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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43
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2answers
4k 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 ...
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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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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 ...
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869 views

Similarities between grand circulation solvers and mantle convection solvers

My impression is that both ocean grand circulation models (e.g. MITgcm), and Mantle Convection models (e.g. CitcomS), both use Navier-Stoke's as the governing equation. What are the other major ...
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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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Why does El Niño only exist in the Pacific Ocean and not the Atlantic/Indian Oceans?

El Niño is associated with the weakening of the ‘normal’ pressure/temperature gradients between the western and eastern Pacific Oceans. My question is this: why does it only exist in the Pacific ...
25
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2answers
714 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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4answers
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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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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 ...
23
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4answers
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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 ...
23
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5answers
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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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3answers
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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 ...
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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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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?
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1answer
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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 ...
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770 views

Is climate chaotic?

The atmosphere is a highly dynamical system, and exhibits many chaotical features. An operational weather forecasting model tries to model an initial value problem, in fact one of the most famous ...
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2answers
5k views

Does Earth's air leak into space over time?

From my current understanding, Earth's atmosphere and air are held by the balance of two forces: 1. Earth's gravity and 2. Air pressure from air out to space. Is my understanding correct? So, do ...
21
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1answer
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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?
21
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1answer
649 views

Significant difference between averaged wind speeds and averaged wind power density, for wind generation modelling?

Climate models outputs, particularly the reanalysis datasets, output wind speeds as zonal and meridional averages for the modelled time period (typically 1, 3 or 6 hours). So we get a 2-dimensional ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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1answer
251 views

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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0answers
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How are Mauna Loa $\ce{CO2}$ monthly trends computed?

The problem I am trying to figure out how $\ce{CO2}$ concentration trends are computed in the data provided by the Earth Systems Research Laboratory Mauna Loa Observatory. The data contains monthly ...
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5answers
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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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1answer
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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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6answers
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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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2answers
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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 ...
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3answers
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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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3answers
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How do I explain why the Tibetan plateau is colder than lowlands at similar latitudes?

A common layman explanation for why does it get colder to higher elevations (considering only the troposphere here) qualitatively boils down to The Sun heats the Earth's surface and the Earth's ...
17
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1answer
591 views

To what extent is hydroelectric power really renewable?

One of the more widespread "renewable" ways of generating power is by harnessing hydropower, i.e. by exploiting the movement of falling or flowing water. Some of the most commonly seen implementations ...
16
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2answers
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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 ...
16
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1answer
478 views

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 ...
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2answers
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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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1answer
247 views

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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3answers
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Does rain (temporarily) deplete the surrounding atmosphere of carbon dioxide?

CO2 in the air dissolves into rain water, making them slightly acidic. Is that enough to deplete the surrounding air out of CO2? If yes, how fast does this occur? Is it only with the first drops of ...
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1answer
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Is the poleward migration of the maximum intensity of cyclones a result of tropical expansion or are there some other contributing factors?

In the recently published article by Kossin et al. (Nature, 2014, dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature13278), they show that there is a trend toward poleward migration of the location of tropical cyclone (...
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1answer
601 views

Where do bad smells eventually go?

Suppose that I haven't taken a shower for a while, or haven't disposed of my trash, or something, and the room I've been in now stinks. Then, to remove the smell from the room (presumably after first ...
15
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2answers
576 views

Will model resolution have an effect on model spin-up time?

In terms of uncoupled AGCM studies, I've seen people use periods within a decade (say, 5 years) as spin-up time, but I also see some people take tens of year as spin-up in some recent studies. So I'm ...
15
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1answer
310 views

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 ...
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4answers
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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 ...
14
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2answers
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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 ...
14
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3answers
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What is El Niño Modoki?

What are the characteristics that distinguishes a El Niño Modoki from a "normal" El Niño? What are the effects of El Niño Modoki on atmospheric and oceanic processes? How does it affect weather ...
14
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1answer
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How can I estimate a 2 m temperature from / in an atmospheric model?

Numerical models of the atmosphere usually have their first atmospheric grid level well above 2 m, but the temperature at 2 m above ground level is something one often wants to calculate with such a ...
14
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2answers
362 views

How do we measure the total heat content contained in ocean and atmosphere?

This is similar to How is ocean heat content measured?, but here I'm thinking about the total content rather than fluxes in the content between land and ocean.
14
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1answer
849 views

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 ...
14
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3answers
2k 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 ...
14
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1answer
149 views

Have there been any attempts to measure profiles through deep convective systems using dropsondes?

In-situ measurements in deep convective systems, tropical cyclones, etc., are difficult to perform. Few if any people would like to fly a small aircraft close to its core, and radiosondes or larger ...
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4answers
958 views

How to tell if a single day of weather is an anomaly or due to climate change?

I am interested in understanding how to tell if a single day of 'abnormal' weather is due to climate change or not. From my understanding, you would compare this day's weather to historical weather. ...
13
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3answers
622 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?
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5answers
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How to reduce the atmospheric temperature artificially?

Is there any gas/substance which absorbs/reduces atmospheric temperature? Ozone filters UV rays from the sun light and allows in infrared rays. In my knowledge these infrared rays are the cause of ...
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3answers
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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 ...