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Information about Chapter7

Published on April 7, 2008

Author: Barbara



Global Scale Winds Chapter 7:  Global Scale Winds Chapter 7 Ancient Knowledge of Winds:  Ancient Knowledge of Winds Mariners have known since before Columbus that winds blow easterly off of Africa out to the Atlantic Ocean These winds were called the “trade winds” Columbus used the trade winds to travel out to the New World In addition, mariners knew to avoid areas around 30˚ N/S Latitude where winds were light or calm This area was known as the “horse latitudes” Slide3:  Fig. 7.1 Slide4:  Fig. 7.2 Conceptual Models:  Conceptual Models A conceptual model is a simple representation of reality, while still having all the major features needed Our conceptual model of the global circulation of the atmosphere needs to include or explain: The steady winds observed by mariners The lack of winds in certain regions Regions of low and high precipitation The global pattern of cloudiness The existence of jet streams Simplest Model:  Simplest Model What if the Earth had just one simple convection cell in each hemisphere? Rising air would occur near the Equator where solar heating is strongest Sinking air would occur at the Poles where the air is coldest Air would flow from the Poles to the Equator at the surface to replace the rising air at the Equator Air would flow from the Equator to the Poles aloft to replace the air moving away from the Poles Simplest Model:  Simplest Model Simplest Model Fails:  Simplest Model Fails Unfortunately, that fails to explain many surface features For example, if the air flows from North to South in the Northern Hemisphere, why do winds switch between the Trade Winds and the Westerlies at mid-latitudes? The rotation of the Earth prevents this very simple model from existing The Coriolis Force causes air to deflect to the right in the Northern Hemisphere Air is unable to make the entire trip from the poles down to the Equator before turning right and blowing parallel to the Equator The Conceptual Model of Global Circulation:  The Conceptual Model of Global Circulation It turns out, we need three cells in each hemisphere to account for all the weather features mentioned earlier One convection cell exists in the tropics, called the Hadley Cell Another exists in the polar regions In the mid-latitudes, a coherent convection cell does not exist Slide10:  Fig. 7.6 Jet Streams:  Jet Streams A jet stream is a swift river of air found in the upper troposphere Two are usually found in each hemisphere: Polar jet stream Subtropical jet stream Each jet stream is formed by different processes Subtropical Jet Stream:  Subtropical Jet Stream The radius from the axis of the Earth’s rotation out to the atmosphere is largest at the Equator As one goes towards the Poles, that radius decreases At the Pole, the radius shrinks to zero As air moves poleward, the air has its radius decrease from the axis Conservation of Angular Momentum:  Conservation of Angular Momentum Angular momentum = the quantity of mass times rotational velocity times radius Angular momentum is conserved (kept a constant) If radius decreases, the rotational velocity must increase to keep the angular momentum a constant This explains why ice skaters spin faster when they pull their arms in toward them Slide14:  Fig. 7.11 Slide15:  Fig. 7.8 Slide16:  Fig. 7.7 Slide17:  Fig. 7.9 Hadley Cell:  Hadley Cell The trade winds in the Northern and Southern hemisphere all converge at or near the Equator InterTropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ): Region where trade winds converge at the surface The winds beneath the ITCZ are often light, resulting in the “doldrums” Sinking portion of each Hadley Cell creates high pressure called subtropical highs The subtropical high creates the light winds of the horse latitudes Slide19:  Fig. 7.10 Slide20:  Fig. 7.6 Polar Cell:  Polar Cell Air sinks at the Poles, creating the Polar highs Air blows from the Poles down towards the Equator Coriolis force deflects the air to the right, resulting in the polar easterlies The boundary between the polar easterlies and the westerly winds of the midlatitudes is called the polar front The polar front separates cold polar air from more temperate air to the South Polar Jet Stream:  Polar Jet Stream As we discussed in the last chapter, strong winds should exist above regions where the temperature gradient is large The polar jet stream forms because of this temperature gradient Therefore, the polar jet stream is found above the polar front Slide23:  Fig. 7.14 Slide24:  Fig. 7.6 Midlatitude Circulation:  Midlatitude Circulation Air moves away from the subtropical highs at the surface Winds blow up towards the midlatitudes from the South Coriolis Force deflects the winds to the right, resulting in the Prevailing Westerlies (or midlatitude westerlies) The midlatitudes don’t have a complete cell (winds don’t blow down to the subtropical highs aloft like your book shows) If there was that return flow southward aloft, the Coriolis force would deflect those winds to the right and we would observe easterly winds aloft That is not the case - they are westerly! Slide26:  Fig. 7.6 Upper-Air Midlatitude Westerlies:  Upper-Air Midlatitude Westerlies Winds above 500 mb tend to flow in wavelike patterns Troughs – elongated regions of low pressure (dips) Ridges – elongated regions of high pressure (bumps) Typically 3-5 waves will encircle the Northern Hemisphere – called Rossby Waves Upper-Air Midlatitude Westerlies:  Upper-Air Midlatitude Westerlies Zonal flow – a small amplitude pattern where winds blow mostly west-to-east Meridional flow – a large amplitude (deep troughs and peaked ridges) pattern where cold air moves equatorward and warm air flows poleward Slide29:  Fig. 7.16 Slide30:  Fig. 7.15 Flow Patterns:  Flow Patterns Zonal Index – the average speed of the west-to-east 500 mb wind between 35˚ and 55˚ latitude High zonal index – zonal flow Low/Negative zonal index – meridional flow Split flow pattern – zonal flow exists near the poles with a meridional flow pattern further to the south Flow Patterns:  Flow Patterns Blocking Patterns – When large pools of cold or warm air get separated from the stronger flow Blocking patterns can persist for extended periods of time resulting in extreme weather events Index cycle – irregular oscillation between patterns (meridional to zonal) Short waves – superimposed smaller waves that travel through Rossby waves Poleward Transport of Energy:  Poleward Transport of Energy There is an energy surplus at the tropics and an energy deficit at the poles The circulations in the atmosphere act to redistribute the heat Therefore, our conceptual model also explains this transfer of heat Slide34:  Fig. 7.19 Seasonal Variations:  Seasonal Variations The global circulation pattern shifts with the Sun and the seasons The ITCZ shifts location during the course of the year following the Sun The ITCZ will shift more over land than water because land heats up faster and to a higher temperature The polar jet stream shifts south in the winter, north in the winter Other highs and lows of the general circulation also shift and change in strength during the course of the year Heat lows – low pressure that appears due to extreme heating of the Earth’s surface Slide36:  Fig. 7.20 Seasonal Variations:  Seasonal Variations The Monsoon:  The Monsoon Monsoon – a seasonal shift in wind direction The shift in wind direction also causes a shift in precipitation amounts Most famous example is over India In Summer, the Himalayan mountains heat up and results in winds blowing off the Indian Ocean onto the continent The warm, moist air rises orographically Clouds and copious rainfall results in the Summer In the winter, the Siberian High develops over the Himalayas, and the winds reverse direction With winds blowing from land and sinking down off the mountains, the precipitation shuts off Slide39:  Box 7.2 Slide40:  Fig. 7.21

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