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Questions tagged [atmosphere]

The gaseous envelope surrounding the *Earth*, and retained by the Earth's gravitational field. If your question is about the atmosphere on another celestial body or is more astronomy related, please ask on Astronomy.SE.

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Which is worse, plastic or styrofoam cups?

Which disposable cup between plastic and styrofoam harm the environment the most? Which is the most unhealthy to use for the Earth for humans and animals?
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Oscillating dew point throughout the year?

I was searching for the climate of Saudi Arabia and I noticed that the city of Abha (altitude of 7000 feet) has a "strange" behavior in its dew point, as numbeo suggests: https://www.numbeo.com/...
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How and when was the $\mathsf{CO_2}$ scrubbed when Earth was still primordial?

How and when was the $\mathsf{CO_2}$ removed in primordial Earth atmosphere? What is the main mechanism of this removal of $\mathsf{CO_2}$? Is it dissolving in water? Or rock weathering? Or was the ...
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Get atmospheric pressure values through JavaScript

I'm working on a programming project in which I want to show isobars on a map with OpenStreetMap and the HTML tag canvas. The main problem that I'm facing is the dificulty of retrieving consistent ...
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How do 'greenhouse gases' let heat in, but not let it out?

That honestly doesn't make any sense to me. How could heat pass through a gas one way but not the other? Its not like our upper atmostphere has a bunch of doors that can only open one way. To me, that ...
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Could dust blown up by a comet impact render the air unbreathable?

In the docudrama Super Comet After the Impact, the impact is shown to have made the air within a few miles of it unbreathable, and humans need gas masks to breath in this area. How realistic is this? ...
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How does total pressure affect relative humidity and how do I correct my hygrometer for pressure?

Obviously pressurized air can hold more water than regular air, so an increase in overall pressure would result in an inversely proportional decrease in relative humidity. However, I can't seem to ...
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62 views

Computation of geostrophic wind

I am attempting to calculate the zonal and meridional components of geostrophic wind using the equations below: $u_g = -\frac{g_0}{f} \cdot \frac{1}{r} \cdot \frac{\partial \Phi }{\partial \phi}$ $...
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What are 'sulphate particles' in the context of atmospheric chemistry?

This informative answer describes some processes in atmospheric chemistry and mentions "sulphate particles". Actually I realize that I don't know what a 'sulphate particle' really is, though I've ...
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Why is potential vorticity so emphasized in technical work, but often neglected in maps on weather websites?

When I was first introduced to potential vorticity, I was told that it is a very important tool for meteorologists to learn. Sure, it solved a simple problem in dynamics, but it wasn't apparent to me ...
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How to transform level 2 satellite retrievals to level 3 gridded data

Usually, I use level-3 gridded satellite data to analyze the spatial and temporal patterns of atmospheric compositions. However, there were some data sources which only afford level 2 product. For ...
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Moisture flux convergence/divergence calculation in Grads

I want to calculate moisture flux divergence/convergence in 850 hpa for the summer and I have monthly mean gridded data sdfopen shum.mon.mean.nc sdfopen uwind.mon.mean.nc sdfopen vwind.mon.mean.nc ...
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What keeps the different gases mixed in the atmosphere?

Consider a gas centrifuge holding two different gases. After spinning for a while, the heavier gas will move to the outside, and the lighter gas will be on the inside. In other words, we have ...
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What is the origin of the dominant atmospheric nitrogen content in Earth's atmosphere?

Comparing the atmospheric compositions of Earth with our nearest neighbours: As the table shows, the Earth's atmospheric nitrogen concentration is 78%, compared to 3.8% for Venus and 2.7% for Mars ...
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686 views

Why do some planets have lots of $\mathrm{N_2}$ and others none?

Earth, Titan and Venus all have large amounts of $\mathrm{N_2}$ in their atmospheres. (In the case of Venus it's a small proportion, but Venus' atmosphere is very thick, and the total mass of $\mathrm{...
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Why doesn't vapor counts when calculating global radiative forcing?

When NOAA/ESRL calculates global radiative forcing (Table 2) there seems to be no contribution from water vapor. How come?
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How does Earth's heat escape to space?

I know that if the sun stopped shining, Earth would lose it's heat and we'd all freeze and die. On the other hand, we don't keep increasing temperature when the sun shines because heat escapes to ...
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How much of earth's molecular oxygen in the atmosphere is due to plants?

I know plants form a critical part of the earth's biosphere, including molecular oxygen production. Molecular oxygen makes up ~20% of our atmosphere. How much of the earth's molecular oxygen in the ...
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How is carbon distributed among the atmosphere, the oceans, the biomass and the unburnt fossil fuels?

In relation to my other question about carbon cycle and climate change, i would like to know some estimates of the carbon distribution among the atmosphere, the oceans, the biomass and the unburnt ...
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How is the equilibrium of 21% oxygen in Earth's atmosphere established?

The atmosphere is 21% oxygen. I assume that there must be an equilibrium between processes that produce oxygen (e.g. photosynthesis) and those that consume oxygen (e.g. aerobic respiration). Moreover,...
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Centrifugal Force in the Navier Stokes Equations

The Navier-Stokes equations are a set of nonlinear differential equations that diagnose wind speed and direction. They are (approximately) expressed as $$\frac{d\vec{u}}{dt}=-\frac{1}{\rho}\nabla P+f\...
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Why does Earth have abundant oxygen in the atmosphere?

Because of photosynthesis, obviously. But then it's not actually that obvious after all, because photosynthesis is mostly balanced by respiration. We can summarise the processes of photosynthesis ...
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Is pollution a contributing factor to freezing rain?

I have been to different places with nearly the same freezing temperatures, around -2°C, but only at some specific places I repetitively experienced freezing rain. One common factor at these places ...
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Can CO2 / greenhouse gas levels override the effects of milankovich cycles?

I understand that we are, in all likelihood, towards the end of an interglacial period (the holocene). What I'd like to know is, what has a stronger effect on global temperatures - the low point of ...
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3 Billion years ago, the earth is covered with Carbon Dioxide. Where did it go?

Oxygen gas began to appear on the earth surface about 2 billion years ago by photosynthesis. Carbon Dioxide was converted into carbohydrates in the process. Where did these carbohydrates go? If they ...
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Which particles are classified as PM2.5? How exactly is this defined?

Question When discussing "PM2.5", is there any standardized understanding of which particles are or are not included? Is it everything that's 2.5 microns and smaller? Or Everything between 2.5 and 0....
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How do current pollution levels in Los Angeles compare to the 1970s?

As I understand it there are two key kinds of air pollution: ozone and fine particles. Are there any long-term data series that chart average ozone levels and/or fine particulates over time going ...
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Is it true that a butterfly flapping its wings can result in a tornado in a distant location?

I have heard that extreme storm events can be caused simply by a butterfly flapping its wings somewhere in a distant location. Is it true that such a small disturbance in the air in one location can ...
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Why doesn't the 71% water of the earth dry or evaporate?

Perhaps a simple question, we know 71% of the earth's surface contains water as oceans. If Earth's age is 4.543 billion years, then I guess it should be decreased with drying or should have been dried ...
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regression map vs correlation map

What is the exact difference between regression and correlation maps? I know that they are often used in climate science but which is the difference in the information they provide? Here an example I ...
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2answers
2k views

What is the steepest surface that can hold snow?

I know it depends on the type of snow (dry or wet) and the rougness of the surface. I'm looking for an approximate rule of thumb answer. Assuming a reasonably smooth surface, at what angle it's likely ...
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What causes clouds to appear blue?

In a thunderstorm cloud about sunset time, I saw these clouds, including some (in the upper right) that were a unique shade of blue. I don't think I've seen clouds quite that color before. I tried ...
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How does anthropogenic heating affect global warming?

Anthropogenic-sourced greenhouse gases are commonly cited as the main source for human-caused climate change. However, something that I never see discussed is the actual heat produced by human ...
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Is Earth getting heavier or lighter?

There is meteoric material falling on the Earth constantly, as well as some protons and other light nuclei from the solar wind as well as from cosmic rays. At the same time Earth's atmosphere looses ...
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What is the fastest the Earth has ever spun?

How fast can the Earth rotate and support life? In prehistoric times, dinosaurs were so massive that archeologists wonder how they were not crushed under their own weight. Could a faster spinning ...
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455 views

Feedback loops between soil chemistry and plant growth

Would the dynamic between soil nitrogen and plant growth be a positive or negative feedback loop I think it is a negative feedback loop because as soil nitrogen increases then plant growth increases, ...
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1k views

Is there any evidence for higher air pressures in the geological past?

I was curious about how the Earth's overall air pressure has varied over time, and tried to take a look around the internet. However, Google pops up a lot of sites with questionable science proposing ...
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How closely related is surface air temperature to pressure?

Obviously with a given mass and volume of air, pressure is directly proportional to temperature. However, I would expect the total mass of air within a column of atmosphere to vary over time, due to ...
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Where does the sky's blueness come from; at what altitudes is it being produced?

Rayleigh scattering (mostly) results in a blue sky (Diffuse_sky_radiation) as seen from Earth's surface. Go up in a plane to cruise altitude and the sky gets noticeably blue-er, and then darker. The ...
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2answers
681 views

What was the density and composition of Earth's atmosphere during the Cretaceous warmest period?

There was time during the age of dinosaurs when the polar regions were ice free. The earth was obviously much warmer but a run-away greenhouse effect did not occur. This was most likely because the ...
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901 views

What are the composition and pressure of the exosphere?

I've read that the pressure and temperature are different - how different are they, and does that affect the atmosphere's composition?
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Where does molecular hydrogen in the atmosphere come from?

This figure from Wikipedia's Atmosphere of Earth shows a hydrogen fraction of 0.000055 percent by volume. Question: Where does molecular hydrogen in the atmosphere come from? Does this come directly ...
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Model impact of atmopsheric circulation changes on precipitation dD of a region

I'm looking to model the impact of broad scale atmospheric circulation changes on the hydrogen isotope ratio of precipitation for a given region. As an example, what impact does a high pressure system ...
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Why are there no CO2 snowfalls on Earth?

The CO2 phase diagram shows that at atmospheric pressure and about -78 °C temperature CO2 becomes solid: Wikipedia confirms this: At 1 atmosphere (near mean sea level pressure), the gas deposits ...
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2answers
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Equation for solar radiation at a given latitude?

I'm trying to find equations that would help me determine the amount of solar radiation hitting a certain latitude on a certain planet given the following inputs: the degrees of latitude of the ...
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2answers
121 views

Why did the carboniferous period have so much atmospheric oxygen?

Even if all the carbon dioxide (which makes up less than 1% of the atmosphere) in the air were sequestered by plants, would the atmosphere not remain about 21% oxygen? Why did the carboniferous period ...
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How temperature anomaly are measured

Temperature Anomaly is the measure used to show that the earth is warming. The formula for temperature anomaly involves in the subtraction of average temperature measurement over 30 years considered ...
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2answers
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What causes a rainbow, its colours and its shape?

What is the cause of rainbows? Do they appear due to rainfall or any other natural phenomenon. What makes it form a semi-circle in the atmosphere and its colours?
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What is the cause of the jet streams?

Jet streams are fast-flowing currents of air in our earth's atmosphere. An enormous amount of energy is necessary to keep a jet stream going. Where does this come from and why?
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Polar Ice caps are melting? Questions on enviromental impact

The polar ice caps are melting at a significant rate partly due to the albedo effect, releasing greenhouse gas-methane into earth’s atmosphere. At the same time we are logging our forests for ...