Presentation on theme: "Chapter 6: Air Pressure and Winds"— Presentation transcript:
1 Chapter 6: Air Pressure and Winds Atmospheric pressureSurface and upper-airchartsWhy the wind blowsSurface windsWinds and verticalair motionsDetermining wind direction and speed
2 Atmospheric Pressureair pressure at a given level is the weight of the air aboveair pressure and temperatureP = ρRT (where R is a constant)at constant P, cold parcel is denser;at constant T, higher P means denser air;at constant density, higher P means higher air TQ: Because P = ρRT, higher T always leads to higher Pa) true, b) falseQ: When we say “warmer air parcel is less dense and hencewould rise”, the implicit assumption isa) Parcel pressure is the same as the environment;b) Parcel pressure is higher; c) parcel pressure is lower
3 SamedensityFigure 6.2: (a) Two air columns, each with identical mass, have the same surface air pressure. (b) Because it takes a shorter column of cold air to exert the same surface pressure as a taller column of warm air, as column 1 cools, it must shrink, and as column 2 warms, it must expand. (c) Because at the same level in the atmosphere there is more air above the H in the warm column than above the L in the cold column, warm air aloft is associated with high pressure and cold air aloft with low pressure. The pressure differences aloft create a force that causes the air to move from a region of higher pressure toward a region of lower pressure. The removal of air from column 2 causes its surface pressure to drop, whereas the addition of air into column 1 causes its surface pressure to rise. (The difference in height between the two columns is greatly exaggerated.)Watch this Active Figure on ThomsonNow website at
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-tropospherea) It takes a shorter column of colder air to exert the same surface pressureb) It takes a taller column of colder air to exert the same surface pressureQ: Air flows from high pressure to low pressure at the same altitude.a) true, b) false
5 Measuring air pressure mercury barometerdigital barometer in weather observationsStandard atmospheric pressure:mb = hPa = in.Hg
6 Pressure Readings station pressure: surface P at specific location if mercury barometer is used, corrections oftemperature, gravity, and instrument error (surface tension of mercury) are neededsea-level pressure: obtained from station P withcorrections of altitude using1 mb pressure increase for 10 m elevation decreaseIsobarsconstant pressure contourQ: 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
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 mbQ: 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?
8 Q: Can two isobars drawn on a surface weather map ever intersect? yes,no
9 Surface and Upper Air Charts Surface map: isobars, high (H), low (L), cross-isobar flow(note: sea level pressure is shown)500 mb map: height contour lines, ridges, troughs,flow parallel to height contours(note: height above sea level at constant 500 mb is shown)
10 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 northThe 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.Figure 2: The area shaded gray in the diagram represents a surface of constant pressure. Because of the changes in air density, a surface of constant pressure rises in warm, less-dense air and lowers in cold, more-dense air. These changes in elevation of a constant pressure (500-mb) surface show up as contour lines on a constant pressure (isobaric) 500-mb map.
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 BQ: Assuming pressure at point A is higher than that at B at the same height (e.g., around 5500 m), air temperature isa) higher at A; b) higher at B; c) equal at A and BQ: Why do height contours decreasein value from south to north?BA
12 Why the Wind Blows 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 objectNewton’s second law of motionF = ma (force = mass times the acceleration)acceleration could be change of speed or directionFour forces include pressure gradient force, Coriolis force, centripetal force (or its opposite, centrifugal force), and frictionQ: 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)
13 Forces that Influence the Wind net force and fluid movementWind is the result of a balance of several forces.
14 Pressure Gradient Force pressure gradient (pressure difference/distance)pressure gradient force (PGF) (from high to low pressure)strength and direction of the pressure gradient forceThe horizontal (rather than the vertical) pressure gradient force is responsible for air movement.Q: how to increase PGF?a) increasing pressuredifference;b) decreasing distancebetween isobars;c) both a) and b)
15 Q: where is the wind strongest in the right figure (A, B, C, or D)? Q: What is the wind speed at point A?a) 40 knots;b) 40 miles/hour;c) 40 km/hourA
16 Coriolis Force Real and apparent forces Coriolis force is an apparent force due to earth’s rotationIts strength increases with the object’s speed, earth rotation, and latitude (or more exactlythe sine function of latitude)Its direction:perpendicular to wind,to the right-hand side overNorthern Hemisphere (NH),and to the left over SHCoriolis force changes thedirection only (but not thewind magnitude)
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 falseQ: The Coriolis effect is stronger ifa) wind speed is faster; b) latitude is higher;c) both a) and b)Q: What are sin(30o) and sin(0o)?Figure 6.14: On nonrotating platform A, the thrown ball moves in a straight line. On platform B, which rotates counterclockwise, the ball continues to move in a straight line. However, platform B is rotating while the ball is in flight; thus, to anyone on platform B, the ball appears to deflect to the right of its intended path.
18 Straight-line Flow Aloft balance of the pressure gradient and Coriolis forcesgeostrophic wind: parallel toisobars with low pressure to itsleft (or right) in NH (or SH)good approximation for flow aloftGeostrophic winds can be observed by watching the movement of clouds.
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 SHclockwise and anticlockwise: same direction in NH and SHcentripetal force (opposite to centrifugal force)gradient wind: balance of PGF, Coriolis and centrifugal forcesPGF > Co Co > PGF
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 SHQ: 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 SHQ: what is the direction of centrifugal force?a) always outward; b) always inward;c) depending on NH or SHQ: what is the balance of PGF, Co, and Centrifugal forces for SH cyclonic flow?a) PGF = Co + Cen; b) Co = PGF + Cen
21 Winds on Upper-level Charts meridional and zonal windswind is nearly parallel to the height contourhigher air T yields greater height contour valueHeight contours on upper-level charts are interpreted in the same way as isobars on surface charts.
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 wayFigure 4: Upper-level chart that extends over the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Solid gray lines on the chart are isobars.
23 Surface Winds planetary boundary layer: bottom 1 km above surface Friction: opposite to wind in direction; increases with windfrictional effects on the wind: slow down windWind rotates clockwise from near surface to free atmosphere in the NH
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 freeatmosphere in the SHFigure 6.21: (a) Surface weather map showing isobars and winds on a day in December in South America. (b) The boxed area shows the idealized flow around surface-pressure systems in the Southern Hemisphere.
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 bea) southerly;b) westerly;c) southwesterly;d) northeasterly
26 Winds and Vertical Motions divergence and convergence (right-hand rule)hydrostatic equilibrium (vertical PGF = gravity)Q: Vertical PGF is much larger than horizontal PGF. a) true; b) falseQ: why does vertical PGF usually not result in upward motion?
27 Determining Wind Direction and Speed wind direction: the direction where wind comes fromprevailing wind: wind direction that occurs most frequentlywind roseQ: If the wind is southwesterly, the wind direction isa) 45o; b) 135o; c) 225o; d) 315o
28 Wind Instruments wind vane cup anemometer aerovane rawinsonde wind profilerBy observing flags and smoke plumes, our eyes are also effective wind instruments.Q: The arrow of the vane pointsa) into the windb) away from the wind
29 Q: at 14:00 local time, the near-surface wind is a) westerly; b) southerly;c) southwesterly;d) northeasterlyFigure 6.29: A profile of wind direction and speed above Hillsboro, Kansas, on June 28, 2006.WindPower