# Atmospheric and Oceanic Circulation

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1 Atmospheric and Oceanic Circulation

2 Atmospheric circulation transfers energy and mass over the Earth Redistributes surplus energy along the tropics to deficit areas Generates weather patterns Produces ocean currents Spread natural and anthropogenic pollution

3 What is atmospheric pressure?

4 Atmospheric Pressure Air pressure pressure exerted on the surface of the earth by the atmosphere. Motion, size and number of air molecules within the atmosphere determine the temperature and density of air Temperature and density of air determine the pressure it exerts on the surface Air pressure is caused by the force of gravity pulling the mass of the atmosphere toward the surface of the earth

5 What determines atmospheric pressure?

6 Atmospheric Pressure -Pressure = force per unit area -Due to gravity the atmosphere exerts a force

7 According to the Ideal Gas Law: : density (ρ)( ) and temperature (T) control atmospheric pressure (P) P = ρrt R = a constant

8 Pressure, Density & Temperature Density (ρ)( Amount of matter (mass) per unit volume (kg/m 3 ) Density (of a gas) is directly proportional to pressure Density varies with altitude

9 Pressure, Density & Temperature Temperature (T) Molecules move faster in hot air than cold air Faster = more collisions (more force) and therefore higher pressure Temperature is directly proportional to pressure

10 Pressure, Density & Temperature In the atmosphere density and temperature do not change independently Example: When air in the atmosphere is heated it expands and causes a decrease in density and pressure

11 How is atmospheric pressure measured?

12 Atmospheric Pressure Atmospheric pressure is often measured in millibars (mb) Atmospheric pressure at sea level is millibars (standard pressure) At the earth s surface, pressure varies from 980 mb to 1030 mb (about 5%)

13 Atmospheric Pressure: In 1643, a student of Galileo, Evangelista Torricelli developed a method for measuring air pressure while trying to drain mines. Noticed that water levels within mines varied daily Arrived at the theory that the downward force of the atmosphere on the water surface also fluctuated days of higher air pressure caused lower water levels within mines

14 Measurement of Atmospheric Pressure: Atmospheric pressure is measured using and instrument called a barometer A mercurial barometer measures atmospheric pressure with a column of mercury Sea-level pressure (1013mb) also can be defined as inches of mercury (in. Hg)

15 Atmospheric Pressure A more common type of barometer is the aneroid barometer It uses the pressure exerted against a partial vacuum to measure air pressure

16 Note: decrease in air pressure with increase in elevation - Decrease boiling point of water - 0 m 100 C m 90 C m 80 C - Increase in cooking times at higher elevations

17 Wind Wind horizontal movement of air Produced by differences in air pressure from one location to another Air moves from locations of high pressure to locations of low pressure Measurement: wind has two principal components - Speed (anemometer) - Directions (wind vane)

18 Wind Vane: -Points in the direction air is moving -Wind is named based on the direction from which it originated -Designated by compass directions

19 Forces Driving Atmospheric Motion

20 Four forces affect the direction and speed of air (wind) as it moves throughout the atmosphere: 3. Gravitational force 4. Pressure gradient force 5. Coriolis force 6. Friction

21 1) Gravity: Draws the mass of the atmosphere towards the surface of the earth Causes decrease in pressure and mass with increasing elevation Would not have an atmosphere or air pressure without it

22 2) Pressure Gradient Force: air moves from high pressure regions to low pressure Variations in air pressure are caused by uneven heating of the earth s surface.

23 Uneven heating of the earth s surface Warm surfaces encourage upward vertical motion Upward airflow Converging Horizontal Air Low pressure area Converging Horizontal Air Warm Surface

24 Uneven heating of the earth s surface As air molecules cool, they condense and decend towards the surface Air Cools Diverging Horizontal Air High pressure area Diverging Horizontal Air

25 Lines of equal pressure are isobars: - b/c air moves from high to low pressure, the PGF is exerted at 90º angles from the isobars - When isobars are close together the pressure gradient is higher stronger winds - When isobars are farther apart the pressure gradient is lower weaker winds

26

27

28 3) Coriolis Force: air flow is deflected from a straight path by the rotation of the earth Earth s rotational speed increases from the poles toward the equator 0km /hr at the poles, 1675km /hr at equator Deflection increases north and south of the poles No deflection at the equator

29 3) Coriolis Force: - The earth rotates eastward - Deflection causes air motion to curve to the right in the N Hem - Deflection causes air motion to curve to the left in the S Hem

30 Geostrophic Wind upper level winds that move parrallel to isolines b/c the coriolis force are equal Rather than air flowing from high to low pressure, air moves around high and low pressure areas Occurs within upper levels of the troposphere

31

32 Northern Hemisphere

33 Northern Hemisphere

34 Northern Hemisphere

35 Northern Hemisphere

36 Northern Hemisphere

37 4) Frictional force: drag (backward force) on wind as it moves over the earth s surface Extends to and elevation of about 500m Decreases with increasing elevation Varies with surface texture, wind speed, time of day/year, and atmos conditions Decreases speed of wind

38 Northern Hemisphere

39 Summary of Forces: Gravity pulls atmosphere toward earth creating air pressure PGF air moves from high to low pressure perpendicular to isolines Coriolis deflects wind direction due to earth s rotation - zero at the equator - right in N hem; left in S Hem Friction backward force on air movement slowing it down

40 NAME CIRCULATION SPIN VERTICAL MOTION HORIZONTAL MOTION WEATHER High Pressure Anticyclone N Hem : cw circulation S Hem : ccw circulation Air spins out from center Sinking Air Surface divergence Upper-level convergence Clear skies, sunshine Low Pressure Cyclone N Hem : ccw circulation S Hem : cw circulation Air spins in to center Rising Air Surface convergence Upper-level divergence Clouds, precipitation

41 Global Air Pressure Patterns: Temperature differences along the equator and at the poles cause pressure differences: Pressure differences cause air to flow Warm air along the equator rises creating low pressure Cold, more dense air over the poles sinks creating high pressure These pressure differences cause air to flow from the poles north and south to the equator This north-south air flow is called meridinal flow

42 Four primary pressure areas for each hemisphere: - Equatorial low-pressure trough (10 N & S) - Polar high-pressure cells (90 N & S) - Subtropical high-pressure cells (20-35 N & S) - Subpolar low-pressure cells (60 N & S)

43 - Equatorial low-pressure trough (10 N & S) - Caused by intense heating of the earth s surface - Warm air rises creating low pressure and associated weather - Characterized by warm, wet atmospheric conditions - Polar high-pressure cells (90 N & S) - Subtropical high-pressure cells (20-35 N & S) - Subpolar low-pressure cells (60 N & S)

44 - Equatorial low-pressure trough (10 N & S) - Polar high-pressure cells (90 N & S) - Caused by sinking air over cold surface - Characterized by cold, dry air - Subtropical high-pressure cells (20-35 N & S) - Subpolar low-pressure cells (60 N & S)

45 - Equatorial low-pressure trough (10 N & S) - Polar high-pressure cells (90 N & S) - Subtropical high-pressure cells (20-35 N & S) - Caused by dry, sinking air - Characterized by hot, dry air - Subpolar low-pressure cells (60 N & S)

46 - Equatorial low-pressure trough (10 N & S) - Polar high-pressure cells (90 N & S) - Subtropical high-pressure cells (20-35 N & S) - Subpolar low-pressure cells (60 N & S) - Caused by the clash of warmer, wet maritime air and cold, dry polar air - The warmer marine air rises over colder, heavier polar air - Characterized by cool, wet air

47 Equatorial low-pressure trough: Long, narrow band of low pressure encircling the earth Air converges along the surface towards the center Creates trade winds (NE in N Hem; SE in S. Hem) Air moves toward equator and is deflected wast by coriolis Warm air rises along equator Intertropical Convergence Zone Surface flow along the ITCZ is minimal Doldrums Air Characteristics: - constant altitude and consistent daylength result in large amounts of available energy - Energy warms and lightens air near the surface causing it to rise - Air is very moist; lots of evaporation from nearby oceans

48 Equatorial low-pressure trough: Air rises into upper atmosphere moving away from equator Air sinks and returns to surface and diverges Some air moves back toward the ITCZ (hadley( cell) Process is repeated Results in band of tropical weather systems Warm, moist air masses Precipitation Amazon rainforest

49 Subtropical high-pressure cells: Broad zone of high pressure along subtropical latitudes Upper-level air moves north and south of ITCZ and eventually sinks along subtropical latitudes Moisture is removed by precipitation along the ITCZ Still within the area of energy surpluses Resulting in anticyclonic conditions characterized by hot, dry air world s deserts Air circulation: Air diverges along surface: Moves toward equator easterly trade winds Moves toward poles westerlies

50 Subtropical high-pressure cells: Anticyclonic circulation (cw in N Hem) - drier land conditions and cool ocean currents along eastern edge - Wetter land conditions and warm ocean currents along wester edge - surface winds along high pressure zones are calm - Horse latitudes (sailing)

51 Subpolar low-pressure cells: Occur along the boundary midlatitude air masses and polar air Boundary called the polar front Midlatitude air is warm/cool and moist Polar air is cold and dry Air converges along Polar Front and rises Warmer midlatitude air rises above colder polar air Moisture within warmer air mass is condensed Results in cyclonic conditions precipitation Westerlies and roaring forties

52 Polar high-pressure cells: Occur over poles, poleward of the polar front Anticyclonic circulation of cold, dry air around poles Weak, polar easterlies

53 Upper Atmospheric Circulation

54 Upper level atmospheric circulation is monitored on a constant pressure surface or a constant isobaric surface The height of the 500mb pressure surface: - This height varies - The layer of air under an upper-level high pressure system are thicker - 500mb isobar is at a higher elevation - 500mb isobars bend poleward on map ridge - The layer of air under an upper-level low pressure system are thinner - 500mb isobar is at a higher elevation - 500mb isobars bend equatorward on map trough

55 Upper atmospheric circulation generate surface pressure systems Divergence of upper-level air results in a void Surface air will rise to fill upper level void Rising air at the surface results in surface low pressure cyclones Convergence of upper-level air results in build up of air Air will be pushed down toward the surface Sinking air at the surface results in surface high pressure anticyclones

56 Rossby Waves- undulations within the smooth westerly flow of geostrophic winds Cold air poleward of polar front; warm air equatorward Develop along the polar jet stream Waves send cold polar air equatorward and warm midlatitude air poleward Distinct cyclonic and anticyclonic systems form as warm air is pushed closer to the poles and cold air is squeezed toward equator Cold, cyclonic systems can be squeezed out and move even further south

57 Jet Stream: : irregular, concentrated band of wind at several locations that supports surface weather systems km wide, m thick, with core velocities exceeding 300 kmph Weaken during summer and strengthen in winter Polar jet stream - located along the tropopause along the polar front Elevation of ,700m, between N and S Subtropical jet stream - along the boundary btw tropical and midlatitide air N and S The polar and subtropical jet streams can flow over N. America at the same time and can even merge

58 Local Winds

59 A Sea Breeze

60 Sea breeze - during the day the land heats faster than the ocean Air over the land is warmer than that over ocean Warmer air is less dense and rises leaving a void over land Cooler ocean air flows laterally over land to fill void A sea breeze is strongest in mid-afternoon! Why?..

61 A Land Breeze

62 Land Breeze: : at night land cools faster than ocean Air over land is cooler than that over ocean Warmer, less dense air over ocean rises leaving a void Cooler air over land flow laterally over ocean

63 Mountain-valley breezes - breezes created by the exchange of cool mountain air and warmer valley air Valley air gains heat rapidly during the day Warmer valley air rises moving upslope Mountain air loses heat rapidly at night Cooler mountain air sinks downslope Katabatic winds - cold dense air from elevated terrain flows downslope Larger regional scale than mountain valley breezes Generally form along an elevated highland or plateau Also very common over ice sheets

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65 Monsoonal Winds - shifting wind system seasonally b/c of regional scale pressure changes Typical of SE Asia but also occurs over SW U.S. Large seasonal temp difference occur over SE Asia b/c of its continentality In winter, ITCZ is over Indian Ocean and Asia dominated by subtropical high pressure cell Region characterised by dry, cool air with very little precip

66 Monsoonal Winds - shifting wind system seasonally b/c of regional scale pressure changes Typical of SE Asia but also occurs over SW U.S. Large seasonal temp difference occur over SE Asia b/c of its continentality In winter, ITCZ is over Indian Ocean and Asia dominated by subtropical high pressure cell Region characterised by dry, cool air with very little precip In summer, ITCZ is over SE Asia, which is dominated by tropical low pressure, and subtropical high pressure is centered over Indian Ocean Results in world record rainfall amounts

67 Ocean Circulation

68 Ocean currents are driven by the frictional drag of wind and their direction is affected by: - the coriolis force - Water density differences caused by temperature and salinity - Configuration of land masses and the ocean floor - Astronomical forces (tides)

69 Surface Currents ocean currents are driven by the circulation around high pressure systems and deflected by the coriolis force. Gyres: circulation patterns caused by circulation around high pressure systems

70 Equatorial Currents ocean currents that are driven westward by the trade winds Located near the equator Are not deflected by coriolis force b/c it is zero along the equator Such currents push water west toward the eastern shores of land masses Causes water to pile up along eastern coasts of continents Western Intensification (15cm)

71 The case of the rubber duck! - Jan 1994, a large container ship from Hong Kong - Loaded with toys and other goods - One container split off Japanese coast (30,000 rubber ducks, turtles and frogs) - Similar thing happened with 60,000 pairs of athletic shoes - Trip of the floating ducks took over a decade!

72 Deep Water Circulation ocean water also moves along the ocean floor in distinct patterns resulting from vertical motion

73 Upwelling currents: occur where surface water is swept away from the coast by surface divergence (coriolis and offshore winds) this allows cold, deep ocean water to move up from the ocean floor toward the surface nutrients for fishing Downwelling currents: occur where excess water accumulation along a coast causes surface water to be pushed to greater ocean depths (west end of the equatorial currents) This allows surface ocean water to move down to the ocean floor Warmer surface water is cooled Water flows along the ocean floor until it is upwelled

74 This continuous flow of surface water to the bottom and bottom water to the surface transports heat and energy around the globe: - Water that moves along the equator is warmed and transports that heat to the poles where it loses heat as it cools, sinks, and flows back to the ocean floor - That cold bottom water eventually upwells and is warmed and continues circulating - Process takes about 1,000 years - Currents have shifted throughout geologic history

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