Climate Basics

  • Created by: Megan
  • Created on: 23-04-14 10:20

Structure of the Atmosphere

1) Troposphere - it contains 80% of the Atmosphere and extends 12km. The average temperature decrease is -6.4dc/1km. Over the equator the troposphere is 16km and averages at -80dc, however, over the poles is it 8km and averages -40dc

2) Stratosphere - extends from 12-50km. Temperatures rise with altitude due to the high 03 concentration where as water vapour levels decrease so there aren't many clouds. This layer is stable (ie not turbulent)

3) Mesosphere- extends from 50-90km. Temperatures decrease to -120dc due to the lack of water vapour, cloud, dust or ozone to absorb incoming radiation. There are strong winds in this layer (upto 3000km/h)

4) Thermosphere - extends from 90km upto arouund 1000km. Temperatures increase with altitude and can vary diurnally by hundred of dc

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Factors Affecting the Heat of the Atmosphere

  • Urbanisation - urban surfaces absorb heat quickly
  • Cloud Cover - Clouds absorb and reflect energy
  • Aspect - the direction a slope faces
  • Seasonal Changes - insolation varies throughout the seasons
  • Diurnal Changes - insolation aries througuhout the day
  • Ocean Coneyor Belt and Currents - warm and cold water migrates around the planet
  • Prevailing Winds - where the winds blow from
  • Proportion of land and sea - They have different albedos
  • Altitude of the Sun - At higher latitudes energy has to penetrate more atmosphere
  • Altitude of Land - higher land is further from the manin heat source (air density also decreases adding to the cooling effect
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Determining the Heat Budget

The Solar Constant - varies long term weather variations

Distance frrom the sun - the Earth's eliptical shape varies the sun's solar constant by 6dc

Altitude of the Sun in the Sky - the equator recieves more solar radiation than the poles

Length of the Day and Night - Some regions near the poles recieve no insolation at periods in the year

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