Weather and Climate

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What is the difference between weather and climate?

Weather refers to present state whereas climate refers to the average state in a period of time.

What is a front?

A barrier between two different air temperatures which causes lifting and lowering of air masses.

Why is climate important?

It governs how we live, and how society functions (ex. farming)

What is a cold snap?

A sudden brief spell of cold weather

What is a polar vortex?

A shift in the jet stream brings a mass of cold, low pressure air (farther south than usual) causing temperatures to plummet.

Where is a polar vortex located? How does it migrate?

Usually it is located in the North Pole, and a high pressure system from the west pushes the vortex south.

How does understanding climate benefit us? List some examples.

Building houses that are able to float in flood -prone areas, predict where to place airports, when to plant crops, what to wear

Why is the ozone layer so important? What is it’s current state?

It acts as a barrier to harmful rays (gamma, x-ray, ultraviolet) from space which can lead to mutations. It has started to thin causing an ozone hole above NA and Antarctica.

Distinguish between atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere/geosphere, and biosphere.

Atmosphere is a complex system of interacting elements (blanket of gas particles, solids, liquids and precipitation). Hydrosphere consist of solid and liquid water on Earth. Lithosphere is the geological materials. Biosphere is life on Earth consisting of culture, economy, technology, communication, and any human activities.

Which of the weather systems might you be able to identify and ones you might now see when looking at the picture on Earth?

Depending on how detailed it is, we could see stormy weather distinguished by clusters of clouds. As well as large hurricanes with the distinct spiral pattern.

Would you expect it to be the same as the average temperature for this time of year if you measure the temperature outside?

Weather is ever changing minute to minute, it is very unlikely it will be the same as the average for this time of year but it will be relatively close.

What are El Ninos?

A irregularly occurring series of climate changes at the Equator. Increase of temperature usually around December.

What are temperature departures?

The difference between the actual value for the day and the the "normal" (an anomaly).

What are aerosals?

Particles/dust in the atmosphere from natural or human origins (ex. sea salt, dust, combustion products).

What units express concentration of ozone?

Dobson Units

What are CFC’s and what do they do?

Are greenhouse gases found in stratosphere, widely used in spray cans and refrigeration. They react with UV rays which releases chlorine that breaks down ozone.

How much of the atmosphere is within 30 km?


What composes the atmosphere?

Nitrogen, argon, oxygen, and h2o vapour

What is a trace gas?

Is a gas that takes up less than 1% of the Earth’s atmosphere. This includes all gases except for nitrogen and oxygen.

Describe the role of nitrogen in the atm

Makes up 78%, stable gas, removed by soil bacteria and ocean critters, inputted by decaying organisms

Describe the role of argon in the atm

Makes up 1%, trace gas

What are the interactions of water in the atm?

Concentrations vary, Goes through the hydrologic cycle

What are the interactions of oxygen in the atm?

Reactive, oxidizes, produced from photosynthesis, removed by respiration

Where is ozone usually found?

The stratosphere.

What is the source of Ozone at ground level?

Fossil fuel combustion by cars.

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