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Water in the Atmosphere
H 2 O exists in atmosphere in all three states of matter…
Solid: snow hail ice
Liquid: rain and cloud droplets
Gas: invisible H2OH2O vapor
H 2 O may change from one state to another:
Melting: from solid ice to liquid H 2 O
Freezing: liquid H 2 O to solid ice
Evaporation: from liquid H 2 O to H 2 O vapor
Condensation: from H 2 O vapor to liquid H 2 O
Sublimation: change from solid to H 2 O vapor Example: Dry ice
Water vapor enters the atmosphere from the evaporation of water from oceans, lakes, marshes and glaciers
Dew point: the temperature at which water vapor condenses Dew, clouds, and fog forms If dew point is below freezing, frost will form
Warmer the air, the more H 2 O vapor it can hold Humidity: water vapor in the air Relative humidity: the % of moisture the air can hold relative to the amount it can hold at a certain temperature
Relative humidity=specific humidity X 100 capacity (saturated)
Psychrometer: instruments used to measure relative humidity Works on principle that evaporation causes cooling 2 thermometers…wet- bulb and dry-bulb Readings show how dry the air is
Clouds: simply high fogs, mist, or haze Form when air above surface cools below dew point Shape depends on air movement that forms it
-horizontal air movement = layers -vertical air movement = piles
Temperature above freezing – clouds drop water Temperature below freezing – clouds drop snow crystals
Precipitation: Water that falls from the atmosphere to the earth Occurs when cloud droplets grow into drops heavy enough to fall to Earth
Acid precipitation: acid drops that fall to the ground - contain nitrate and sulfate particles that come from burning fuels, volcanoes and cars
Cloud seeding: method to cause an increase in precipitation
Condensation nuclei: suspended particles that provide the necessary surfaces for cloud forming condensation.
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