Chapter 07

Chapter 7: Atmospheric
Scales of atmospheric motions
Eddies - big and small
Local wind systems
Global winds
Global wind patterns and the
Scales of Atmospheric Motions
Microscale: meters - kilometers
Mesoscale: km – a few hundred km
synoptic scale: a few hundred km – a few thousand km
planetary scale: a few thousand km and larger
Q1: what is the scale of atmospheric boundary layer turbulence?
a) microscale, b) mesoscale, c) synoptic scale
Q2: what is the scale of weather fronts?
a) microscale, b) mesoscale, c) synoptic scale
Q3: what is the scale of lake breeze over the Great Lakes
a) microscale, b) mesoscale, c) synoptic scale
Fig. 7-2, p. 171
Eddies - Big and Small
eddy or turbulent eddy: caused by convection (heating or
cooling), wind shear (or near surface wind), or waves
Rotor: caused by mountain waves
wind shear: change of
wind speed or direction
with height
• Clear-air turbulence: caused by wind shear; important for aviation
Billow clouds: caused by mountain
waves in a wind shear zone
Q4: what could cause bumpy aircraft flight in the upper troposphere?
a) clear-air turbulence, b) rotor, c) billow clouds
Local Wind Systems
Thermal Circulations: warm air
rises and cool air sinks
Warm air leads to H in the
air (i,e, pushing isobar up);
Air moves from H to L;
increases surface pressure
(i.e., pushing near-surface
isobar up) over cool place;
Leads to circulation from
cool place to warm place
near surface
Pay attention to the change
of isobars with height
Sea and Land Breezes
sea breeze: from sea to land
land breeze: land to sea
sea breeze front: clouds
Florida sea breezes
Sea and land breezes also
occur near the shores of
large lakes, such as the
Great Lakes
• Pay attention to the change
of isobars with height
Q5: which is stronger in
a) sea breeze, b) land breeze,
c) the same
Q6: When do you expect to see the thunderstorm in summer
in Florida?
a) 10am,
b) noon, c) 3pm,
d) 6pm
Fig. 7-6, p. 175
Q7: given the isobars as left,
what is the near-surface
wind direction?
a) from A to B
b) from B to A
Q8: During the day, if you
stand on beach, what
would be the wind
direction due to sea
a) from sea to beach
b) from land to sea
Seasonally Changing Winds - the Monsoon
Monsoon wind system: change with season
 India and eastern Asian monsoon
 Global monsoons
Q9: What are the differences and similarities between monsoon
and sea/land breeze?
A: Monsoon system is much greater in geographic area;
changes with season; sea/land breeze changes with diurnal
cycle; both due to horizontal temperature difference
North American monsoon
Q10: Coriolis force is
important for monsoon
circulation. Is it as
important for sea breeze
as for monsoon?
a) yes
b) no
Q11: Still, is Coriolis
force important for sea
a) yes
b) no
Mountain and Valley Breezes
valley breeze: daytime; from valley to top
mountain breeze: nighttime; from top to valley
• The nighttime mountain breeze is sometimes called
gravity winds or drainage winds, because gravity
causes the cold air to ‘drain’ downhill.
Q12: Which is stronger in general?
a) valley breeze, b) mountain breeze, c) the same
Katabatic Winds
Strong drainage wind from cold elevated plateau down steep
• Katabatic winds are quite fierce in parts of Antarctica,
with hurricane-force wind speeds.
• Bora: a cold, gusty northeasterly wind along the Adriatic
coast in the former Yugoslavia
Chinook (Foehn) Winds
Chinook winds: one type of drainage wind; warm and
dry wind down the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains
• It is called a Foehn along the leeward slopes of Alps.
Q13: Which wind is weakest in general?
a) drainage wind, b) katabatic wind, c) Chinook wind
Chinook wall cloud indicates that chinook is coming
Fig. 7-14, p. 180
Santa Ana Winds
Santa Ana wind: warm, dry wind from the elevated desert
plateau down to southern California
compressional heating
Could have very strong wind
Q14: which wind comes from
elevated desert plateau?
a) Chinook wind; b) Santa Ana wind;
c) Katabatic wind; d) mountain breeze
Q15: The drainage wind over the lee
side of the Rocky Mountain is
a) Chinook wind; b) Santa Ana wind;
c) Katabatic wind; d) mountain breeze
Desert Winds
dust and sand storms: occurs over
arid and semiarid regions
 dust devils – from surface;
usually with a diameter of a few
meters and a height of <100 m
Q16: What is the difference between
tornado and dust devil? A: Tornado
is larger horizontally and deeper
vertically; from cloud base down
General Circulation of the Atmosphere
cause: unequal net heating of the earth’s surface and
effect: atmospheric circulation and ocean currents to transport
heat from the equator to the poles
Fig. 2.17 on p. 43
Single-cell Model
basic assumptions: no rotation
 Originally proposed by George Hadley in England in the 18th
 Hadley cell
Q17: Why is the single-cell model wrong? A: Because single cell
does not exist due to earth’s rotation
• UK’s Hadley Centre
for Climate
Research is named
after George Hadley.
Three-cell Model
model for a rotating earth; realistic over the tropics in winter
Hadley cell; doldrums; subtropical highs
trade winds; intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ)
Over mid- and high latitudes: Ferrel cell and polar cell do not
play major roles;
westerlies in the upper troposphere;
polar front;
polar near-surface easterlies
Q18: if near-surface wind is southwesterly over NH midlatitudes,
what is the direction of upper troposphere wind?
a) westerly, b) easterly, c) southerly, d) northerly
Fig. 7-21, p. 185
Average Surface Winds and
Pressure: The Real World
semipermanent highs: Bermuda high & Pacific high
Pacific high moves north in summer;
Bermuda high moves west in summer
Semipermanent low: Icelandic low
it moves north in summer
Siberian high in winter due to very cold air
Aleutian low in winter due to storm track
ITCZ stays in the warm hemisphere (e.g., NH in July)
There are three semipermanent highs in SH
Fig. 7-22a, p. 188
Fig. 7-22b, p. 189
The General Circulation and
Precipitation Patterns
Most of the world’s
thunderstorms are found
along the ITCZ.
Low rainfall over the
subtropical regions
Fronts and precipitation
over the subpolar lows
Q19: which is correct?
a) desert causes subtropical
b) subtropical high causes
Westerly Winds and the Jet
jet streams
subtropical jet stream
polar front jet stream
Low-level jet stream over
the Central plains of the
U.S. (within 2 km above
surface), bringing moist
and warm air to form
nighttime thunderstorms
(warm) Gulf Stream; (warm) Kuroshio Current;
(cold) California Current; (cold) Canary Current;
Equatorial Current and Counter Current in the Pacific
Global wind drives
ocean current
Q20: These ocean
circulations are
consistent with
wind of
a) high pressure
b) low pressure
Fig. 7-29, p. 193
Winds and Upwelling
Upwelling is strongest when wind
is parallel to the coastline
Q21: Why is ocean coldest in
northern California?
A: wind is parallel to the coastline;
upwelling is strongest; cold deep
water is brought to surface
El Niño and the Southern Oscillation
Q22: what is the El Niño? A: warming, pressure decrease, and
weakened upwelling over the central and eastern Pacific; trade
wind weakened as well;
(cooling, pressure increase over western Pacific)
 La Niña: opposite
Q23: What is the Southern Oscillation (SO)? A: oscillation of
surface pressure over tropical western and eastern Pacific
 ENSO: El Nino and SO are closely related
Q24: What is teleconnections? A: local changes affect weather
in remote regions.
SST animation:
is incorrect
in bottom
Fig. 7-32, p. 196
• ENSO is an example of a global-scale weather
Q25: What is the El Nino effect on winter weather in
the U.S.?
A: Northwestern U.S. usually has a
warmer winter, Southeast usualy has a wetter winter,
and often Arizona has a wetter winter
El Nino
Other Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions
North Atlantic Oscillation: based on pressure difference
between Bermuda and Iceland
Arctic Oscillation: pressure difference between about 45oN
and Arctic
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: Pacific surface temperature
pattern changes every 30-50 years
Over the tropical Pacific, PDO pattern is not very different from
Over midlatitude Pacific, PDO pattern is different from ENSO
Fig. 7-36, p. 199
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