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Weather & Atmosphere Animations. Weather & Atmosphere Animations. Click to go to menu. For Classroom use by Mary E. Massey. Menu. Next slide. Land & Sea Breezes Air Masses Fronts High & Low Pressure Interpreting Weather Convection Coriolis Effect Climate Ocean Currents Global Winds.

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slide1

Weather & Atmosphere Animations

Weather & Atmosphere Animations

Click to go to menu

For Classroom use by Mary E. Massey

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Menu

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Land & Sea Breezes

Air Masses

Fronts

High & Low Pressure

Interpreting Weather

Convection

Coriolis Effect

Climate

Ocean Currents

Global Winds

Thunderstorms

Lightening Strikes

Hurricanes

Tornados

The Water Cycle

Clouds

States of Matter

Atmospheric Layers

Test Prep

What is Weather?See how and why the state of our atmosphere changes from day to day in this BrainPOP movie.

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Land & Sea Breezes

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Observe an animation of land and sea breezes.Keycode: ES1903

Unequal heating of air over land and water results in breezes near shorelines. While the land is warm during the day, air above it rises, and a cool breeze blows in from the sea. As the land cools off at night, air pressure over it increases, and a cool land breeze blows out to the sea. Examine the changing temperature of the land throughout the 24 hours represented in the animation.

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Air Masses

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View satellite movies of air masses moving across North America.Keycode: ES2001

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Air Masses

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View satellite movies of air masses moving across North America.Keycode: ES2001

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Air Masses

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An air mass is a large (usually thousands of miles across) volume of air that has horizontally uniform properties in terms of temperature, and to a lesser extent humidity. Air masses acquire their properties from spending days to weeks over the same part of the Earth: say over northern Canada, the North Pole, the tropical Pacific Ocean, etc. Polar air masses become very cold, especially in the winter, because relatively little sunlight shines on the poles of the Earth, and so the air mass continuously loses infrared radiation to outer space, which cools it, with little or no sunlight to offset that cooling. A "continental polar" air mass will be somewhat colder and less humid (from being over very cold land) than a "maritime polar" air mass, which has been somewhat warmed and moistened by the ocean. A "tropical maritime" air mass will be very warm and humid. A "tropical continental" air mass usually covers much of the United States in the summertime. Other air mass types include "arctic", "equatorial", and "monsoon". On average, warm air masses tend to flow towards the poles, and cold air masses tend to flow towards the equator, helping to cool the tropics and warm the polar regions.

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Cold Front

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Click to see animation!

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Warm Front

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Click to see animation!

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Occluded Front

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Front Animations

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Compare and contrast warm and cold fronts.Keycode: ES2002

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High Pressure

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Low Pressure

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High & Low Pressure

ES2003  Satellite Images of the Storm of the Century

http://www.classzone.com/books/earth_science/terc/content/investigations/es2003/es2003page04.cfm

This animation shows color-enhanced satellite images of the "Storm of the Century," which occurred March 12 through 14, 1993. Different colors in the clouds indicate the intensity of precipitation falling from them.

The graph below the images shows how barometric pressure changed at West Palm Beach, Florida as the storm approached and passed.

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High & Low Pressure

Examine how barometric pressure changes with weather conditions.Keycode: ES1902

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Interpreting Weather

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Write ten (10) things in your journal based on what this map reveals to you.

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Earth’s Spheres

Observe a visual model of Earth's spheres.Keycode: ES0102

Pendulums generally swing back and forth in a single plane fixed in space. On Earth however, if the path of a pendulum's swing is traced out over time, the orientation of the plane appears to change. This provides evidence for Earth's rotation because it shows that Earth is rotating underneath the unchanging orientation of the pendulum's swing.

This animation shows two views of a pendulum swinging over the North Pole. The drawing shows the path traced out by the swinging pendulum.

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Climate

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Observe how nature records climate change.Keycode: ES2104

Observe images of different climate zones.Keycode: ES2103

Click on the red spots to see the climate in that area.

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Climate

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Ocean Currents

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Major ocean currents of the world. On this illustration red arrows indicate warm currents, while cold currents are displayed in blue.

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Ocean Currents

Ocean CurrentsLearn how and why ocean currents move in this BrainPOP animated movie.

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Ocean Currents & Global Winds

Examine global surface currents.Keycode: ES2401

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Ocean Currents & Global Winds

Observe how the monsoon changes direction.Keycode: ES2402

This animation shows average wind and precipitation data for the months of April through December over a five-year period. Seasonal changes in the location of air pressure belts cause the winds to change direction. Observe how conditions change from April to December. Determine when the winds reverse direction and what type of weather they bring to India and Southeast Asia.

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Air flows from areas of higher pressure to areas of lower pressure. Based on this fact, the predicted wind direction for the area on the left side of this satellite image would be from the southeast. The Coriolis Effect influences wind by deflecting its path to the right in the Northern Hemisphere. The sequence of

weather satellite images shows that the actual wind direction is from the southwest. The

satellite images show atmospheric motion over the northern Pacific Ocean for a 36-hour period.Click the image to see the animation. Use the movie controls to step through or replay the movie.

Observe an animation of the Coriolis effect over Earth's surface.Keycode: ES1904

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A plane flying from Anchorage, Alaska directly toward Miami, Florida would miss its target due to the Coriolis effect. The target location where the plane was headed when it took off has moved with Earth's rotation, so the plane would end up to the right of its original target.

Observe how the Coriolis effect influences wind direction.Keycode: ES1905

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A plane flying from Tierra del Fuego, Argentina directly toward Rio de Janeiro, Brazil would miss its target due to the Coriolis effect. The target location where the plane was headed when it took off has moved with Earth's rotation, so the plane would end up to the left of its original target. In reality, pilots take the Coriolis effect into account so they do not miss their targets.

Observe how the Coriolis effect influences wind direction.Keycode: ES1905

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Thunderstorms

Warm, moist air rising over central Florida on August 2, 1995 resulted in a series of large thunderstorm cells. The GOES 9 weather satellite, on orbit approximately 35,800 km (22,300 miles) above Earth recorded the development of these storms from dawn to dusk.

After a clear morning, warm unstable air rose, generating light cloud cover over land. Intense updrafts formed several cumulonimbus clouds. Examine the images carefully to see the effect of the downdrafts as each thunderstorm cell matured.

Observe an animation of a thunderstorm.Keycode: ES2004

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Lightening Strikes

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Electrons flow down from the cloud to the ground

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Lightening Strikes

Static ElectricityWhat causes static electricity? Find out as Tim and Moby explore electric charges in this animated BrainPOP movie.

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Lightening Strikes

Positive strikes can be in advance of negative strikes and can be twice as

strong. They are particularly dangerous as they can occur several miles ahead

of the storm with larger peak current for longer duration making fire more likely.

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Lightening Strikes

All severe thunderstorms require strong vertical wind shear.

Updrafts stay ahead of the downdrafts.

Updrafts and downdrafts wrap around each other due to wind shear.

Downdrafts reinforce updrafts.

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Acts like an advancing cold front.

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Sea Surface Temps

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Observe seasonal changes in the amount of sunlight reaching locations on Earth.Keycode: ES1704

Examine infrared images that show variation in surface temperature.Keycode: ES1705

Consider how the sea surface temperature pattern shifts over time.

Does the location of the pattern change with respect to longitude or latitude?

By how many degrees does the pattern shift?

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Hurricanes

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  • Sept. 18, 2003: If you happened to be in North Carolina, the sight of advancing Hurricane Isabel was surely unwelcome. From space, though, it was a thing of beauty.
  • NSA's Terra satellite took this picture at 11:50 a.m. EDT on Sept. 18th just as heart of Isabel was making landfall. Red-, green- and blue-filtered images were combined to create a true-color view of the dangerous storm. A similar image was captured on Sept. 17th by NASA's Aqua satellite.
  • "The colors are natural," says Gary Jedlovec, a climate scientist at the National Space Science and Technology Center in Huntsville, AL. "This is what an astronaut would see looking down on the hurricane from orbit."
  • In fact, Terra and Aqua see much more than human eyes can. So do their sister satellites TRMM, Jason-1 and QuickScat--all members of NASA's Earth-observing fleet. Onboard instruments sense the temperature of the air, the distribution of moisture around the storm, the speed of its winds. They can even measure the heights of clouds.
  • "These data are invaluable to researchers who are trying to understand the inner workings of hurricanes," says Jedlovec.
  • What causes a hurricane to start? Which way will it go? And how long will it last? Millions of people under that big swirling cloud have a sudden interest in these questions. Terra, Aqua, and the others are finding the answers.
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Hurricanes

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  • A similar image was captured on Sept. 17th by NASA's Aqua satellite.
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Hurricanes

GOES 8 satellite images of hurricane Dennis approaching the coast of Florida on August 28, 1999.

Observe an animation of a hurricane.Keycode: ES2008

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Hurricanes

  • Take Warm Water, Stir
  • Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) must be 82 degrees Fahrenheit (F) or warmer for tropical cyclone formation and sustenance.
  • Next, add a disturbance.
  • Mix Thoroughly, Bake
  • Another necessary ingredient is rotating winds over the ocean's surface. These winds are a precursor to tropical cyclone development
  • With the right mix of winds and SSTs, an ordinary cluster of tropical thunderstorms can explode into a tropical storm.
  • Winds converge, forming the familiar circular pattern of clouds.
  • Warm, rising air in the storms draws water vapor up from the ocean. The vapor condenses in clouds and releases heat, warming the eye, evaporating more surface water and feeding the hurricane's heat engine, continuing the cycle.
  • Hurricane Heat Engine
  • Air temperature and humidity are also important factors.

A Hurricane Tracker’s favorite meal!

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Hurricanes

Click picture to view a hurricane simulation

Orange and red indicate the necessary 82-degree and warmer sea surface temperatures (SSTs) needed. The data for this image was collected by the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-EOS (AMSR/E) aboard the Aqua satellite from May 2002.

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Hurricanes

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Hurricanes

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Hurricanes

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Hurricanes

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The map above shows the paths of all tropical cyclones that occurred between 1985 and 2005. Tropical cyclones are also known as hurricanes. The color of each path indicates the strength of the storm (according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale).

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Hurricanes

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Average Sea Temperatures

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Hurricanes

Watch Stronger HurricanesAired January 10, 2006 on PBS

Program Description

Are hurricanes becoming more intense? As M.I.T. atmospheric scientist Kerry Emanuel relates in this video, over the past half century the average strength and duration of hurricanes in the tropical regions of both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans has doubled. Sea surface temperatures have also been on the rise, likely exacerbating the situation. Will this sobering trend continue?

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Tornados

Scientists developed this computer simulation to better understand the movement of air within the vortex of a tornado. Colored surfaces in the diagram show areas of equal air pressure, with pressure decreasing from gray through red, orange, and blue. Air inside the blue surfaces experiences the most intense upward movement. "Marker" particles that begin on the ground show various airflow paths in the tornado; the line behind each particle indicates its relative speed and direction. The simulation shows that one of the strongest parts of a vortex is where a tornado touches the ground.

Examine an animation of a tornado.Keycode: ES2006

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Tornados

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The Water Cycle

Observe animated satellite images of water vapor.Keycode: ES1801

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The Water Cycle

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The Water Cycle

Observe a raindrop traveling through various paths of the water cycle.Keycode: ES0105

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The Water Cycle

Water CycleSee how all of the water on Earth is recycled again and again in this animated BrainPOP movie.

HumidityWatch this BrainPOP movie to find out what people mean when they say it's "humid" outside. Find out why warm air can hold more water molecules than cold air.

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The Water Cycle

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high above the earth, fluffy white clouds drifted through the atmosphere. In the clouds lived a little Droplet of water, round and content with life. For as long as he could remember, he spent his days lying on his back, relaxing and soaking up the sun's warm rays. One day, he took his usual place in the sun but the light didn't seem to be as bright. In fact, as the day went on, it grew darker and darker, loud claps of thunder shook the cloud, and the Droplet felt as if he were getting so heavy he could hardly move.

Suddenly, the Droplet felt himself falling from the cloud. Down, down, down he fell, farther and father from home. At last he landed on the earth, in the dark green foliage of the rainforest. Around him as far as he could see were tall trees, dense green leaves, red mushrooms and multicolored insects of every shape and size. Strange creatures surrounded him, and the sounds and sights were like nothing he had ever seen or heard before. All he was sure of was that he wanted to go back home. But how?

And so begins the adventure of Droplet, the water molecule, as he enters the great water cycle- condensation, precipitation, infiltration, runoff, and evapotranspiration-and starts his journey home. Your task, as you play this game, is to get him safely through the forest, into the river, and out to sea so that the sun can warm him once again and help him get back to the clouds. You can make Droplet run, jump, climb, slide, take rides on passing leaves, and stun his enemies. But the trip will not be easy. All creatures on earth need water to stay alive. In the forest, he can get slurped up by butterflies and praying mantises. In the river and the ocean, sharks, turtles and other sea creatures pose other challenges! And beware of hidden traps in the ocean floor! Good luck and have a safe trip!

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The Water Cycle

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The Water Cycle

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Click picture to play game

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The Water Cycle

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Click the picture to view the simulation.

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The Water Cycle

  • Download Options for Animation PIA11424: Water Vapor Transport, June through November 2005 (Movie)

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Click here to watch water vapor transport simulation

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Download Options for Animation PIA11424: Water Vapor Transport, June through November 2005 (Movie)

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The Water Cycle

  • Download Options for Animation PIA11424: Water Vapor Transport, June through November 2005 (Movie)

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The Water Cycle

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Download Options for Animation PIA11424: Water Vapor Transport, June through November 2005 (Movie)

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Clouds

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Observe clouds form and dissipate.Keycode: ES1803

Observe clouds forming and dissipating.

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Clouds

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Clouds

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CloudsJoin Tim and Moby as they explain the different cloud types and how they form in this animated BrainPOP movie.

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Clouds

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Advection fog can form when warm, moist air blows over cool land or water. Unlike radiation fogs, advection fogs move into an area, sometimes as a thick bank of fog that engulfs an area. Coastal areas can experience advection fog when moist air crosses a cool ocean current before hitting land. Click on the bottom right corner of each picture to blow up the image.

Observe images of advection fog.Keycode: ES1802

Fog is a low-lying stratus cloud, near the ground.

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Clouds-Hail

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Examine an animation of hail forming.Keycode: ES1805

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States of Matter

Gas (water vapor)

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Solid (ice)

Liquid (glass of water)

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Atmospheric Layers

Observe a visual model of Earth's spheres.Keycode: ES0102

To view the four different types of earth’s spheres click picture.

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http://sunshine.chpc.utah.edu/labs/Solar_Energy/SolarEnergy.swf

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Atmospheric Layers

http://sunshine.chpc.utah.edu/labs/atmosphere/atm_composition.swf

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To view the Atmospheric Gases Interactive Lesson click picture.

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Atmospheric Layers

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The troposphere is a layer of Earth's atmosphere. It starts at the ground and goes up to 10 km (6 miles) high. We live in the troposphere. Weather happens in this layer. Most clouds are found in the troposphere. The higher you go in the troposphere, the colder it gets.

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Atmospheric Layers

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The stratosphere is the second layer (going upward) of Earth's atmosphere. It is above the troposphere and below the mesosphere. The ozone layer is within the stratosphere.

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Atmospheric Layers

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The mesosphere starts about 50 km (31 miles) above the ground and goes all the way up to 85 km (53 miles) high. The layer below is the stratosphere. The layer above is the thermosphere. The border between the mesosphere and the thermosphere is called the mesopause. Most meteors burn up in the mesosphere. A type of lightning called sprites sometimes appears in the mesosphere above thunderstorms. Strange, high-altitude clouds called noctilucent clouds sometimes form in this layer near the North and South Poles. It is not easy to study the mesosphere directly. Weather balloons can't fly high enough and satellites can't orbit low enough. Scientists use sounding rockets to study the mesosphere. The top of the mesosphere is the coldest part of the atmosphere. It can get down to -90° C (-130° F) there! As you go higher in the mesosphere, the air gets colder

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Atmospheric Layers

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Strange, high-altitude clouds called noctilucent clouds sometimes form in this layer near the North and South Poles. These mystifying clouds are called Polar Mesospheric Clouds, or PMCs, when they are viewed from space and referred to as "night-shining" clouds or Noctilucent Clouds, when viewed by observers on Earth. The clouds form in an upper layer of the Earth’s atmosphere called the mesosphere during the summer and can be seen from the high latitudes on Earth.

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Atmospheric Layers

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The space shuttle and the International Space Station both orbit Earth within the thermosphere!

This is an image of the space shuttle as it is orbiting around the Earth. The space shuttle orbits in the thermosphere of the Earth. The air density is so low in this layer that most of the thermosphere is what we normally think of as outer space.

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Atmospheric Layers

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http://sunshine.chpc.utah.edu/labs/atmosphere/ozone/atm_layers_questions.swf

Click the picture to do the Interactive Atmosphere Activity.

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Atmospheric Layers

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Auroras occur on Earth when ionized particles from the sun interact with air molecules in the upper atmosphere. The particles are deflected toward the North and South Poles by Earth's magnetic field, so auroras are most often visible at very high latitudes. When the ionized particles enter Earth's upper atmosphere (the ionosphere), their reaction with gas molecules can look like colorful light particles raining down. The ground-based images of auroras were taken in Alaska.

Observe auroras as seen from the ground and from space.Keycode: ES1703

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Atmospheric Layers

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Click any picture to view the atmospheric balloon activity.

Observe how air pressure affects a rising balloon.Keycode: ES1901

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Atmospheric Layers

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Click any picture to use the Greenhouse Effect Interactive Activity

http://sunshine.chpc.utah.edu/labs/atmosphere/greenhouse.swf

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Atmospheric Layers

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The Greenhouse Effect    The "greenhouse effect" is the heating of the Earth due to the presence of greenhouse gases.  It is named this way because of a similar effect produced by the glass panes of a greenhouse.  Shorter-wavelength solar radiation from the sun passes through Earth's atmosphere, then is absorbed by the surface of the Earth, causing it to warm.  Part of the absorbed energy is then reradiated back to the atmosphere as long wave infared radiation.  Little of this long wave radiation escapes back into space;   the radiation cannot pass through the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The greenhouse gases selectively transmit the infared waves, trapping some and allowing some to pass through into space. The greenhouse gases absorb these waves and reemits the waves downward, causing the lower atmosphere to warm.

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Test Practice

Standardized Test Practice

Water

Atmosphere

Weather