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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237 views

What principles do we consider when selecting an air pollution monitor location?

I'm working on a project aiming at finding some potential point as a new air pollutant monitor site for a city to measure $SO_2$, $NO_2$, $PM_{2.5}$, etc. After modeling the surface concentration of ...
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Does temperature affect partial pressure of gas dissolved in water?

I am trying to understand the behavior of oxygen dissolved in seawater. I have always been under the impression that if a gas is in equilibrium between its gaseous and aqueous forms, that it will ...
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Is it physically possible to see mountains from 500 km away?

Quoting from lecture notes of Andrew young at San Diego State University: For less extreme, but very reliable, observations, consider some listed by Commander C. L. Garner of the Coast and Geodetic ...
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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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Weight vs. Mass of Clouds

I came across a statement online that said that an average cloud has a weight of 1 million pounds. My main question is, does a cloud actually have weight on Earth or was the term "weight" a colloquial ...
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First to Sail the Jet Stream Around the World

My questions are related to a scenario discussed on Earth Science: A huge (heavier-than-air) kite sailing in and out of the jet streams. The kite: The scenario: The assumptions: Such an airship ...
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407 views

Is volume of air increasing as CO2 levels increase?

CO2 levels are increasing, they have crossed 400 ppm, which means that of every million gas molecules in the air, 400 are of CO2. It has been increasing. Does that mean the total volume of air in the ...
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How does the pole-to-equator temperature gradient scale with height contours?

Are the pole-to-equator temperature gradients lower at higher heights than at lower heights (like 850 mb/500 mb)? If so, why is it the case? Especially given that the zonal circulation tends to be ...
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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 are there different vertical gradients of temperature in different layers of the atmosphere?

The temperature of the troposphere decreases with altitude whereas it is opposite in the stratosphere and again fluctuates. Why is this so?
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What causes the colors seen during a sunset / sunrise?

What causes the typical red, pink or orange colors seen in sun-rises and sun-sets? How come the sky doesn't just turn a darker blue?
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A parcel of air in an isothermal layer

I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out a solution to this problem: There is an isothermal layer of air which has a temperature of 0 °C extending from the surface to 1 km height. A parcel is 0.5 °C ...
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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 causes of lower UV radiation at lower elevations?

After recently visiting the Dead Sea in Israel and not getting any skin burns, I was wondering about the reasons for that. Searching the literature, it seems that the UV radiation is indeed lower in ...
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Can we predict which annular modes existed during the time of Pangaea?

Some examples of annular modes include ENSO, NAM, and SAM. I think one of the major mysteries of them is how they formed to begin with. I'm just curious - do we have any idea of whether or not ...
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863 views

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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Does El Niño increase the amount of heat that escapes into space, or does it increase the amount of heat trapped on Earth?

So we know that surface air temperatures are warmer during El Niño events (which implies that there is more heat in the atmosphere, although maybe it's possible that it also means there's less heat in ...
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The Tambora eruption caused the “Year without a summer”. How much would such an eruption today affect the output of solar pv on a global scale?

Are there any estimates for the reduction of global solar insolation at the Earth's surface that a Tambora scale eruption would bring? If our electrical power generation became heavily reliant on ...
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Are there any quantities defined analogically to the virtual temperature, but for other gases?

The virtual temperature is a pseudo-temperature taking into account water vapour in the atmosphere in such a way, that the resulting quantity can be used with the ideal gas law and the molar mass for ...
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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 can I downscale daily values of relative humidity?

I have a dataset (The ISIMIP interpolation of CMIP5 output) that contains daily values of the following variables: ...
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What type of clouds are these?

I would appreciate some help in identifying these clouds: This was taken on a commercial plane flying between Hong Kong and Japan on the 31st of March around 2pm. I tried looking up cloud types but ...
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What is the finest horizontal grid spacing that Eulerian grid-cell air-dispersion models should use?

My colleagues run the Advanced Research Weather Research & Forecasting (WRF) model in predictive mode, and then test the skill of the model anywhere from 12 - 84 hours out from the initialization ...
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How far up do you have to go before most of the atmosphere is below you?

If I wanted to make an air shield around the earth to contain exactly half the planet's atmosphere (by mass), how far above sea level would I have to build it? It's slightly complicated to me because ...
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On the light difference between morning and afternoon

It is long time that I am looking for what physical reason(s) explains this observation: the sun ambient light between sunrise and midday is crispy, somehow whiter than that of the afternoon hours. ...
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How do I find the horizontal pressure level that divides the atmosphere into 2 layers of equal mass?

Surface pressure given is p = 1000 hPa. (the temperature along the atmosphere is constant (T = −10 °C; hydrostatic equilibrium assumed). I tried using the hypsometric equation to find the height of ...
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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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Is oxygen the most abundant element on Earth?

When I was in school, I was taught that we need oxygen to breathe, but it actually constitutes only a small fraction of the atmospheric composition, and that nitrogen constituted the largest fraction ...
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Effect of urbanization on weather events

At what stage is the studies on effect of urbanization on weather events (eg: Rainfall, Temperature, UHI) are now? There has been a number of observational and modelling studies around the world and ...
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What atmospheric phenomenon am I seeing in this photo?

On a trip to Brighton, England on April 12th, 2015, I noticed this strange plume in the sky over the English Channel at about 13:00 hours. It looks like; Something that fell out of the sky - the news ...
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Is the impact of carbon emision dependent on the location on the earth?

While I was reading how the EU taxes aviation companies based on carbon emissions it occurred to me that the effect of carbon emissions on global temperature etc. may depend on where the carbon is ...
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Why does the road appear wet on a sunny day?

Whenever I'm travelling by road on a hot sunny day and I look towards the horizon, it appears as though there is puddle ahead but as I approach it, it disappears. Why does this happen?
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How does El Niño affect thunderstorm/tornado/CAPE activity in the central United States?

Or in other words, does it increase the amount of heat+moisture advection from the Gulf of Mexico into the Central United States? And is this increase associated with increased CAPE/tornado/...
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What is the residue after plant matter is completely decomposed?

What typical fraction of decomposing plant matter, left on the surface rather than buried, is not released in gaseous form? My simple world view is that the plant structure has all come from the air, ...
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How can there be a hot summer with rain and no thunderstorms and lightning?

This summer in the south of France we have had two hot months with 29 days over 30'C, while the average maximum is 26'C in July. Normally there are violent storms with lightening up to 20 times a ...
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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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What causes the entrainment of atmospheric gases towards a volcanic ash/tephra plume?

I understand that volcanic ash plumes can only rise to great heights (e.g. 50km) with the help of some other processes, as the velocity of the material ejected isn't great enough to send it high into ...
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Does the global temperature vary daily (hotter and colder days)?

Earth's current average global temperature (i.e. including hot deserts and cold polar caps) is reported be somewhere between 14°C and 16°C (depending on sources and methods). This temperature varies ...
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What's the background concentration of trace gas/pollutants?

I have read a paper discussing the concentration of air pollutants and their background concentration. In the paper Characterization of background air pollution exposure in urban environments using a ...
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Why does the Northern polar vortex usually have two centers?

From http://glossary.ametsoc.org/wiki/Polar_vortex polar vortex A planetary-scale mid- to high-latitude circumpolar cyclonic circulation, extending from the middle troposphere to the ...
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548 views

How is the radiative efficiency of a given gas (like a given CFC) analytically calculated?

E.g. the gases listed at http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/tssts-2-5.html . Do they calculate them analytically or theoretically?
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Are El Niños stronger when there is a longer gap from the last El Niño?

E.g. see http://www.wired.com/2014/04/el-nino-effects/. I'm thinking.. In case a major El Niño event didn't happen this year, then would it only make it more likely that a stronger El Niño would ...
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What factors determine the height of the turbopause?

The turbopause separates (by definition) the homosphere from the heterosphere. What factors cause the turbopause to be where it is? Is it affected by mesopheric composition, solar irradiance, global ...
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Are there any effects on the atmosphere comparable with ebb and flood of the oceans?

Due to the attraction of our moon (and Sun) our oceans undergo an up and down movement every day. So the water rises or falls by a couple of meters. But does this type of effect also occur with our ...
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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 ...
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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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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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Pressure as a function of altitude

My city's altitude is almost 950 meters, yet the weather stations provide a read of 102.14 kPa which is around 1 atm! Shouldn't the pressure be a function of elevation? I doubted that the data ...
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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.
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Will a country that cares for its environment be affected by climate change due to other countries' activities?

Let's say my country is very environment conscious, has lots of trees and animals, protects the forest, uses clean/green energy, and has all kinds of environment friendly policies you can imagine. ...