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Understanding Weather. Weather and Water Cycle. Weather – condition of the atmosphere (mixture of gases) at a certain time and place Mainly affected by amount of water in the air. Humidity. As water evaporates from lakes, oceans, and plants it becomes water vapor.

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weather and water cycle
Weather and Water Cycle
  • Weather – condition of the atmosphere (mixture of gases) at a certain time and place
  • Mainly affected by amount of water in the air
  • As water evaporates from lakes, oceans, and plants it becomes water vapor.
  • Humidity – amount of water vapor in air
  • When temp increases so does amount of air’s ability to hold water vapor
relative humidity
Relative Humidity
  • Amount of water vapor in the air compared with the maximum amount of water vapor that the air can hold at a certain temperature
  • Given as a percentage
  • When air is able to hold all of the water it can at a given temp., it is called saturated (100% relative humidity)
dew point
Dew Point
  • Dew point is the temperature at which a gas condenses (changing state) into a liquid.
  • At dew point, air is saturated
  • A collection of small water droplets or ice crystals suspended in air, which forms when the air is cooled and condensation occurs
  • Clouds are classified by form and altitude
types of clouds
Types of Clouds
  • Cumulous – fair weather
  • Stratus – layered, block out sun
  • Cirrus – thin, feathery
  • Nimbus – produce precipitation
  • Cumulonimbus = thunderstorms
  • Nimbostratus = light to heavy rain

Types include:

  • Rain – most common… interesting fact: before a water drop can fall as rain, it must become about 100x its original size
  • Sleet – rain fallws through layer of freezing air
  • Snow – when water vapor changes directly to a solid when temps are super cold
  • Hail – updrafts of raindrops freeze, water recoats it, updraft, repeat….
air mass
Air Mass
  • Large body of air where temperature and moisture content are constant throughout
  • Maritime (Wet)
  • Continental (Dry)
  • Polar (Cold)
  • Tropical (Warm)
  • Air masses have different densities
  • they don’t mix
  • Warm air rises etc.
  • When two air masses meet it is called a Front
  • Types include: Cold, Warm, Occluded, Stationary
cold front
Cold Front
  • Where cold air moves under warm air (Less Dense) and pushes warm air up
  • Move quickly
  • Bring Thunderstorms, Heavy rain, and snow
  • Usually cool weather follows
warm front
Warm Front
  • Where warm air moves over cold, denser air
  • Warm air gradually replaces cold air
  • Bring drizzly rain and are followed by clear and warm weather
  • Small intense weather systems that produce:
  • Strong winds
  • Heavy rain
  • Lightening
  • Thunder
lightening and thunder
Lightening and Thunder
  • Lightning - electric discharge that occurs between a positively charged area and a negatively charged area
  • Can happen between two clouds, Earth and a cloud, or even between two parts of the same cloud.
  • When lightening strikes, energy is released.
  • This energy is transferred to air and causes the air to expand rapidly sending out sound waves… Thunder is result
  • Only occur in 1% of all thunderstorms
  • Tornado – small, spinning column of air that has high wind speeds and low central pressure
  • Starts out as a funnel cloud that pokes through the bottom of a cumulonimbus cloud
  • Becomes tornado when it makes contact with ground
  • Large rotating tropical weather system that has wind speeds of at least 120km/h
  • Most powerful storms
  • Synonym – typhoon or cyclones
  • Mostly occur between 5 and 20 latitudes