur among the atmosphere, hydrosphere, solid Earth, biosphere, and cryosphere (the ice and snow that exist at Earth's surface).
Climate classification brings order to large quantities of information...
Temperature and precipitation are the most important elements in a climatic description.
Five principal climate groups, each with subdivisions, were recognized. Each group is designated by a capital letter. Four of the climate groups (A, C, D, and E) are defined on the basis of temperature characteristics, and the fifth, the B group, has precipitation as its primary criterion.
The boundaries Köppen chose were largely based on the limits of certain plant associations.
Humid tropical (A) climates are .....
climates are winterless, with all months having a mean temperature above 18°C. Wet tropical climates (Af and Am), which lie near the equator, have constantly high temperatures and enough rainfall to support the most luxuriant vegetation (tropical rain forest) found in any climatic realm.
Dry (B) climates, in which ...
the yearly precipitation is less than the potential loss of water by evaporation, are subdivided into two types: arid or desert (BW) and semiarid or steppe (BS).
Middle-latitude deserts and steppes exist principally because of their position in the deep interiors of large landmasses far removed from the ocean. Because many middle-latitude deserts occupy sites on the leeward sides of mountains, they can also be classified as rain shadow deserts.
(C climates) ....
the average temperature of the coldest month is below 18°C but above -3°C. Several C climate subgroups exist. Humid subtropical climates (Cfa) are located on the eastern sides of the continents, in the 25- to 40-degree latitude range.

Middle-latitude climates with mild winters.
Summer weather is hot and sultry, and winters are mild. In North America, the marine west coast climate (Cfb, Cfc) extends from near the U.S.–Canada border northward as a narrow belt into southern Alaska.
(D climates)...
Humid middle-latitude climates with severe winters..

are land-controlled climates that are absent in the Southern Hemisphere. The D climates have severe winters.

The average temperature of the coldest month is -3°C or below, and the warmest monthly mean exceeds 10°C.
Polar (E) climates are ....
summerless, with the average temperature of the warmest month below 10°C.
Two types of polar climates are recognized. The tundra climate (ET) is a treeless climate found almost exclusively in the Northern Hemisphere. The ice cap climate (EF) does not have a single monthly mean above 0°C.
Compared to nearby places of lower elevation, highland climates are...
cooler and usually wetter. Because atmospheric conditions fluctuate rapidly with changes in altitude and exposure, these climates are best described by their variety and changeability....
Humans have been modifying the environment for thousands of years. By altering ground cover with the use of fire and the overgrazing of land, people have modified such important climatological factors as surface albedo, evaporation rates, and surface winds.
By adding carbon dioxide and other trace gases (methane, nitrous oxide, and chlorofluorocarbons) to the atmosphere, humans may be contributing significantly to global warming.
Climate-feedback mechanisms.-
When any component of the climate system is altered, scientists must consider the many possible outcomes.
Positive-feedback mechanisms -
Changes that reinforce the initial change.
Potential consequences of global warming -
1) altering the distribution of the world's water resources and therefore the productivity of agricultural regions that depend on rivers for irrigation

(2) a probable rise in sea level, and

(3) a change in weather patterns, such as a higher frequency and greater intensity of hurricanes and shifts in the paths of large-scale cyclonic storms.