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EESA09H3 Study Guide - Final Guide: Weather Vane, Stratus Cloud, Cenozoic


Department
Environmental Science
Course Code
EESA09H3
Professor
Tanzina Mohsin
Study Guide
Final

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EESA09H
Lecture 1 Notes
1. Contact Information:
Instructor: Tanzina Mohsin
Room: SW652
Tel.: 416-287-7245
Email: tanzina.mohsin@utoronto.ca
Office Hours:
Monday 11:30 am to 12:30 pm
Thursday: 4:30 to 5:30 pm
2. Marking Scheme
Midterm: 30%
Participation: 15% (10% in-class quizzes+5% out of class participation)
Final: 55%
Format for Midterm, Final: Multiple Choice, T/F, Fill in the Blank, Matching,
Definitions, Short answer questions, concept maps and others
3. List of Lectures (tentative)
1. Introduction to Wind
2. Global Wind Circulation
3. Midlatitude Cyclones
4. Thunderstorms/Tornadoes
5. Hurricanes
6. Polar lows
Midterm (June 25)
7. Thermal winds
8. Measuring Winds
9. Winds and Pollution
10. Wind Power
11. Climate Change: The role of Wind
12. Review
Each week the PowerPoint presentation of the lecture will be posted on the course
Web page. In addition a set of notes is being developed (this document, for example)
which will expand on the lecture and provided additional references.
READ THE COURSE OUTLINE FOR DETAIL INFO ON THE COURSE
ELEMENTS.

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4. General Types and Characteristics of WIND in the Universe
Wind basically runs the whole Universe. Depending on the composition (gaseous),
scale and types of forces associated with WIND, it can be classified in different ways
For large scale circulation around the universe we can categorize wind as Solar wind
Planetary wind. Solar wind primarily consists of charged particles such as protons
and electrons. It moves outward from sun to space at a speed one cannot imagine on
Earth. Solar wind moves at speeds as high as 900 km/s and at a temperature of 1
million degrees (Celsius).Luckily solar wind has not much effect on Earth. Planetary
wind is any wind system that exists on Earth due to solar radiation or due to various
forces. It is associated with most of the meteorological variables that affect our
weather and climate. The focus of our course is on planetary win
5. Mythological and Cultural Winds
Wind has played a key role in humanity’s mythology and cultural development.
Mythological figures such as Aeolus (Greek god of Wind), Feng Po Po (Chinese
goddess of wind), Haya-ji (Japanese god of wind, whirlwind), Nilch’i (Navajo holy
wind) have played key roles in the world views in their respective cultures. In early
Japanese culture, their civilization followed the Shinto, spiritual principles to
maintain their connection between their ancestors and the living. Fujin was one of the
earliest gods of Shinto, the god of wind. Wind is seen as a pure substance and
considered a universal power, literally providing a spiritual connection between them.
In the Hindu and Buddhist religions, wind is viewed as the nature or state of a god,
referred to as “vayu”, pavan” and “godai”. Wind is one of the five great elements
respected, studied and celebrated by spiritualists from other religions such as Islam,
Judaism, and Christianity in their quest for wisdom.
Winds also play a metaphoric role in literature including movies. In stories such as
Gone with the Wind (1939), Chocolat (2000), and The Wind that Shakes the Barley
(2007) winds are a metaphor for change in a society or community. Storm imagery in
The Hurricane (1999), Monsoon Wedding (2001), and Twister (1996) are reflected in
the interpersonal dynamics within the movie.
Of course sometimes a wind is a wind and is not metaphoric. There are a number of
books that describe the physics of wind and its impacts. Wind by Jan DeBlieu and
Windswept by Marq de Villiers are beautifully written books covering many physical
and social elements of wind.
6. Outline of this lecture
Atmospheric Primer:
The history of wind
- 4.6 billion years of air
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The Basics
- Composition
- Properties
Current challenges
7. Atmospheric Primer: The history of Wind
The earth’s atmosphere has existed for 4.6 billion years, since the earth was
formed. The composition of the atmosphere has not been constant. Variations in
atmospheric constituents have occurred due to three main controls: geological,
biological and anthropogenic.
Geologic Control
The early earth’s atmosphere had a composition largely the result of volcanic
emissions, carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). About 3.8 billion years ago life
appeared. This early life, which was anaerobic (not needing oxygen) in nature
flourished in this environment. It could be called the “Age of Bacteria”. After 2.3
billion years of the methane and carbon dioxide atmosphere, there was an abrupt
change in atmospheric conditions.
Biological Control
2.3 billion years ago oxygen made an appearance in the atmosphere and stabilized
at 21%. Simultaneously, aerobic life (life needing oxygen) forms appeared and
flourished. The atmosphere has been relatively constant since this time although there
have been variations in trace gases such as carbon dioxide. These variations have
played a key role in determining the thermal conditions of earth. The Gaia hypothesis
was proposed by James Lovelock in the 1970s to explain the interaction of climate
with biology. The basic premise is that life modifies the environment to best suit
itself. For example, 21% oxygen is optimum for aerobic life. In contrast, Mars and
Venus are in a static equilibrium with high levels of carbon dioxide and methane. One
may ask why switch from anaerobic conditions to aerobic conditions 2.3 billion years
ago?
The early sun produced 30% less energy (Archean Era). Since then, the solar
output has been gradually increasing. The early earth with high levels of methane and
carbon dioxide had a strong greenhouse effect (see later in these notes for an
explanation of the greenhouse effect). This led to conditions warm enough for life.
After 2.3 billion year solar output increased and the earth was becoming too warm,
the switch to aerobic life, reduced the greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4) and cooled the
planet. We now have considerably lower levels of CO2 in the atmosphere than the
early earth. The Gaia hypothesis postulates that the atmospheric constituents have
been controlled by life to optimize conditions for life.
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