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Atmospheric Circulation and Weather Systems. Take-Away Points 1.Weather is driven by unequal solar heating and cooling 2.Air motions are affected by the.

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Presentation on theme: "Atmospheric Circulation and Weather Systems. Take-Away Points 1.Weather is driven by unequal solar heating and cooling 2.Air motions are affected by the."— Presentation transcript:

1 Atmospheric Circulation and Weather Systems

2 Take-Away Points 1.Weather is driven by unequal solar heating and cooling 2.Air motions are affected by the Coriolis Effect and centrifugal force 3.High and Low Pressure Systems 4.Air flows parallel to pressure contours (Geostrophic winds) 5.Air masses meet along sharp boundaries or fronts 6.Weather is inherently chaotic and that limits our ability to forecast it

3 The Seasons

4 Heat Lag 1. Weather is driven by unequal solar heating and cooling

5 Heat Lag

6 Atmospheric Circulation 1. Weather is driven by unequal solar heating and cooling

7 Atmospheric Circulation 1. Weather is driven by unequal solar heating and cooling

8 Asymmetric Earth 1. Weather is driven by unequal solar heating and cooling

9 Asymmetric Earth 1. Weather is driven by unequal solar heating and cooling

10 Atmospheric Circulation 1. Weather is driven by unequal solar heating and cooling

11 Zonal and Meridional Flow 1. Weather is driven by unequal solar heating and cooling

12 Semi-Permanent Features, January 1. Weather is driven by unequal solar heating and cooling

13 Semi-Permanent Features, July 1. Weather is driven by unequal solar heating and cooling

14 Rotation Effects 2. Air motions are affected by the Coriolis Effect and centrifugal force

15 The Coriolis Effect Due to moving on a rotating earth Things on equator are moving faster than points near poles Affects: – Winds – Ocean Currents – Tides 2. Air motions are affected by the Coriolis Effect and centrifugal force

16 The Coriolis Effect Things moving toward the equator are deflected west Things moving poleward are deflected east Deflected to Right in Northern Hemisphere Deflected to Left in Southern Hemisphere 2. Air motions are affected by the Coriolis Effect and centrifugal force

17 The Coriolis Effect 2. Air motions are affected by the Coriolis Effect and centrifugal force

18 The Coriolis Effect 2. Air motions are affected by the Coriolis Effect and centrifugal force

19 The Coriolis Effect 2. Air motions are affected by the Coriolis Effect and centrifugal force

20 Inertial Circles 2. Air motions are affected by the Coriolis Effect and centrifugal force

21 Centrifugal Force ? 2. Air motions are affected by the Coriolis Effect and centrifugal force

22 Or No Force? 2. Air motions are affected by the Coriolis Effect and centrifugal force

23 Centrifugal Force Does Not Exist When anything turns, the only forces that act are in the direction of the turn These forces are called centripetal (center- seeking) force Centrifugal force is an illusion Centrifugal force is due to inertia and centripetal force opposing each other 2. Air motions are affected by the Coriolis Effect and centrifugal force

24 High Pressure Systems 3. High and Low Pressure Systems

25 High Pressure Systems Air flows out from center Spin clockwise in Northern Hemisphere No air mixing Stable, fair weather Sinking Air, few clouds Long duration can result in inversions, pollution Winter: often extreme cold – Cold Air is Dense – Clear Skies and Radiational Cooling 3. High and Low Pressure Systems

26 Low Pressure Systems 3. High and Low Pressure Systems

27 Why Counterclockwise? 3. High and Low Pressure Systems

28 Low Pressure Systems Air flows in toward center Spin counter-clockwise in Northern Hemisphere Mixes air of different properties Associated with fronts Stormy, sometimes violent weather Passage often results in sharp change in weather conditions 3. High and Low Pressure Systems

29 Geostrophic Winds As air flows in or out of pressure cells, Coriolis Effect deflects it At surface, friction limits the deflection. – Winds blow about 45 degree angles to isobars Aloft, friction not a factor – Deflection continues until limited by pressure gradient (winds cant go against pressure) – Winds blow parallel to contours – This is called geostrophic flow 4. Air flows parallel to pressure contours (Geostrophic winds)

30 Geostrophic Flow

31

32 4. Air flows parallel to pressure contours (Geostrophic winds)

33 1905 Weather Map of US

34 First U.S. Weather Map With Fronts

35 Fronts and Low Pressure Systems 5. Air masses meet along sharp boundaries or fronts

36 Fronts 5. Air masses meet along sharp boundaries or fronts

37 Warm Fronts 5. Air masses meet along sharp boundaries or fronts

38 Warm Fronts Gradual Onset Warm Air over Cool Air Little Turbulence Weather Rarely Violent 5. Air masses meet along sharp boundaries or fronts

39 Cold Fronts 5. Air masses meet along sharp boundaries or fronts

40 Cold Fronts Abrupt Onset Cold Air Lifting Warm Air Considerable Turbulence Weather Sometimes Violent Thunderstorms Common Can Spawn Tornadoes 5. Air masses meet along sharp boundaries or fronts

41 Old Low Pressure Systems 5. Air masses meet along sharp boundaries or fronts

42 Occluded Fronts 5. Air masses meet along sharp boundaries or fronts

43 Occluded Fronts Two fronts merge Any two types of front can occlude Most common: Cold Front overtakes Warm Front Starts off like a warm front, finishes like a cold front 5. Air masses meet along sharp boundaries or fronts

44 Weather Prediction 5. Air masses meet along sharp boundaries or fronts

45 Weather Prediction 5. Air masses meet along sharp boundaries or fronts

46 Weather Prediction 5. Air masses meet along sharp boundaries or fronts

47 Chaos x

48 Chaos Theory Does Not Mean: Cloned Dinosaurs will run amok Systems do not follow physical laws Systems behave with wild unpredictability Systems do not have limits Phenomena cannot be predicted 6. Weather is inherently chaotic and that limits our ability to forecast it

49 Chaos Theory Does Mean: Small differences compound over time There are limits to how accurately phenomena can be predicted Examples: – Weather – The Planets – Traffic 6. Weather is inherently chaotic and that limits our ability to forecast it


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