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Temperature. Temperature=average KE of molecules , or average speed of molecules: . Warm air is less dense, cool air is more dense. Temperature Scales. Kelvin scale. Based on absolute zero—temperature at which all motion stops -273 o C= -459 o F= 0 o K Centigrade (Celsius)

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  • Temperature=average KE of molecules, or average speed of molecules:

Warm air is less dense, cool air is more dense

temperature scales
Temperature Scales
  • Kelvin scale. Based on absolute zero—temperature at which all motion stops
    • -273o C= -459o F= 0o K
  • Centigrade (Celsius)
    • Water freezes at 0oC and boils at 100oC
  • Fahrenheit
    • Water freezes at 32oF and boils at 212oF….
  • Converting oC to oF: Double the C temperature and then add 30…close ‘nuff most of the time

oC*1.8 + 32=oF


Influences on Temperature

  • Latitude
  • Altitude
  • Atmospheric circulation-weather
      • -clouds,wind
  • Contrasts between land and water
  • Warm and cold ocean currents
  • Local impacts on temperature

LATITUDE—Remember how the seasons work

Isotherms: Lines of equal




23 Jun. 2007



Remember that temperature decreases with height in the troposphere

Temp A > Temp B

Temp C >Temp B





daily temperatures weather
Daily temperatures & weather
  • When solar energy in > longwave energy out—temperature rises
  • Maximum occurs in late afternoon...clouds, haze, humidity, and ground cover control timing and maximum value
  • Minimum occurs just before sunrise






Seasons (pp.43-50)

Know and understand figure2-11 and 2-12 on p.44

September 22-23

March 21-22

December 21-22

June 21-22

lag in seasonal temperatures
Lag in seasonal temperatures
  • Most incoming radiation occurs on Jun 21st, but hottest air temperatures happen in July/Aug
  • Similar opposite case with winter solstice
    • Time lag caused by earth’s surface specific heat
High latitudes lose more energy to space than they receive from sun each year—opposite in the lower latitudes
    • Energy transport must occur to balance
daily temperature variations
Daily Temperature Variations
  • Daytime warming—begins as conduction in layer nearest warm ground
    • On a calm day, convection can’t influence the lowest portion of the air—can get temperature profile like this:
effects of winds on lower atmospheric temperatures
Effects of winds on lower atmospheric temperatures

Check out the wind

Chill chart on

Page 83!

  • Wind causes “forced convection”—much more efficient vertical transfer of heat
  • Therefore surface is cooler than expected as upper level cool air mixes with surface warm air
day night radiation differences
Day – Night Radiation Differences
  • During day, the absorption gain from the sun’s short wave radiation is greater than the earth’s long wave radiation loss, so temperature rises.
  • During night, the earth’s long wave radiation loss is greater, so temperature falls.
radiation inversion
Radiation Inversion
  • Air temperature usually decreases with height (lapse rate)
  • At night, ground cools, and air near ground can become much cooler than air above—radiation inversion forms
    • Temperature increases with height—usually not much higher than 300 feet above the ground
    • Extremely stable conditions —fog often forms as air reaches Dew Point temperature
  • Long nights, calm winds, dry and cloud-free atmosphere are most favorable conditions for inversion formation
formation of radiation inversion
Formation of Radiation Inversion

How does the nighttime temperature profile change on a windy night?


Impact of clouds on daily temperature

During the nighttime, clouds

Cause outgoing longwave radiation

To be trapped. Therefore

Temperature is warmer than on a

Clear night.

During the day solar radiation is blocked by clouds

Therefore temperature is cooler at the surface than

On a clear day.


Land vs. coast

Water holds heat longer therefore it heats up slower and cools down slower than

The land.

If you live near a large body of water, it will act like insulation.

During the day, water will heat slowly

And take heat away from the coastal


During the night, water will release heat

slowly and keep the coastal city warmer.

Temp Ft. Walton Beach < Temp. Crestview

Temp Ft. Walton Beach > Temp. Crestview


Forecast: Cooler or Warmer??

  • Daytime: Coastal city vs. Inland city?
  • Nighttime: Coastal city vs. Inland city?
  • Daytime: city with clear skies vs. city with cloudy skies
  • Nighttime: city with clear skies vs. city with cloudy skies
  • Daytime: city at 6,000ft vs. city at sea level
  • Nighttime: city at 300ft vs. city at sea level