EARTHSS 5 Midterm: ESS 5 Study Guide

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University of California - Irvine
Earth System Science
Elizabeth Crooke

ESS 5 Study Guide • Air- A mixture of gases and suspended particles that surround Earth • Weather- The state of the atmosphere at a given time/space The 5 Factors that Define Weather: 1) Temperature 2) Air Pressure 3) Humidity 4) Cloudiness 5) Windspeed and direction • Climate- Average weather and variability of the atmosphere The Difference between Climate and Weather: • Climate is how the atmosphere behaves over relatively long periods of time • Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time • Dog on Leash: You are climate and dog is weather • Aerosols- Tiny liquid droplets of solid particles that are so small they remain suspended in the air Eg: Smoke, ice crystals, sea salt crystals, dust, volcanic emissions Earth’s First Atmosphere: 4.5 billion years old • Gases: Hydrogen and Helium • Lost quickly over first fifty years because: 1) Hydrogen and helium are light, so they are not retained by gravity 2) Solar Wind – Earth did not have a magnetic field to protect from solar winds 3) Collision with planet Earth’s Second Atmosphere- Tectonically Active • CO2 • Water Vapor • Sulfur Dioxide • Volcanic emissions/gases Earth’s Third Atmosphere- Dry, Present Day 1) 78.08% Nitrogen 2) 20.96% Oxygen 3) 93% Argon 4) .04% Other • Variable Constituents: H2O and aerosols What Happened to H2O? • When the Earth cooled, it turned into our oceans • The atmosphere can only hold a small fraction of water vapor from volcanoes • Water vapor cloudsoceans Where did O2 Come From? • Bacteria may have appeared as early as 3.5 billion years ago • 2.5 billion years ago, photosynthetic organisms started producing oxygen • Rocks started to rust The Third Atmosphere is generated by life • Since 550 million years ago, O2 has made up between 15-35% of the atmosphere • Can’t have too much O2, otherwise the planet will start burning because O2 is flammable What Happened to CO2? • Volcanism dropped off • CO2 was removed from the atmosphere by: 1) Biosphere 2) Dissolution in oceans 3) Chemical weathering(CO2 dissolves in rainwater, producing weak carbonic acid that reacts with rock and dissolves it • Over time, carbon was locked away in minerals, rocks, and fossil fuels Where did N2 come From? • It was released in small amounts by volcanoes, but it is inert and insoluble in water • The amount of N2 that was removed from the atmosphere was small • The removal of CO2 allowed N2 to become abundant Where did Ar Come From? • Radioactive decay in rocks(potassium) of planet added Ar to the atmosphere • Inert and insoluble, so has built up like N2 in our atmosphere Permanent Gases (Parts per 100) • Constant proportion in most of the atmosphere • Long residence times • Nitrogen (Residence Time=42 million years) • Oxygen • Argon Variable Gases (Parts per million) • Distribution varies with time and location • Short residence times • Makes up less than .25%, but it is VERY important for climate and weather • Water vapor (Residence time = 10 days) • Carbon Dioxide – For every 1 million particles of air, 405 are CO 2 • Methane (Residence time = 100 years) • Ozone • Nitrous oxide (N2O) Residence Time- The average time something spends in a reservoir Reservoir- The amount of material of interest in a given form Flux- The amount of material added or removed from a reservoir in a given period of time Steady State- Sources = sinks Residence Time = Amount Inside Reservoir Total Source or Sink Sources of CO2: • Breathing • Volcanoes • Anthropogenic Sinks of CO2: • Plants • Oceans (dissolution in seawater) -The Keeling Curve shows that CO2 is increasing by 2ppm/years, NOT steady state - Summertime low and wintertime highs because of plants Water Vapor • Most abundant variable gas • Greenhouse gas that absorbs thermal energy emitted by the Earth • Releases “latent heat” to fuel weather system • Does NOT equal clouds • Most water vapor is unequally distributed Methane • Sources: • Agriculture (rice) • Livestock digestion • Termites • Fossil fuel extraction • Decomposition Ozone • Forms in stratosphere through photo dissociation process • Absorbs harmful UV radiation from the sun • 3O2SunlightO3 Structure of the Atmosphere Ways of Categorizing Layers: 1) Pressure 2) Temperature 3) Chemical Composition 4) Electrical Conductivity Pressure: • Air pressure is greater at lower altitudes (bag of chips in plane) • As altitude increases air pressure AND air density decrease • O2 molecules are more spread out at higher altitudes Troposphere • Lowest 10-16 km • Temperature decreases at altitude increases, because 1) Earth’s surface radiates heat 2) Pressure decrease with altitude • All weather happens here • Contains 80% of mass • Strong vertical motion Stratosphere • Location of most ozone • High temperature because of the absorption of UV radiation by ozone • Weak vertical motion Mesosphere • Temperature decreases with altitude because there is little ozone Thermosphere • Extends to 500 km • Very little mass • There is warm air because oxygen molecules absorb solar rays • Very low density, so a small amount of solar energy causes a large temperature increase Temperature vs. Heat • Temperature of air- Average kinetic energy of molecules • Amount of heat in air- Total amount of energy of molecules Chemical Composition • Heterosphere- Above 80km, composition is not uniform (thermosphere) • Heomosphere- Lower 80km, relative composition of permanent gases does not change Electrical Conductivity • Ionosphere- An electrified region in the upper atmosphere (higher than 60 km) where absorption of solar radiation makes ions (charged particles) • Region where aurora borealis and aurora Australia occur due to capture of subatomic particles from the sun by the Earth’s magnetic field Solar Radiation and the Seasons Energy- The ability to do work • Always conserved • Measured in calories or joules (1 calorie= 4 joules) Power – How quickly energy is released/used • Watt = 1 joule per second Luminosity- Total power output of the Sun • 3.865 x 10^ 26 watts Heat- Energy transfer between systems 1) Conduction – Energy moving through a solid. • The material itself does not move 2) Convection- Energy moving through a fluid or gas. • The material moves 3) Radiation – Energy moving between t
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