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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19
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1answer
5k views

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 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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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 ...
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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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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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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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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)....
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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 ...
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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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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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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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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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3answers
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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 ...
20
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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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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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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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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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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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 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 ...
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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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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 ...
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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 ...
13
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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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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, ...
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What is the characteristical 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
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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 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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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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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 ...
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Does the magnetic field really protect Earth from anything?

Many topics discussed here in Earth Science SE, tend to be about facts that are of consensus in the scientific community but not widely accepted by the general public. Instead, this one is widely ...
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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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Does natural plant decomposition release more greenhouse gases than burning

I understand that all plant matter releases CO2 as it decomposes and also when it burns in, for example, a forest fire. My assumption, upon which this question is based, is that the CO2 release is the ...
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Is there conclusive evidence to refute an earlier oxygenation of the Earth's atmosphere?

The Great Oxygenation Event (sometimes called the Great Oxidation Event (GOE), as in the journal Nature) occurred around 2.2 to 2.45 billion years ago (Frei et al. 2009). However, in the article A ...
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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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What are baroclinic and barotropic waves?

I have a basic understanding of what baroclinic and barotropic mean but cannot seem to get my head around baroclinic waves and barotropic waves.
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Why is ocean surface velocity around 3% of wind velocity?

Many introductory level textbooks suggest that, as a rule of thumb, the velocity of the ocean surface is around 3% the wind velocity at 10 meters above the sea surface. For instance, Ocean ...
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What caused a fall in atmospheric oxygen about 1.9 billion years ago?

Using chromium isotopes geochemistry, Frei et al. 2009, describe in the article Fluctuations in Precambrian atmospheric oxygenation recorded by chromium isotopes that after the Great Oxidation Event (...
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How do I prepare for the International Earth Science Olympiad?

Recently I have been selected for the National Camp of INTERNATIONAL EARTH SCIENCE OLYMPIAD of my country. How do I prepare for it? Resources, books, etc. I know there are 4 parts- geology, ...
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Why has CO2 decreased in the history of the Earth?

I noticed that the $\ce{CO2}$ is actually decreasing in the eon time. My guess is lush vegetation or forests began to grow which absorbed the $\ce{CO2}$ by photosynthesis? Would anyone give me any ...
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Noctilucent clouds and anthropogenic climate change

In reading about observing noctilucent clouds, several articles about this phenomena, such as Science Daily's Spectacular 'Night-shining' Clouds Could Be A Harbinger Of Climate Change, suggest that ...
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How does temperature impact the elevation distribution of orographic precipitation?

Consider the case of two weather systems of different temperatures hitting the Andes Mountains from the west: After traveling a long distance over the Pacific ocean I would expect the air in both ...
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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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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 ...