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Chapter 6: Air Pressure and Winds Atmospheric pressure Atmospheric pressure Surface and upper-air Surface and upper-air charts charts Why the wind blows.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 6: Air Pressure and Winds Atmospheric pressure Atmospheric pressure Surface and upper-air Surface and upper-air charts charts Why the wind blows."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 6: Air Pressure and Winds Atmospheric pressure Atmospheric pressure Surface and upper-air Surface and upper-air charts charts Why the wind blows Why the wind blows Surface winds Surface winds Winds and vertical Winds and vertical air motions air motions Determining wind direction and speed Determining wind direction and speed 1

2 Atmospheric Pressure air pressure at a given level is the weight of the air above air pressure at a given level is the weight of the air above air pressure and temperature air pressure and temperature P = ρRT (where R is a constant) P = ρRT (where R is a constant) at constant P, cold parcel is denser; at constant P, cold parcel is denser; at constant T, higher P means denser air; at constant T, higher P means denser air; at constant density, higher P means higher air T at constant density, higher P means higher air T P = ρRT, higher T always leads to higher P Q: Because P = ρRT, higher T always leads to higher P a) true, b) false a) true, b) false Q: When we say “warmer air parcel is less dense and hence would rise”, the implicit assumption is a) Parcel pressure is the same as the environment; b) Parcel pressure is higher; c) parcel pressure is lower 2

3 Same density 3

4 Q: Which statement is correct? a) Warm air leads to high pressure in the mid-troposphere; b) Cold air lead to high pressure in the mid-troposphere Q: Which statement is correct? a) It takes a shorter column of colder air to exert the same surface pressure b) It takes a taller column of colder air to exert the same surface pressure Q: Air flows from high pressure to low pressure at the same altitude. a) true, b) false 4

5 Measuring air pressure mercury barometer mercury barometer digital barometer in weather observations digital barometer in weather observations Standard atmospheric pressure: mb = hPa = in.Hg 5

6 Pressure Readings station pressure: surface P at specific location station pressure: surface P at specific location if mercury barometer is used, corrections of if mercury barometer is used, corrections of temperature, gravity, and instrument error (surface tension of mercury) are needed temperature, gravity, and instrument error (surface tension of mercury) are needed sea-level pressure: obtained from station P with sea-level pressure: obtained from station P with corrections of altitude using corrections of altitude using 1 mb pressure increase for 10 m elevation decrease 1 mb pressure increase for 10 m elevation decrease Isobars Isobars constant pressure contour constant pressure contour Q: If 1 mb change corresponds to 10 m in height change near surface, what would 1 mb change correspond to in mid-troposphere? a) > 10 m, b) 10 m, c) < 10 m 6

7 Q: If surface pressure is 952 mb at 600 m above sea level, its sea level pressure is: a) 892 mb, b) 952 mb, c) 1012mb, d) 1552 mb Q: if surface pressure is 1032 mb at 100 m below sea level, what is the sea level pressure? Q: if sea level pressure is 1009 mb, what is the surface pressure at 300 m above sea level? 7

8 Q: Can two isobars drawn on a surface weather map ever intersect? a)yes, b)no 8

9 Surface and Upper Air Charts Surface map: isobars, high (H), low (L), cross-isobar flow Surface map: isobars, high (H), low (L), cross-isobar flow (note: sea level pressure is shown) (note: sea level pressure is shown) 500 mb map: height contour lines, ridges, troughs, 500 mb map: height contour lines, ridges, troughs, flow parallel to height contours flow parallel to height contours (note: height above sea level at constant 500 mb is shown) (note: height above sea level at constant 500 mb is shown) 9

10 The thickness between two pressure levels (or the height above sea level at a given pressure) is proportional to the average temperature of this layer: the higher the temperature, the greater the height. Q: Since the height at 500 mb is higher in the south than in the north, the pressure in the south is: a) great than that in the north, b) equal that in the north, c) less than that in the north 10

11 Q: Assuming pressure at point A is higher than that at B at the same height (e.g., around 5500 m), a) 500 mb height at A is greater than that at B; b) 500 mb height at A is less than that at B; c) 500 mb height at A is the same as that at B Q: Assuming pressure at point A is higher than that at B at the same height (e.g., around 5500 m), air temperature is a) higher at A; b) higher at B; c) equal at A and B Q: Why do height contours decrease in value from south to north? A B 11

12 Why the Wind Blows Newton’s first law of motion Newton’s first law of motion An object at rest (or in motion) will remain at rest (or in motion) as long as no force is exerted on the object An object at rest (or in motion) will remain at rest (or in motion) as long as no force is exerted on the object Newton’s second law of motion Newton’s second law of motion F = ma (force = mass times the acceleration) F = ma (force = mass times the acceleration) acceleration could be change of speed or direction acceleration could be change of speed or direction Four forces include pressure gradient force, Coriolis force, centripetal force (or its opposite, centrifugal force), and friction Four forces include pressure gradient force, Coriolis force, centripetal force (or its opposite, centrifugal force), and friction Q: if F = 0, does the object still move? a) yes, if it was moving; b) no, if it was at rest; c) both a) and b) 12

13 Forces that Influence the Wind net force and fluid movement net force and fluid movement Wind is the result of a balance of several forces.Wind is the result of a balance of several forces. 13

14 Pressure Gradient Force pressure gradient (pressure difference/distance) pressure gradient (pressure difference/distance) pressure gradient force (PGF) (from high to low pressure) pressure gradient force (PGF) (from high to low pressure) strength and direction of the pressure gradient force strength and direction of the pressure gradient force The horizontal (rather than the vertical) pressure gradient force is responsible for air movement.The horizontal (rather than the vertical) pressure gradient force is responsible for air movement. Q: how to increase PGF? a) increasing pressure difference; b) decreasing distance between isobars; c) both a) and b) 14

15 A Q: What is the wind speed at point A? a) 40 knots; b) 40 miles/hour; c) 40 km/hour Q: where is the wind strongest in the right figure (A, B, C, or D)? A D C B 15

16 Coriolis Force Real and apparent forces Real and apparent forces Coriolis force is an apparent force due to earth’s rotation Coriolis force is an apparent force due to earth’s rotation Its strength increases with the object’s speed, earth rotation, and latitude (or more exactly Its strength increases with the object’s speed, earth rotation, and latitude (or more exactly the sine function of latitude) the sine function of latitude) Its direction: Its direction: perpendicular to wind, perpendicular to wind, to the right-hand side over to the right-hand side over Northern Hemisphere (NH), Northern Hemisphere (NH), and to the left over SH and to the left over SH Coriolis force changes the Coriolis force changes the direction only (but not the direction only (but not the wind magnitude) wind magnitude) 16

17 Q: The claim that “water swirls down a bathtub drain in opposite directions in the northern and southern hemispheres” a) is true; b) is false a) is true; b) is false Q: The Coriolis effect is stronger if a) wind speed is faster; b) latitude is higher; a) wind speed is faster; b) latitude is higher; c) both a) and b) c) both a) and b) Q: What are sin(30 o ) and sin(0 o )? 17

18 Straight-line Flow Aloft balance of the pressure gradient and Coriolis forces balance of the pressure gradient and Coriolis forces geostrophic wind: parallel to geostrophic wind: parallel to isobars with low pressure to its isobars with low pressure to its left (or right) in NH (or SH) left (or right) in NH (or SH) good approximation for flow aloft good approximation for flow aloft Geostrophic winds can be observed by watching the movement of clouds.Geostrophic winds can be observed by watching the movement of clouds. 18

19 Curved Winds Around Lows and Highs Aloft cyclonic flow (with low P center) and anticyclonic flow (with high P center): direction opposite in NH versus SH cyclonic flow (with low P center) and anticyclonic flow (with high P center): direction opposite in NH versus SH clockwise and anticlockwise: same direction in NH and SH clockwise and anticlockwise: same direction in NH and SH centripetal force (opposite to centrifugal force) centripetal force (opposite to centrifugal force) gradient wind: balance of PGF, Coriolis and centrifugal forces gradient wind: balance of PGF, Coriolis and centrifugal forces PGF > Co Co > PGF 19

20 Q: what is the direction of PGF? a) from high P to low P; b) from low P to high P; c) depending on NH or SH Q: what is the direction of Coriolis force? a) to the right of movement in NH; b) to the left of movement in NH; c) to the right of movement in SH Q: what is the direction of centrifugal force? a) always outward; b) always inward; c) depending on NH or SH Q: what is the balance of PGF, Co, and Centrifugal forces for SH cyclonic flow? a) PGF = Co + Cen; b) Co = PGF + Cen 20

21 Winds on Upper-level Charts meridional and zonal winds meridional and zonal winds wind is nearly parallel to the height contour wind is nearly parallel to the height contour higher air T yields greater height contour value higher air T yields greater height contour value Height contours on upper-level charts are interpreted in the same way as isobars on surface charts.Height contours on upper-level charts are interpreted in the same way as isobars on surface charts. 21

22 West wind over midlatitudes in NH and SH Q: What is the wind direction for a cyclone over southern hemisphere? a) clockwise, b) anticlockwise, c) either way 22

23 Surface Winds planetary boundary layer: bottom 1 km above surface planetary boundary layer: bottom 1 km above surface Friction: opposite to wind in direction; increases with wind Friction: opposite to wind in direction; increases with wind frictional effects on the wind: slow down wind frictional effects on the wind: slow down wind Wind rotates clockwise from near surface to free atmosphere in the NH Wind rotates clockwise from near surface to free atmosphere in the NH 23

24 Wind always moves cross isobars toward the low pressure center in both NH and SH; it moves outward for the high pressure center. Wind rotates anticlockwise from near surface to free Wind rotates anticlockwise from near surface to free atmosphere in the SH atmosphere in the SH 24

25 Q: draw the three force (PGF, Co, Centrifugal) balance and wind direction for a NH low pressure center. Q: draw the three force (PGF, Co, Centrifugal) balance and wind direction for a SH low pressure center. Q: if surface wind is southwesterly in Tucson, the wind at 2000 m would be a) southerly; b) westerly; c) southwesterly; d) northeasterly 25

26 Winds and Vertical Motions divergence and convergence (right-hand rule) divergence and convergence (right-hand rule) hydrostatic equilibrium (vertical PGF = gravity) hydrostatic equilibrium (vertical PGF = gravity) Q: Vertical PGF is much larger than horizontal PGF. a) true; b) false Q: why does vertical PGF usually not result in upward motion? 26

27 Determining Wind Direction and Speed wind direction: the direction where wind comes from wind direction: the direction where wind comes from prevailing wind: wind direction that occurs most frequently prevailing wind: wind direction that occurs most frequently wind rose wind rose Q: If the wind is southwesterly, the wind direction is a) 45 o ; b) 135 o ; c) 225 o ; d) 315 o a) 45 o ; b) 135 o ; c) 225 o ; d) 315 o 27

28 Wind Instruments wind vane wind vane cup anemometer cup anemometer aerovane aerovane rawinsonde rawinsonde wind profiler wind profiler By observing flags and smoke plumes, our eyes are also effective wind instruments.By observing flags and smoke plumes, our eyes are also effective wind instruments. Q: The arrow of the vane points a) into the wind b) away from the wind 28

29 Wind Power Q: at 14:00 local time, the near-surface wind is a) westerly; b) southerly; c) southwesterly; d) northeasterly 29


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