How can we help?

You can also find more resources in our Help Center.

36 terms

Chapter 16 The Atmosphere: Composition, Structure & Temperature

STUDY
PLAY
aerosols
tiny solid particles or liquid droplets that remain suspended in the atmosphere for a long time
air
mixture of oxygen, nitrogen, CO2 and other substances in which solid and liquid particles are suspended
albedo
the reflectivity of a surface, usually expressed as a % of the incident radiation reflected
autumnal equinox
The equinox that occurs on September 22 or 23 in the Northern Hemisphere and on March 21 or 22 in the Southern Hemisphere
circle of illumination
the great circle that separates daylight from darkness
climate
overall weather in an area over a long period of time
conduction
transfer of energy that occurs when molecules bump into each other
convection
the transfer of thermal energy by the circulation or movement of a liquid or gas
diffused light
solar energy scattered and reflected in the atmosphere that reaches Earth's surface in the form of diffused blue light from the sky
electromagnetic radiation
energy that travels through space in the form of waves
element (of weather and climate)
those quantities or properties of the atmosphere that are measured regularly and that are used to express the nature of weather and climate
environmental lapse rate
the rate of temperature decrease with increasing height in the troposphere
greenhouse effect
the warming of the surface and lower atmosphere of Earth that occurs when carbon dioxide, water vapor, and other gases in the air absorb and reradiate infrared radiation
heat
the total amount of kinetic energy due to the random motion of atoms or molecules in a body of matter; also called thermal energy.
inclination of the axis
the tilt of Earth's axis from the perpendicular to the plane on Earth's orbit
infrared
radiation with a wavelength from .7 to 200 micrometers
isotherm
line drawn on a weather map that connects points having equal temperature
mesosphere
the layer of the atmosphere between the stratosphere and the thermosphere and in which temperature decreases as altitude increases
ozone
a form of oxygen that has three oxygen atoms in each molecule instead of the usual two
radiation
the transfer of (heat) energy by electromagnetic waves
reflection
the bouncing back of an object or wave when it hits a surface through which it cannot pass
revolution
the movement of one object around another (such as the Earth around the sun)
rotation
circular movement around an axis
scattering
the redirecting (in all directions) of light by small particles and gas molecules in the atmosphere; the result is more light rays with weaker intensity (diffused light)
spring equinox
the equinox that occurs on March 21 or 22 in the Northern Hemisphere and September 21 or 22 in the Southern Hemisphere
stratosphere
the layer of the atmosphere that is above the troposphere and in which temperature increases as altitude increases (due to ozone concentration)
summer solstice
solstice that occurs on June 21 or 22 in the Northern Hemisphere and on December 21 or 22 in the Southern Hemisphere
temperature
a measure of how hot (or cold) something is; specifically, a measure of the average kinetic energy of the particles in an object
thermosphere
the uppermost layer of the atmosphere, in which temperature increases as altitude increases (due to absorption of shortwave solar energy by oxygen)
Tropic of Cancer
a line of latitude located at 23°30' north of the equator; sun is directly overhead of the Tropic of Cancer on the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere (June 20 or 21)
Tropic of Capricorn
a line of latitude located at 23°30' south; sun is directly overhead of the Tropic of Capricorn on the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere (Dec. 20 or 21)
troposphere
the lowest layer of the atmosphere, in which temperature decreases at a constant rate as altitude increases; where most weather occurs
ultraviolet
radiation with a wavelength from .2 to .4 micrometer
visible light
portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that can be detected as various colors by the human eye, ranging in wavelength from about 380 nm to about 750 nm (0.4 - 0.7 micrometers)
weather
meteorological conditions: temperature, wind, clouds and precipitation
winter solstice
solstice that occurs on December 21 or 22 in the Northern Hemisphere and on June 21 or 22 in the Southern Hemisphere