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Terms in this set (112)
Dust swirling upwards from the ground and grows toward the funnel cloud in the sky.
Damage is usually light.
Downward extend of funnel and "connection" with dust-whirl on the ground.
Tornado on the ground. Strong winds and "whistling howl" noise is produced by violent winds.Damage is most severe during this stage.
Overall decrease in the tornados shape, size and width. The tornado will begin to "tilt," and appear to not be vertical anymore.
Damage is still strong/severe.
"Roping Out"Stretched into a thin funnel shape rope.Tornado becomes greatly contorted and "stretched."
What is the role of ocean currents in the distribution of heat on Earth?
Ocean currents act much like a conveyer belt, transporting warm water and precipitation from the equator toward the poles and cold water from the poles back to the tropics
How do the semi-permanent low pressure and the ITCZ help determine the location of tropical rain forests?
Wherever the semi-permanent low pressure cell and ITCZ are located will not experience a dry season and will be tropical rainforests
List the primary warm ocean currents that impact the continents:
gulf stream, north and south equatorial, kuroshio, east australia, north pacific drift
Which atmospheric feature gives you a good estimate of the maximum height of a Thunderstorm?
What causes the Horse Latitudes?
a belt of calm air and sea occurring in both the northern and southern hemispheres between the trade winds and the westerlies.
Why does the height of the tropopause vary according to the seasons?
tropopause height is proportional to the mean tropospheric temperature, higher is warmer and lower is cooler
Which of one of the following is an accurate value for Standard Atmospheric Pressure at Mean Sea Level?
29.92 inches of mercury or 1,013.25mb
In which 2 layers of the atmosphere does temperature warm with height? In which 2 layers of the atmosphere does temperature cool with height?
Heating: Stratosphere and thermosphere.
cooling: Troposphere and mesosphere
In terms of the three-cell model of the general circulation, where should areas of low pressure be found?
The equator and 60 degrees latitude
How do the semi-permanent Sub-Tropical High Pressure areas impact the location of Earth's deserts?
Areas along subtropical highs are very dry for most of the year and are generally very hot. Sub tropical highs create dry climate Its descending air inhibits precipitation and its anticyclonic circulation pattern deflects tropical storms and hurricanes to the south and weakens cold fronts to its north, resulting in heat waves and droughts. Basically, the high forms and pushes all the precip away and therefore a desert forms to the East generally of the High due to the circulation of the high.
Which is the most abundant greenhouse gas in Earth's atmosphere?
Give examples of energy / heat transfer via radiation, conduction, and convection?
conduction in solids, convection of fluids (liquids or gases), and radiation through anything that will allow radiation to pass
What is the main driver of precipitation in the Tropical Moist Climate regime?
ITCZ Inter Tropical Convergence Zone
What is the main driver for the direction that surface ocean currents flow?
wind direction, Coriolis force, and position of landforms
What climate forcing caused the Maunder Minimum (Little Ice Age)?
solar radiation declines, sunspots vanish, and solar flares are rare
What are typical impacts from El Nino in North America? Southeast Asia?
Changes in patterns of precipitation and temperature. Severe drought and massive food shortage
Describe the normal Walker Circulation vs El Nino / Southern Oscillation.
Mean ascent (rising air), and low surface pressure, overwarmest SST associated with deep convection (T-storms)
• Subsidence (sinking air), and high surface pressure, innon-convection regions (clear skies)
• Equatorial trades blow from high to low pressure, thus theeasterly trade winds blow from east to west
In La Nina conditions SST in the central and
eastern equatorial Pacific is unusually cold & easterly trade winds are unusually strong
Give two historical examples of volcanic eruptions that had an impact on Earth's climate
1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, in the Philippines. In 1815, the Indonesian volcano Tambora. They propelled ash and volcanic gases into the atmosphere and resulted in significant atmospheric cooling on a global scale
Define the term air mass. How do air masses acquire their characteristics?
a body of air with horizontally uniform temperature, humidity, and pressure; they get them from their source location/ where they were formed
List and draw (with correct symbols) the 4 main types of atmospheric fronts.
warm front- red half circles; cold front- blue triangles; stationary front- blue triangles and red half circles; occluded front- purple triangle and half circles
Define atmospheric pressure. What is the highest atmospheric pressure and lowest pressure ever recorded?
the pressure exerted by the weight of the atmosphere, 1085 mbar; 870 mbar
What is the direction of circulation for High Pressure in the Northern Hemisphere? What is the direction of circulation for Low Pressure in the Northern Hemisphere?
High pressure- clockwise Low pressure- Counterclockwise
What are the signs that indicate the location or passage of a cold front? Warm Front?
Passage of a cold front: dew point drops, temp drops significantly, wind direction changes. Warm front passage: no significant changes just gradual increase in temp and dew point
Diagram and describe the 6 stages of a mid-latitude cyclone according to Polar Front Theory. ?
stationary front, with opposing shear across the front.
· cyclone formation (cyclogenesis) begins as a cyclonic wave develops and amplifies.
· distinct poleward moving warm and equatorward moving cold fronts develop forming low pressure at apex.
· cold front begins to overtake the warm front (occlusion begins).
· occluded front develops and cyclone reaches maximum intensity.
· eventually all warm sector is forced aloft and cold air surrounds bottom of cyclone, and pressure gradients weakens and cyclone dissipates.
List the 4 main cyclogenesis locations for mid-latitude cyclones that form & impact the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains
Gulf Low (impact us)
Which pair of forces dictates the direction that the wind will blow around highs and lows?
pressure gradient force & coriolis
Where is the magnitude of Coriolis the strongest? Weakest?
Greatest at poles and zero at equator
the development or strengthening of an area of low pressure in the atmosphere, resulting in the formation of a cyclone.
Describe the variation in the climate of North America east of the Rocky Mountains vs along / west of the Rockies.
East of the Rockies is low variation due to flat topography whereas West of the Rockies is extremely variable due to the small channels and passes within the mountains allowing the wind to change directions and the climate to vary more as altitude changes over a short distance.
What are the 4 primary processes that lead to cloud formation?
Convection, lifting along typography, convergence, lifting along weather fronts
Where is the heaviest snowfall found in a wintertime mid-latitude cyclone?
150 miles to the north of the storm track
Define the windward side of a mountain vs leeward side of a mountain with respect to air motion (wind) and precipitation.
Windward side is the side that the ocean is on and the leeward side is the side that faces towards the continent.
What is a rain shadow?
a region having little rainfall because it is sheltered from prevailing rain-bearing winds by a range of hills.
List 2 specific geographic examples of locations that experience a rain shadow:
Utah and Nevada have a rain shadow effect due to the Cascade Mountains of Oregon
What is cold air damming?
high-pressure system (anticyclone) accelerating equatorward east of a north-south oriented mountain range due to the formation of a barrier jet behind a cold front associated with the poleward portion of a split upper level trough. .
List 2 regions in the United States that commonly experience cold air damming:
east side of the Appalachian Mountain chain and the east side of the Colorado Rockies.
Describe valley winds. How do valleys winds differ in the daytime vs nighttime?
localized winds that occur one after the other on a daily cycle, similar to breezes. During day time, the heat coming off the mountain will heat air higher up in the atmosphere at a faster rate then the ground (in the valley) can. Warm air expands, which creates a small low pressure system at or near the mountain top.
What are the 3 primary ingredients necessary for the formation of a thunderstorm?
Moisture, instability, and a lifting mechanism.
How does thunder form?
is caused by lightning. When a lightning bolt travels from the cloud to the ground it actually opens up a little hole in the air, called a channel. Once then light is gone the air collapses back in and creates a sound wave that we hear as thunder.
What criteria would cause a thunderstorm to verify as a severe thunderstorm?
Damaging winds, large hail, or frequent lighting.
Where do the highest frequency of thunderstorms occur in the United States? and Why?
Florida Warm moist air that is unstable causes Tstorms there is an abundance in this region
Why is there a secondary maximum in thunderstorms along the front range of the Rockies in Colorado and New Mexico?
Cold dry air from mountains clashing with warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. Low pressure systems often form there.
Why do the locations of maxima in tornado frequency (Tornado Alley and Dixie Alley) for not match the location of the greatest frequency in thundestorms?
Those areas are more likely to have severe storms due to increased wind shear, this produces more tornadoes.
Globally, where do the greatest number of lightning strikes (and thus thunderstorms) occur?
The Democratic Republic of the Congo in central Africa has the highest frequency of lightning on Earth, northwestern south America, Himalayan forelands, central florida, pampas of argentina, idonesia
How can you determine that a towering cumulus cloud that is still growing?
Cauliflower-type hard top = Strong updraft & growing storm
What is an orphan anvil?
Orphan anvils are so called because they are solitary anvils from thunderstorms that have dissipated
What is the self-destruct mechanism for single-cell, air-mass thunderstorms?
down draft kills the updraft
What is the difference between a garden-variety single-cell thunderstorm and a pulse storm?
Garden variety single cell: An air-mass thunderstorm that is generally weak and usually not severe
Pulse storm: A pulse storm is a single cell thunderstorm that is usually not very strong; when it is of substantial intensity, it only produces severe weather for short periods of time.
How does wind shear help a thunderstorm become more long-lived and severe?
A significant increase of wind speed with height will tilt a storm's updraft. This allows the updraft and downdraft to occur in separate regions of the storm the reduces water loading in the updraft. The downdraft will not cut-off the updraft and actually it will even enforce it.
Directional shear in the lower troposphere helps initiate the development of a rotating updraft.
What are Multicell Thunderstorms? How do Multicell Thunderstorms differ from Single-Cell Thunderstorms with respect to updrafts and downdrafts?
Multicell Tstorms are multiple single cell storms that are in different cycles therefore the updraft and downdraft is different for each single cell within the multicell.
What is a gust front?
a boundary that separates a cold downdraft of a thunderstorm from warm, humid surface air. Its passage at the surface resembles a cold front.
How does a gust front initiate new thunderstorm updrafts? What are characteristics associated with a thunderstorm gust front?
As gust front spreads along the ground, it forces warm air up and over the front.
Under right conditions, this lifting can initiate new updrafts (clouds).
As winds behind the gust front (on the cold side) are typically strong and gusty
How does evaporation enhance downdrafts and gust fronts?
Evaporation absorbs heat which causes air to cool more and then sink causing downdrafts. As downdrafts move downward and out, a gust front is the result.
What are bow echoes? What is the primary severe weather threat from bow echoes?
A bow-shaped radar signature associated with fast-moving storm systems. Damaging straight line winds are a result of bow echo.
a cyclonic air mass associated with a supercell; its presence is a condition for a tornado warning.
How is a mesocyclone identified on radar?
hook echo. red and green color on radar "hooking"
Define and describe the primary radar signature associated with rotating supercell thunderstorms.
A hook echo is a radar reflectivity pattern that forms a hook shape, usually in the trailing portion of a Supercell storm, forms when precipitation gets wrapped around the storm mesocyclone and is a favorable region for tornado development.
List the 5 main types of Supercell Thunderstorm? What types of severe weather are associated with supercells?
Ordinary- microburst winds and weak tornadoes; multi-cluster- tremendous rainfall and potential flash flooding; multi-cell line (squall line)- damaging winds and hail, supercell main cause for tornadoes, extreme wind, flash floods, and hail.
What continents experience tornadoes?
North America, Europe, Asia
What months do the U.S. typically experience the peak in tornadoes? What months is the primary peak for north Alabama tornadoes? What months is the secondary peak for north Alabama tornadoes?
Spring, March- May- Fall, Late August through Early October
Why do the number of tornadoes peak in the afternoon and early evening? Why is there a minimum in tornado activity at night? Does North Alabama also experience a minimum in tornado occurrence at night vs the day?
Daytime heat is more conducive to tornadoes, also updraft and increased stability in the atmosphere during the day create more supercell thunderstorms -- which creates tornadoes.
Where is the LEAST SAFE place to be with respect to your likelihood of getting hit by a tornado?
The apex of the Bow Echo, along with the outer ends of the Echo
ITCZ, easterly waves in trade wind flow, cold fronts extending into tropics
3 triggers for initial the thunderstorms for hurricane formation
Water vapor- 60 CO2- 20 methane- 10 ozone-5 other- 5
List the major greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and their percentages
low topped cells are much smaller vertically and horizontally
describe the differences between a classical supercell and a low topped supercell
It creates a headwind that provides lift, they steer the plane down and then the headwind disappears and the plane crashes
How do microbursts cause aviation crashes?
what wind direction gives the front range of the rockies the heaviest wind
No, everything is everything. Gay is gay. Everything is not gay and gay is not everything.
is everything gay
November, December, January
What months are lake effect snows most likely to occur?
When does lake effect snow typically stop or slow down?
Once the lake surface cools to near 32 degrees F in the late winter, the lake effect snow mechanism weakens considerably, and if the lake surface freezes, lake effect snow activity stops altogether.
What causes lake effect snow to stop or slow down?
the slow movement of the axis of a spinning body around another axis due to a torque (such as gravitational influence) acting to change the direction of the first axis. It affects how much sunlight reaches the surface
angle of tilt of the earth's axis of rotation. It affects the strength of the latitudinal temperature gradient
measurement of how elliptical the earth is. (If there is no eccentricity to Earth's orbit, then Earth will remain at the same distance from the sun throughout the year, therefore producing no climate change.)
deep, cold water rising toward the surface. El nino and La nina reduce the impact of upwelling off the South american coast
What impact does El Nino have on hurricane activity in the Pacific Ocean?
What impact does El Nino have on hurricane activity in the Atlantic Ocean?
a seasonal prevailing wind blowing from the southwest between May and September and bringing rain or from the northeast between October and April
galactic variations, orbital variations
external forcings on Earth's climate?
volcanism, ocean circulation
internal forcings on Earth's climate?
eruption of Mt. Tambora in Indonesia
What caused the "Year without a Summer"?
Volcanic dust blasted into the atmosphere causes temporary cooling. The amount of cooling depends on the amount of dust put into the air, and the duration of the cooling depends on the size of the dust particles.
What impacts do volcanoes have on short-term climate?
reflective hazes of sulfur droplets can cause significant cooling of the earth for as long as two years after a major sulfur-bearing eruption & When water and CO2 are in the form of gases in the atmosphere, they absorb heat radiation emitted by the ground and hold it in the atmosphere. This causes the air below to get warmer (and the atmosphere to get cooler)
What impacts do volcanoes
have on long-term climate?
Intergovernmental panel on climate change
warming of Earth's surface and the air above it. It is caused by gases in the air that trap energy from the sun.
Snowfall almost always occurs in the cold sector of a cyclone (NW of cold front and N of warm front)
Thunderstorms almost always occur in warm sector immediately out ahead of the cold front (COMMA TAIL)
Which region of a winter mid-latitude cyclone is most likely to have the heaviest snowfall? Which region is most likely to have thunderstorms?
2. [Ice pellets]
3. [Freezing rain]
With respect to a mid-latitude cyclone and warm front, where would you most likely find the following types of precip: a) rain, b) freezing rain, c) sleet, d) snow.
What evidence is there that variations in sunspot activity do or do not lead to climate changes on Earth?
a. Droughts in the Great Plains of the United states have shown some tendency to recur at an interval that roughly corresponds to a double sunspot cycle
b. The Maunder Minimum, the period of minimal sunspot activity between 1645 to 1715, coincided with one of the coldest periods of the Little Ice Age.
Describe the factors that can lead to variations in the amount of solar radiation available at the top of Earth's atmosphere.
○ Change in Earth-Sun distance
○ Greater eccentricity would result in greater differences in incoming radiation available at the top of the atmosphere during the course of a year.
The ever-present moisture availability at the surface allows a large portion of the incoming solar radiation to be expended on evaporation rather than increasing the surface temperature. Furthermore, the convection of humid air promotes the formation of cumulus clouds that scatter much of the incoming solar radiation back to space. Thus, maximum temperatures never come close to those found in the subtropical deserts.
Despite their low latitudes, tropical climates are not the hottest on Earth. Why not?
Subsidence associated with the Hadley cell
(Yuma, Arizona & Cairo, Egypt)
Aridity high year-to-year precipitation, extreme summer temperatures, and large annual and daily temperature ranges (Commonly border subtropical deserts & Southwestern United States and northern Mexico)
Deep within continental interiors or downwind of orographic barriers that cut off the supply of moisture from the ocean (Just east of the Caspian Sea and north of the Himalayas & Death Valley, California)
Same temperature characteristics as midlatitude deserts, but with greater precip (large swath of steppe also extends from the Great Plains, east of the Rocky Mountains, all the way from northeast Mexico into)
What factor other than annual precipitation is involved in a climate being defined as dry?
Describe the frequency at which glacial/interglacial cycles have occurred during the Pleistocene.
a. There have been about 30 cycles altogether
b. The cycles generally last about 100,000 years, with a relatively small part of each cycle, typically only 20 percent, spent in the warm interglacial phase.
How does the present climate compare to past climates over the course of geologic history? Is it correct to say the ice age is over?
a. The climate is warmer.
b. The ice age is over (Pleistocene).
c. We are now in the Holocene.
Explain how it is possible that the global climate can be both cooling and warming at the same time.
The total heat retained by the troposphere is trending up. Heat moves within the troposphere, so at one time one place can be warming and another place cooling. This happens most obviously as daylight moves across the globe, and also due to air currents moving masses of warm and cold air (weather)
Describe how pollen samples obtained from old soils provide information on past climates.
Different classes of plants produce pollen grains with different distinctive shapes. Such pollen grains are often found preserved in sediment cores from ponds, lakes and oceans. They provide information on the type of plants that grew nearby when the sediments were formed.
How are tree cores used as indicators of past climates?
Under climatic stress conditions resulting from a lack of moisture or excessive warmth, the growth of these rings will be retarded. When conditions are favorable for growth, the rings will be relatively thick.
Describe two types of remnant landforms that can provide information on past climates in a region.
Glaciers and coral reefs
List the factors that can lead to climate change. At what time scales do each of these occur?
MODIFICATION OF EARTH'S SURFACE BY HUMAN ACTIVITY
- small scale
Variations in Solar Output
- 10.7 year scale
Changes in Earth's Orbit
Explain how cores taken from ocean deposits and ice sheets can be used to infer past climate conditions.
As new snow falls onto a glacier, bubbles of the ambient air become permanently trapped in the ice. The concentration of carbon dioxide and other trace gases in these bubbles yields a long-term record of their varying levels in the air. Among the more interesting results from chemical analyses at the cores is the strong correlation between past temperatures and concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane. Past periods of high temperature coincide with high concentrations, whereas glacial periods coincide with reduced concentrations of these greenhouse gases.
Almost entirely between the tropics of Cancer and Capricon; Largest group, covering almost 30% of the planet; Most are oceanic rather than continental
Describe the geographical distribution of tropical climates. What features
distinguish this particular group?
can span over 1000s of kilometers and last for many days. Mid-latitude cyclones, hurricanes, and fronts
typically last from an hour to a day and influence 10s to 100s of kilometers of distance. Examples include thunderstorms (especially complexes of thunderstorms such as MCCs and squall lines), differential heating boundaries
rapidly deepening extratropical cyclonic low-pressure area
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