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The Atmosphere

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Introduction

Atmosphere – thin envelope of gases surrounding earth

  • Energy of sun drives movement in atmosphere
  • Composition:
  • nitrogen 78
  • oxygen 21
  • argon 1
  • water vapour 0-4 (depending on location in earth)
  • Minute quantities of other gases (C02 + ozone) as well as solid particles (dust)
  • C02 absorbs infrared radiant energy
  • Maintains warmth in lower atmosphere layers
  • Ozone absorbs ultra violet radiation
  • Protects from the burning effects of radiation
  • Atmospheric composition has changed over time through volcanism and humans
  • Current threats to atmosphere;
  • C02 emissions contributing to global warming
  • Hole in the ozone layer
  • Acid rain from carbon monoxide/ sulphur oxide emissions
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Middle

  • 5-16km thick (thinner at poles and equator)
  • where weather occurs
  • drop in temp 1 C / 150
  • Stratosphere
  • Next closest layer (16-50km)
  • Temp increase
  • Ozone layer  
  • Jet stream in lower levels
  • Mesosphere
  • 50-80km – temp drops again
  • Thermosphere
  • 80-300km
  • Aurora borealis
  • Glow of ions attracted to magnetic poles
  • Exosphere
  • Beyond 300km
  • Space

Pauses between spheres – transitions

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Conclusion

Absorb- SW + LW more LW, O2 O3 H20, dust

Scattering – gas, dust, H20 droplets – scatter energy

Reflection – clouds, depend on thickness and nature and ice

H20 bodies higher albedo than land

Average albedo of earths surface 30%

March + Sept 21st – equinox, 0 degrees

June 23.5 S + Dec 23.5 N 21st – solstice

Pressure

  • parts per unit of mass of the air
  • Heat - ^ - low
  • Elevation
  • High elev. – L
  • Low elev.  – H

Measurement – Barometer kPa

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