Chapter 1 Summary Notes.docx

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McGill University
Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences
ATOC 181
Parisa Ariya

Chapter 1 – The Earth and its Atmosphere Inward motion around low leads to rising motion, due to conservation of mass (results in cooling, condensation and precipitation, thus lows are associated with stormy weather) Atmosphere – thin envelope of gases and tiny particles that surround Earth (essential for life, contains oxygen and carbon dioxide for life-sustaining processes, supplies water and shields life from harmful UV radiation from Sun)  99% of gases extend only 30 km above Earth’s surface  most weather occurs within the first 10-15 km  Nitrogen, oxygen, argon, water vapour, carbon dioxide (N and O experience little change, but CO2 and others are increasing in concentration)  Most prevalent gas is N2  Clouds are not gas  condensed vapour in the form of liquid droplets  Smog contains reactants of nitrogen and ozone  Ozone = primary component in photochemical smog  Majority of water on the planet is from outgassing  Air density is greatest at the surface and decreases as you go up  Atmospheric pressure always decreases with decreasing height Early Atmosphere  Surface temp up to 110 degrees  Planet cooled  water vapor condense to form clouds and rain, hence oceans  CO2 dissolved in rainwater  Life formed about 2 billion years ago and photosynthesis produced oxygen  Ozone shield formed Radiosonde – small instrument package carried aloft by helium balloons equipped with a radio transmitter, measures temperature, air pressure, and humidity, giving soundings of these quantities Troposphere – temperature decreases with height (6.5 degrees/km), weather occurs in this layer, extends from surface to about 12 km Tropopause – found at higher elevations at equator, lower towards poles Stratosphere – temperature is initially isothermal with height, then increases with height to about 50 km Mesosphere – temperature decreases with height, to about 80 km thermosphere; above 80 km, temperature increases once again with height 3 region
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