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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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 ...
Gimelist's user avatar
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Where does wind come from?

Wind is (according to Wikipedia) the flow of gases on a large scale.On the surface of the Earth, wind consists of the bulk movement of air. What forces would cause such a mass movement of air?
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How to compute du/dx and dv/dy in moisture flux convergence?

I have $u$-wind, $v$-wind and specific humidity. I would like to compute moisture flux convergence at a grid point. So I need to compute the value of $q(\frac{du}{dx} + \frac{dv}{dy})$ My question is ...
Kay's user avatar
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22 votes
2 answers
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What are the major differences between weather models and climate models?

Some weather models include GFS (Global Forecast System) and NAM (North American Mesoscale Model). Some climate models include CCSM (Community Climate System Model) and the NASA GISS (Goddard ...
InquilineKea's user avatar
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How much water is the atmosphere losing to space?

Up until recently, I was under a (wrong) impression that the amount of planetary cumulative water resources was finite as I believed its escape from the atmosphere was impossible. I believed that, ...
amphibient's user avatar
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2 answers
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Why air do not suffer density stratification of its gaseous components?

The different gases that make up the air have different densities. So, naively, one would expect the heavier gasses to pool in the lower atmosphere and the light ones at the top. I asked myself this ...
Camilo Rada's user avatar
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11 votes
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Resources for learning the technical parts of atmospheric modeling

I'm a computer/atmospheric science undergrad and I'm trying to get into atmospheric modeling. Any recommendations for resources to get going or to learn about approaches? I can handle fairly technical ...
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Why do greenhouse gases affect ocean temperature so much?

As I understand it, greenhouse gases absorb infrared radiation from the sun. Much of that radiation would otherwise continue and be absorbed on the planet surface in the ocean or on land. If CO2 ...
WolfRevokCats's user avatar
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4 answers
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Why is the temperature *still* rising?

2015 is the hottest year on record, and the average temperature continues to rise. I don't understand why this continues, as (over the past twenty years) so much work was put into reducing Global ...
none's user avatar
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24 votes
3 answers
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Why is there a seasonal cycle to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere?

I'm doing some homework on the increase of $\mathrm{CO}_2$ in the atmosphere. On one of the graphs it shows the amount of $\mathrm{CO}_2$ peaks in May and has a low in November. Why is this? Shouldn't ...
Shannon Torstonson's user avatar
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How good were climate models of the 1990s at predicting the global temperature trends of the 2000s/2010s?

Was there a significant bias between the ensemble of climate models and the long-term temperature trends? What about spatial patterns?
InquilineKea's user avatar
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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,...
Irigi's user avatar
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How will cloud feedback effects on the climate change as the result of global warming?

So global warming will increase the tropospheric temperatures, which, in turn, would make the clouds higher than they otherwise would be. And higher clouds (especially cirrus clouds) tend to trap in ...
InquilineKea's user avatar
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What causes these banded clouds?

A set of banded clouds can be seen in MODIS imagery during several days in January and February over the Gulf of Maine. They tend to occur with very cold winds from the NW following storms. There are ...
arkaia's user avatar
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10 votes
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ppmV versus μmol/mol for atmospheric CO2 - how to convert?

For a uniform mixture of ideal gases, I think that the concentration of a gas reported in parts per million by volume (ppmV) and micro-moles per mole (μmol/mol) would be the same. When I see ...
uhoh's user avatar
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9 votes
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How to calculate specific humidity with relative humidity, temperature, and pressure

I know there is this question already How do I convert Relative Humidity into specific humidity but I don't have ρws = density of water vapor (kg/m3) and ρ = density of the moist or humid air (kg/m3)....
Herman Toothrot's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
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Convert NO2 concentration in Sentinel-5P data from mol/m2 to μg/m3 on the ground level

Sentinel-5P satellite provides high-resolution data products on concentration levels for several atmospheric trace gases (NO2, SO2, O3 , and others), which are measured in mol/m2 within the total or ...
Yaroslav's user avatar
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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....
uhoh's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
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Causes of fluctuations in atmospheric oxygen in past 300 Mya

I have two questions based on the history of atmospheric oxygen levels depicted below. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sauerstoffgehalt-1000mj2.png. The notes below the chart explain ...
J.G.'s user avatar
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Why cannot people burn all the atmospheric oxygen? [closed]

We are told that photosynthesis, developed a couple of billion years ago has produced all the atmospheric oxygen. I wonder, why did the process stop? Why do modern plants prefer to recover the entropy ...
Little Alien's user avatar
49 votes
3 answers
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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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38 votes
3 answers
51k views

What would be the temperature of earth if there was no atmosphere?

I do know that the atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention (greenhouse effect),and reducing temperature extremes between ...
Praveen Kadambari's user avatar
27 votes
5 answers
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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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23 votes
5 answers
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Is the color of the sky the same everywhere on earth?

Is the color of the sky at noon (local time) in, say, NY, Buenos Aires, London, Nairobi, Sydney, New Delhi and Tokyo the same? I choose the specific time of noon to exclude the twilight colors of the ...
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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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
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20 votes
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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 ...
Kenshin's user avatar
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20 votes
1 answer
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What can we learn by studying lunar atmospheric tides?

Lunar atmospheric tides are likely insignificant for weather, although Guoqing (2005) asserts that The lunar revolution around the earth strongly influences the atmospheric circulation. They don't ...
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19 votes
2 answers
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Where is the calmest place on Earth?

I have done some research online, and I've found out that Antarctica has the calmest winds (lowest maximum wind speed) recorded on Earth. However, it is uninhabitable for human life. Other very calm ...
Muze's user avatar
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17 votes
3 answers
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Coriolis effect and Cyclones

The Coriolis force predicts that winds in the northern hemisphere should be deflected in a clockwise pattern and winds in the southern hemisphere should be deflected in an anti-clockwise pattern. Why ...
Kenshin's user avatar
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16 votes
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How will climate change affect the 3D distribution of lapse rate in the atmosphere?

The lapse rate is the rate at which temperature decreases with height. By "3D" distribution, I mean distribution across all latitudes, longitudes, and heights. Would climate change change the lapse ...
InquilineKea's user avatar
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16 votes
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Why is the Ozone Layer 'hole' more pronounced in the Southern Hemisphere?

Lots of people comment that you have to use more sunscreen in Australia compared to European countries due to the hole in the ozone layer. (Even for roughly equivalent latitudes). What would cause ...
hawkeye's user avatar
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16 votes
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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 ...
Alexey's user avatar
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15 votes
2 answers
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Why are weather service atmospheric pressures systematically different from those I measure in Johannesburg?

I live in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg in South Africa. I have noticed while working with synoptic weather charts in geography class that the isobars indicate that Johannesburg should have ...
RaymondSWalters's user avatar
14 votes
4 answers
6k views

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 ...
Stan Shunpike's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
818 views

Ozone gas (O₃) endurance in the atmosphere

If I release some ozone gas (O3) to the atmosphere, for how much time will it stay there in its original form? Does it change to some other form by reacting with other atmospheric constituents?
Jashan PJ's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
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Why is WRF most often configured at 3:1 nesting ratio?

In WRF application, nested domain has always been used for weather/air quality modeling for the place of interest in a better resolution. The figure below illustrates this: I have noticed that the ...
Han Zhengzu's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
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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?
John's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
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Why is it colder in the mountains than at sea level?

I have heard numerous reasons why that is. I just want to know which one is right.
user6847056's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
143 views

What is the characteristic time of the loss of the Earth atmosphere, how can it be calculated?

Somewhere I've read it is in the order of some tens of billions of years, but unfortunately I can't find any reference with it in Google. I suspect, the losses are coming mainly from analyzing the ...
peterh's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
411 views

How to predict when contrails are likely to form over a specific location using public data?

I saw the image below used as a click-attractor to an unrelated story about tourism, but found a larger version here. Contrails, or water condensation trails happen when planes pass through the ...
uhoh's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
262 views

Have "frosty meteorites" ever been observed soon after landing? Are there photos?

This answer to Would a gold-containing meteor cause it to “rain” gold? says (in part): Meteors, when in space, are very very very very cold. Their travel duration in Earth's atmosphere is very short, ...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
123 views

Are there measurements or calculations that suggest atmospheric ice plates would be horizontal to within 0.1 degrees?

This question describes a recently released explanation for flashes of light seen at the sub-solar point above Earth from the DSCOVR satellite, which is located in a special orbit between the Earth ...
uhoh's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
141 views

Net fluxes of carbon caused by humans

The current and future amount of carbon (in the form of carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere and the hydrosphere is what currently concerns and occupies many people. I am looking for a big picture of ...
Hans-Peter Stricker's user avatar
44 votes
2 answers
6k views

(How long) would Earth's atmosphere last without a global magnetic field?

The Earth's magnetic field provides an important protection against the solar wind (for example, see Wikipedia on Earth's magnetic field and references therein). Mars may have lost its atmosphere ...
gerrit's user avatar
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26 votes
2 answers
982 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{...
N. Virgo's user avatar
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25 votes
2 answers
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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?
Ben A. Noone's user avatar
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24 votes
1 answer
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Why were both the sun and the moon red today?

Today was a normal day, except the sun and moon colors were strange. After 5pm, the sky was covered with cirrostratus-like translucent clouds and the sky was a blend of blue and grey. Everything ...
KKZiomek's user avatar
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23 votes
1 answer
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Why do Earth and Venus have different atmospheres?

Venus appears to be the closest to Earth in mass, density, size, etc. - though they clearly have different atmospheres. Why do Earth and Venus have different atmospheres?
blunders's user avatar
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19 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
N. Virgo's user avatar
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18 votes
2 answers
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What is the difference between roughness length and zero plane displacement?

Both roughness length $z_0$ and zero plane displacement $d$ seemed to be defined as the height above the ground at which wind speed theoretically becomes zero. But wind speed is also supposed to go to ...
environmentstudent's user avatar