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Atmosphere. Water and Air… the two essential elements on which life depends have become global garbage cans. Essential Standards. EEn.2.5 Understand the structure of and processes within our atmosphere. EEn.2.5.1 Summarize the structure and composition of our atmosphere.

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Water and Air… the two essential elements on which life depends have become global garbage cans

Essential standards
Essential Standards

EEn.2.5 Understand the structure of and processes within our atmosphere.

  • EEn.2.5.1 Summarize the structure and composition of our atmosphere.

  • EEn.2.5.2 Explain the formation of typical air masses and the weather systems that result from air mass interactions.

  • EEn.2.5.3 Explain how cyclonic storms form based on the interaction of air masses.

  • EEn.2.5.4 Predict the weather using available weather maps and data (including surface, upper atmospheric winds, and satellite

  • imagery).

  • EEn.2.5.5 Explain how human activities affect air quality.

    EEn.2.6 Analyze patterns of global climate change over time.

  • EEn.2.6.1 Differentiate between weather and climate.

  • EEn.2.6.2 Explain changes in global climate due to natural processes.

  • EEn.2.6.3 Analyze the impacts that human activities have on global climate change (such as burning hydrocarbons, greenhouse effect,

  • and deforestation).

  • EEn.2.6.4 Attribute changes to Earth’s systems to global climate change (temperature change, changes in pH of ocean, sea level

  • changes, etc.).

Atmospheric composition
Atmospheric composition

Structure and processes


  • Create a chart for the next 2 weeks (Dec 20th will be the last day)

  • Each day we will observe the cloud types during your class

  • We will record the cloud types along with the weather each day

  • If the weather changes during the day – it is your responsibility to change / add to the weather for that day

  • You will write a brief conclusion at the end stating if you see a difference in the weather depending on the cloud type

Brief review
Brief Review

  • What was the composition of the original atmosphere like?

  • What evolved on Earth that drastically changed the composition?

  • How did these organisms change the composition of Earth’s atmosphere?

Mostly methane, carbon dioxide, and ammonia. Deadly to living organisms today


Drastically increased the oxygen content

What is the structure of the atmosphere
What is the structure of the atmosphere?

  • 4 layers from bottom to top

  • last layer sometimes divided in half to make 5

    • Troposphere – lowest layer, weather happens here

    • Stratosphere – next layer up, jets fly here, ozone found here

    • Mesosphere – meteors burn up here

    • Thermosphere – hottest layer, space stations here

      • Ionosphere – where auroras take place

      • Exosphere – outer layer, space stations

How are layers divided
How are layers divided?

  • According to temperature trends

  • Each layer is separated by a pause

    • Tropopause between troposphere and stratosphere etc

  • What happens to the temperature in each layer of the atmosphere?

  • Troposphere – temp decreases

  • Stratosphere – temp increases

  • Mesosphere – temp decreases

  • Thermosphere – temp increases

What is the atmosphere made of
What is the atmosphere made of?

  • Mostly nitrogen (N) – about 78%

  • Oxygen (O) – about 21%

  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2) – about .03%

Remember radiant energy
Remember radiant energy?

  • Comes from the sun

  • In many forms

    • Represented by the electromagnetic spectrum!

  • When it comes in contact with the ionosphere it can often create light shows called _________________.



  • Draw the atmosphere on your own!

  • You will need:

    • Large paper

    • Colored pencils

    • To label each layer

    • Draw an arrow at the bottom pointing to the right and label it temperature

    • Draw an arrow to the left side pointing up and label it altitude

    • Add ground

    • Label each layer of the atmosphere (place the ozone layer where it goes in green)

    • Draw a continuous line up your paper through each layer to indicate how the temperature changes with elevation

    • Add in a picture in each layer to indicate what is special about it

    • Turn in


  • Layers of the atmosphere worksheet

  • Turn in when finished

How does air move
How does air move?

  • In large pockets called air masses

  • Air masses move based on pressure

    • High pressure systems move toward low pressure systems (high  low)

How do air masses affect weather
How do air masses affect weather?

  • They pick up the characteristics of the area in which they form

  • They are very large (up to 1600km) making weather fairly consistent

  • They carry temperature and moisture over the area where they are moving

How are air masses classified
How are air masses classified?

  • Overall temperature

  • Where they formed

  • 4 major types

    • Polar –cold temps

    • Tropical –warm temps

    • Continental –dry air

    • Maritime – wet air (high water vapor content)

    • Arctic – very cold and dry

  • Type of air mass will consist of 2 words

What kind of air masses influence north american weather
What kind of air masses influence North American weather?

  • Mostly influenced by maritime tropical (mT) and continental polar (cP)

    air masses

What are continental polar air masses like
What are continental polar air masses like?

  • Cold dry winters

  • Cool dry summers

  • Not associated with precipitation

  • Subject to the “lake effect” when crossing the Great Lakes

    • Pick up moisture from the Great Lakes and may bring some precipitation

What are maritime tropical air masses like
What are maritime tropical air masses like?

  • Warm and loaded with moisture

  • Usually unstable

  • Source of most precipitation in the Eastern US

What are maritime polar air masses like
What are maritime polar air masses like?

  • Come from the North Pacific

  • Cold and dry turns into mild and humid

  • Unstable

  • Accompanied by low clouds and showers – snow in mountains

What are continental tropical air masses like
What are continental tropical air masses like?

  • Least influence in North America

  • Hot and dry

  • Only occasionally affect weather outside their source region

How do air masses move again
How do air masses move again?

  • Air pressure

    • Exerted in all directions

  • Object pushes back on the air with exactly the same force

  • Measured using a barometer

  • Typical air pressure:

    • 1 atmosphere (ATM)

    • 760 mm Hg (mercury)

    • 980 millibars

      weather and air pressure

How does pressure affect air masses
How does pressure affect air masses?



  • Air masses move from ____________  ____________ pressure

    • Causes wind

  • Unequal heating of Earth creates pressure differentials

    • How does land heat up compared to water?

  • Solar radiation is the ultimate source of wind

    • 3 factors

      • Pressure

      • Coriolis effect

      • friction


  • Build a barometer

  • You will need

    • A beaker

    • A balloon

    • A rubber band

    • A sheet of notebook paper

    • A pencil

  • We’ll check your barometer daily and compare it to actual barometric pressure


Come back to back

How can we tell where air masses are going
How can we tell where air masses are going?

  • Look for pressure

    • Red H is high pressure

    • Blue L is low pressure

  • Sometimes pressure is shown on maps in isobars, similar to isotherms

    • Iso means equal

    • Isobars are lines showing equal pressure

What is weather like in a high pressure system
What is weather like in a high pressure system?

  • Sunny

  • Clear

  • Dry

  • High day and low night temperatures

  • Calm

  • Dew and frost

  • Fog and mist

  • Stable sinking air

What is weather like in a low pressure system
What is weather like in a low pressure system?

  • Cloudy

  • Little sun

  • Wet

  • Mild temperatures for the time of year

  • Windy

  • Changeable weather

  • Unstable rising air

What is the difference in a cyclone and an anticyclone
What is the difference in a cyclone and an anticyclone?



Low pressure

Air rises and separates


Counterclockwise in northern

Clockwise in southern

  • High pressure

  • Air pushes together and sinks

  • Spin

    • Clockwise in northern hemisphere

    • Counterclockwise in southern







What is a front
What is a front?

  • The area where 2 air masses meet

  • 4 kinds of fronts

    • Warm front

    • Cold front

    • Stationary front

    • Occluded front

  • Each front has a symbol

  • Side of the line the symbols are on indicate direction of movement

What does each front mean
What does each front mean?

  • Warm front – warm air is replacing cold air

  • Cold front – cold air is replacing warm air

  • Stationary front – air masses are not moving due to similar pressures

  • Occluded front – warm air is pushed up due to cold air moving in from both directions

    front animation

What happens when cold and warm air meet
What happens when cold and warm air meet?

  • Cold air sinks and warm air rises

  • Warm air carries moisture

  • Moisture condenses

  • Clouds form

  • Once air is saturated with moisture, precipitation in some form occurs

What happens before and after a warm front
What happens before and after a warm front?



Warm and more humid

Clearing clouds

Rising barometer

Temp and dew point are close

  • Cool or cold temps

  • Falling barometer

  • Increasing, thickening clouds

  • Light to moderate precipitation

  • Temp and dew point get closer together

What is dewpoint
What is dewpoint?

  • The temperature at which air is saturated enough for water to condense

  • High dewpoint – temperature and dewpoint are close together

  • Low dewpoint – temperature and dewpoint are far apart

  • ALWAYS a dewpoint

What happens before and after cold fronts
What happens before and after cold fronts?



Lower temps

Rising pressure

Showers then clearing skies

Temp and dewpoint get further apart

  • Warm

  • Falling barometer

  • Increasing clouds

  • Short period of precipitation

  • Temp and dew point close together

What to expect from a stationary front
What to expect from a stationary front?

  • Changing winds and temperatures when crossing from one side of the front to the other

  • Similar pressure in air masses keeps them from moving

What can you expect from an occluded front
What can you expect from an occluded front?

  • Developing cyclones usually have a warm front and a faster moving cold front to wrap around them

  • Occluded fronts form when cold air catches up to a warm front that is trapped behind a cold front already in place

  • Change in temp, dewpoint, or wind possible

jet stream


  • Predicting weather

  • Edheads weather prediction

  • We’ll do this as a group


  • Complete the forecasting weather map worksheet

  • Put in the box when you are finished


How they form and what they mean

What happens as water evaporates
What happens as water evaporates?

  • Humidity – the amount of water in the air

  • Amount of water vapor increases = higher humidity

  • Air pressure increases as amount of water vapor increases

  • Air is saturated when water entering air = water returning to surface

  • Warm air contains more vapor than cold air

How is humidity measured
How is humidity measured?

  • Using a hygrometer

  • Relative humidity – ratio of actual amount of water in the air compared to the amount of water air can hold at that temperature and pressure

  • If amount of water vapor is constant, what will happen to the humidity if you raise the temperature? Lower it?

So how do clouds form
So how do clouds form?

  • Temperature can change without heat input or loss

  • These changes are called adiabatic temperature changes

  • Happens when air is compressed or expanded

    • Expansion cools

    • Compression warms

What happens to air and vapor as it rises
What happens to air and vapor as it rises?

  • Overall, air resists lifting

  • 4 factors make air light enough to be lifted

    • Oographic lifting

    • Frontal wedging

    • Convergence

    • Localized convective lifting

What is oographic lifting
What is oographic lifting?

  • Elevated terrain blocks air from moving forcing it to go up and over

  • Causes the rainshadow effect

    • Wettest places on the windward side of mountain

      • Lifting air reaches dew point and condenses  clouds form  air is pushed higher and forced to release moisture as precipitation

      • By the time air gets to the other side of the mountain the moisture has mostly been lost

What is frontal wedging
What is frontal wedging?

  • Air masses collide in flatter areas

  • Area between two air masses is a front

  • Cooler air sinks and warmer air rises  condenses  forms clouds

Brief review1
Brief Review

  • What is a front?

  • What are the 4 different types of fronts?

  • Draw each front as it appears on a weather map.

  • How does weather change as each front moves through?

What is convergence
What is convergence?

  • Air in lower atmosphere collides together and is forced upward

  • Air converging from 2 different directions must go somewhere, down is not an option

  • Example

    • Ocean winds blow toward the shore

    • In Florida, this happens on both sides of the state so air flows together

    • Produces many afternoon storms

What is localized convective lifting
What is localized convective lifting?

  • Due to unequal heating of Earth’s surface

    • Causes pockets of air to be warmer than surrounding air

      • Example: parking lots

  • Warm air will rise creating thermals

    • Birds and hang-gliders use these to glide higher with less energy

  • Warm air rises  reaches dewpoint  clouds form


  • Answer questions 1-7 on page 516 in your textbook

  • Use the chapter and your note sheets to help you answer the questions

  • Turn in when you are finished

What is the difference in stable and unstable air
What is the difference in stable and unstable air?

  • Air is forced to rise and its temperature is lowered by expansion

  • Cooler air sinks to its original position – stable

  • If it does not sink to its original position – unstable

    • Bad weather

  • stable vs. unstable air

What s the difference in stable and unstable air rising
What’s the difference in stable and unstable air rising?

  • Stable air resists vertical movement but some factors force it to rise

    • What are the 4 things that can make air rise?

  • When stable air rises – clouds are widespread and thin

  • Unstable air rising – clouds are thick and cover a small area

    • thunderstorms

What makes air density different
What makes air density different?

  • Temperature

    • Warm – rises

      • Like hot air balloons

    • Cool – sinks

  • Elevation

    • High – air is less dense

      • Particles far apart

    • Low – air is more dense

      • Particles close together

How does water condense to make clouds
How does water condense to make clouds?

  • Usually a surface for cooling water to condense on

    • Bacteria

    • Small particles – dust, soot, particles of pollution

  • Small surfaces are called condensation nuclei


  • Hurricane sheet

  • Read through the packet and answer the questions

  • Honor’s - choose 1 of the following

    • write a realistic fictional story about a hurricane or tornado

    • Create a tri-fold brochure on hurricane safety

    • Use graph paper to create a bar graph showing the 20 strongest hurricanes on record

How are clouds categorized
How are clouds categorized?

  • Based on height and form

  • 3 main types

    • Stratus

    • Cumulus

    • Cirrus

What are cirrus clouds
What are cirrus clouds?

  • High, white, and thin

  • Patches or wispy fibers – may appear feathery

  • 3 types

    • Cirrus

    • Cirrostratus – flat layers

    • Cirrocumulus – fluffy masses

  • Usually signify nice weather

    • When replaced by cirrocumulus clouds and increased coverage – sign of bad weather approaching

What are cumulus clouds
What are cumulus clouds?

  • Piles of clouds

  • Rounded cloud masses

  • Normally with flat base in domes or towers

  • middle clouds

  • 2 other types of middle clouds

    • Alto – prefix meaning middle

    • Altocumulus – rounded masses that are larger and more dense than cirrocumulus

    • Altonimbus – uniform white – greyish sheet, sun or moon visible as a bright spot

      • Often snow or rain accompany these

What are stratus clouds
What are stratus clouds?

  • Low clouds

  • Sheets or layers

  • No distinctive cloud masses

  • 2 other types of low clouds

    • Stratocumulus – long parallel with a rolling bottom

    • Nimbostratus – main precipitation markers form in stable conditions

Are there any clouds that reach through several cloud layers
Are there any clouds that reach through several cloud layers?

  • Low bottoms with tops that reach into the high regions

  • From unstable air

  • Cumulonimbus

    • Usually grown from cumulus clouds and signify storms

Do clouds ever touch the ground
Do clouds ever touch the ground? layers?

  • Fog is a cloud with its base on or near the ground

  • No physical difference with any other cloud

    • Difference is in placement and formation

    • Usually the result of warm air moving over a cooled surface

    • Can form when cool air moves over warm water – steamy appearance

    • Forms when enough water vapor brings about saturation

How does precipitation form in cold clouds
How does precipitation form in cold clouds? layers?

  • Supercooling and supersaturation – Bergeron process

  • Cloud droplets do not freeze at 0°C, instead it must be about -40°C - supercooled

    • Freezing nuclei cause water droplets to freeze

  • Greater than 100% humidity – supersaturated

    • Ice and water cannot exist together in clouds

    • Evaporating water quickly produces snowflakes or ice

How does precipitation form in warm clouds
How does precipitation form in warm clouds? layers?

  • Rainfall in clouds is well below freezing – even in tropics

  • Collision – coalescence process – water absorbing particles remove moisture forming large droplets

    • Drops collide and mix with smaller slower droplets

Does ice form in warm clouds
Does ice form in warm clouds? layers?

  • Hail

    • Forms in cumulonimbus clouds

    • Starts small

    • Updrafts carry hail through supercooled layers repeatedly

      • Forms layers

Assignment! layers?

  • Cloud types and formation worksheet

  • Turn in when you finish

Climate and climate change

Climate and Climate Change layers?

Something wicked this way comes...

Group assignment
Group Assignment! layers?

  • Each group will be assigned 2 topics

    • 1 natural source of climate change

    • 1 human induced source of climate change

  • Create a poster

    • Tell what each source is

    • What do they do to cause climate change

    • 3 ways to counteract the effects of natural climate change

    • 3 ways to reduce impact from the human induced problems

    • What additional problems does this cause for the biosphere (at least 2)

  • Due the day before test day (Dec 19)

What is the difference in climate and weather
What is the difference in climate and weather? layers?

  • Weather

    • State of the atmosphere at a given time

    • What atmospheric layer does this happen in?

  • Climate

    • Average weather patterns over a LONG period of time

How is climate classified
How is climate classified? layers?

  • Köppen classification

  • 3 major climate systems

    • Temperate

    • Tropical

    • polar

What is a temperate climate
What is a temperate climate? layers?

  • Moderate changes between seasons

  • Distinct summers and winters

  • Between 20 and 65 degrees north and south of the equator

What is a tropical climate
What is a tropical climate? layers?

  • Constant warm temperatures with high precipitation

  • Around the equator between 0 and 25 degrees

What is a polar climate
What is a polar climate? layers?

  • Constant cold temperatures

  • 24 hours of daylight in summer and 24 hours of dark in winter

  • Treeless tundras or glaciers

How are humans causing climate change
How are humans causing climate change? layers?

  • Burning fossil fuels and cutting down trees increases gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and ammonia in the atmosphere

  • These gases act as a blanket and retain radiation from the sun in the form of heat – the greenhouse effect

    • Gases responsible for this effect are greenhouse gases

  • Some CO2 is necessary to keep Earth warm enough for life

greenhouse effect - Futurama

Isn t co 2 absorbed by the ocean
Isn’t CO layers?2 absorbed by the ocean?

  • Yes by diffusion

  • Some of this carbon reacts with water to form weak carbonic acid

    • Makes the shells of marine creatures thinner

      • Increases vulnerability

      • Decreases our food source

  • How will increased CO2 affect sea level?

Are there natural phenomena that cause climate change
Are there natural phenomena that cause climate change? layers?

  • Yes

    • Sunspots

    • Volcanic activity

    • El Niño and La Niña

    • Shifts in orbit

    • Naturally fluctuating CO2 levels

How do sunspots cause climate change
How do sunspots cause climate change? layers?

  • Controversial

  • Sunspots are dark spots on the surface of the sun

  • Increase in sunspots correlates to an increase in temperature and vise versa

  • Spots are cooler spots in the sun and area around them warms to make up for the difference

  • Less spots = more solar wind = more clouds = less sun hitting Earth

How do volcanic eruptions cause climate change
How do volcanic eruptions cause climate change? layers?

  • Massive amounts of gas, ash, and aerosol released into the atmosphere

  • Ash falls rapidly

  • Gas stays in the upper atmosphere

    • Sulfer dioxide reflects light back into space – causes cooling

    • CO2 causes warming – greenhouse effect

How do el ni o and la ni a influence climate change
How do El Niño and La Niña influence climate change? layers?

  • What are trade winds like in a typical year on the western coast of continents?

  • What do these winds do to warm water?

  • Temporary change in Pacific Ocean around the equator

  • Affects Northern hemisphere’s winter

  • Area of typical thunderstorms moves eastward

  • Due to a reduction of upwelling in the eastern ocean

What about la ni a
What about La Niña? layers?

  • Opposite of El Niño

  • Caused by cooler surface temperatures

What are the results of el ni o
What are the results of El Niño? layers?

  • Wet winters in southeast US

  • Droughts in Indonesia and Australia

  • Weaker winds to further reduce upwelling and cause El Niño to grow – positive feedback

  • Irregular but generally happen every 3-7 years

How does a shift in earth s orbit produce climate change
How does a shift in Earth’s orbit produce climate change? layers?

  • What is precession? How does it affect climate?

  • What is nutation? How does it affect climate?

  • Eccentricity – distance between Earth and Sun

    • Varies slightly as the barycenter of the sun changes position

  • Long term effects – triggers beginnings and ends of ice ages

How does co 2 fluctuation change climate
How does CO layers?2 fluctuation change climate?

  • Higher levels of CO2 contribute to the greenhouse effect

  • Higher levels = higher temperatures

  • Natural as well as human influenced

    • Volcanoes and burning fossil fuels

    • Seasonal – higher levels in the winter… why?

Do gases do anything else to affect climate
Do gases do anything else to layers?affect climate?

  • Some dissolve easily in water to make acid rain

    • Nitrogen oxide

    • Sulfur dioxide

  • Can be carried far by winds and affect areas far away from where it developed

Are there any other human affects on our atmosphere
Are there any other human affects on our atmosphere? layers?

  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) – only created by humans, found in old aerosol cans (hairspray etc…)

  • Destroy ozone

  • 1 CFC can destroy thousands of ozone particles

  • No longer used or made in America

  • Created a large hole in ozone over Antarctica – conditions here have begun to improve

What are aerosols and what do they do
What are aerosols and what do they do? layers?

  • Small particles suspended in the atmosphere

  • In high amounts they can scatter sunlight and prevent it from reaching Earth

  • Common in any aerosol can (hair spray, cool whip, can cheese etc…)

  • Also natural – volcanoes, meteors

How is climate change affecting the biosphere
How is climate change affecting the biosphere? layers?

  • If the climate warms faster than organisms can adapt to it they will become extinct

    • Mass extinction if we lose many species within a few centuries

  • Ecosystems will lose balance as organisms die

  • Insects are able to migrate to higher elevations – mosquitos

  • Agriculture will become difficult as weather warms and rains decrease

What can you do to stop climate change
What can you do to stop climate change? layers?

  • Decrease dependence on fossil fuels

    • Walk or ride a bike

    • Eat seasonal or locally grown produce

    • Eat less meat

    • Be energy efficient – turn off lights/water

    • Choose renewable power

    • Recycle – reduce – reuse

    • Travel less

    • Stay informed

    • Stay involved

    • Support and donate to politicians who are in favor for environmental regulations

Game board review
Game board review layers?

  • Create a game board using each topic in the game board

  • You will need at least 4 game pieces to play

  • Incorporate spaces that will send you ahead or back in the game

    • Example, land on a volcanic eruption and go back 5 spaces – land on wind turbines and go forward 5 spaces

    • Lose a turn spaces – only get off if you answer a question etc…

  • Question cards

    • To be answered before you can move ahead in the game – give each card a number of spaces to go forward if answered correctly

Resources layers?
































Resources layers?






























Resources layers?