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Adiabatic

Process

Fact: A packet of air possesses a certain amount of energy.



Fact: If the packet of air expands, the energy is spread
over a larger volume. The energy at any one spot in the
packet is less; therefore it feels cooler than before.

Key Point: Expanding air will cool.

Real life analogy: Spray an aerosol
can and the spray will feel cooler, not
because the air in the can is cold, but
because the air packet is expanding
and the energy is spread over a larger volume.

Absolute Instability

packet of air is warmer than the environment


and will tend to rise.

constantly moving - not stable





Absolute Stability
packet of air is cooler than the environment
and will tend to sink

(unless forced to rise).


does not want to go anywhere - stable

Environmental Lapse Rate vs. Adiabatic Rate


Environmental

Lapse Rate ?? 0C/km
5000 m













4000 m
0C
























0
3000 m
C







0
2000 m
C























1000 m
0C








Surface
40 0C





8 0C





14 0C

20 0C

Reached Dew Point


Condensation - Clouds





30 0C

40 0C

Adiabatic
Wet Rate
6 0C/km

Adiabatic
Dry Rate
10 0C/km

Absolute Instability
Environmental

Lapse Rate 12 0C/km
5000 m












Warmer than

Environment

4000 m
-8 0C






























Warmer



than
3000 m
4 0C

Environment




Warmer than
Environment
0
2000 m
16 C
































Warmer than
1000 m
28 0C



Environment





Surface
40 0C








Cumulonimbus Clouds form

8 0C





20 0C

Reached Dew Point


Condensation - Clouds





30 0C

Adiabatic
Wet Rate
6 0C/km

14 0C

40 0C

Afternoon brief thunderstorm

Adiabatic
Dry Rate
10 0C/km

Absolute Stability
Environmental

Lapse Rate 5 0C/km
5000 m
-5 0C


10 0C

Cooler than
Environment









15 0C




Cooler than
Environment

0 0C


3000 m


5 0C



Surface


Cooler than
Environment












Cooler than
Environment

4000 m




2000 m





1000 m

-18 0C

-12 0C





0 0C

Reached Dew Point


Condensation - Clouds





10 0C

Adiabatic
Wet Rate
6 0C/km

-6 0C

Cooler air than environment and does not rise - STABLE


20 0C

20 0C

Temperature Inversions brown cloud

Adiabatic
Dry Rate
10 0C/km

Absolute Stability (cold front approaching)


Environmental

Lapse Rate 5 0C/km
5000 m
-5 0C

4000 m

3000 m

0 0C

5 0C

Stratus Clouds form













Stratus Clouds form

Cooler but forced


up and below
dew point


-12 0C



Cooler but forced



up and below
dew point
-6 0C

-18 0C

Adiabatic
Wet Rate
6 0C/km

Stratus Clouds form


2000 m





1000 m





Surface



Cooler but
forced up





10 0C





15 0C




Cooler but
forced up





10 0C

20 0C

20 0C

0 0C

Reached Dew Point


Condensation - Clouds

Warm Front Approaching Forcing Air Packet UP

Adiabatic
Dry Rate
10 0C/km

Conditional Instability (cold front approaching)


Environmental

Lapse Rate 9 0C/km
5000 m
-5 0C

4000 m

4 0C

3000 m

13 0C

Cumulonimbus Clouds form



Warmer air


rises and below
dew point





Cumulonimbus Clouds form


Warmer air
rises & below
dew point

2 0C

8 0C

14 0C

20 0C

Reached Dew Point


Condensation - Clouds

Adiabatic
Wet Rate
6 0C/km

Cumulonimbus Clouds form


2000 m





1000 m





Surface




22 0C





31 0C




Cooler but
forced up





30 0C

40 0C

40 0C

Most common situation

Cooler but
forced up





Cold Front Approaching Forcing Air Packet UP

Many cold fronts show Conditional Instability

Adiabatic
Dry Rate
10 0C/km