EESA09H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Tropopause

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26 Jan 2011

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EESA09H Lecture 1
Mythological and Cultural Winds
1.Aeolus Greek God of Wind
2.Feng Po Po Chinese Goddess of Wind
3.Haya-Ji Japanese God of Wind
4.Nilchi Navajo Holy Wind
Atmospheric Primer: The History of Wind
The earths atmosphere has existed for 4.6 billion years
Composition of atmosphere was not constant due to:
1.Geologic Control (4.6 2.3)
Volcanic emissions carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4)
Early Life Age of bacteria Anaerobic (not needing oxygen)
2.Biological Control (2.3)
Early sun produced 30% less energy (Archean Era)
Solar output gradually increasing strong greenhouse effect
Solar output continued to increase, earth was becoming too warm, the switch
to aerobic life (oxygen stabilized at 21%) reduced greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4),
cooled down Earth
Gaia Hypothesis (James Lovelock): Atmospheric constituents have been
controlled by life to optimize conditions for life
3.Anthropogenic Control (Carboniferous Period, 360-290 million years
Photosynthesis Process by which plants take carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere to create plant material
Plant takes sunlight + H2O + CO2, release O2 into atmosphere (stripped from
When plant dies, plant material rots in an oxidation process which returns
carbon back to carbon dioxide form
Not all decaying plants are fully oxidized, geological pressure (millions of
years) converts plant material into fossil fuels (coal and oil) Anthropogenic
Atmosphere has become a modern dumping ground, fossil fuels causing: Acid
rain, urban air quality, urban heat island, and global warming
Composition: Solid, Liquid, Gas
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