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Atmospheric Circulation

Radiation in Earth
• The earth receives heat from the sun through solar radiation and emits
heat through re-radiation, or back radiation into space.

• The earth’s emitted radiation is more uniform than the incoming radiation
(because the rate of radiation is proportional to the absolute temperature
at the earth’s surface)

• Because of this imbalance^, atmosphere transferring energy from the

equator toward the poles at an average rate of about 4 x 10^9 MW.
If Earth were a non-rotating sphere (Hadley
Air would rise near the equator

and travel in the upper

atmosphere toward the poles,

then cool, descend into the

lower atmosphere, and return

toward the equator.

Westerly & Easterly Air Flow
Atmospheric Circulation as 3 cells
• Polar Cell
• Tropical Cell / Hadley Cell
• Middle Cell / Ferrel / Mid-latitude Cell
• Tropical / Hadley Cell -> heated
air ascends at the equator,
proceeds toward the poles at
upper levels, loses heat, and
descends toward the ground at
latitude 30°

• Polar Cell -> air rises at 60° and

flows toward the poles at
upper levels, then cools and
flow backs to 60° near the
• Middle cell -> its surface air flows toward the earth’s surface

pole, producing prevailing westerly air flow

Atmosphere divided into various zones
• Troposphere -> 8 km at the poles, 16 km at the

• The temperature in the troposphere decreases with

altitude at a rate varying with the moisture content of
the atmosphere

• Tropopause -> separates the troposphere from the

stratosphere above

• Jet streams -> sharp changes in temperature and

pressure produce strong narrow air currents near the
tropopause, w/ speeds from 15 to 50 m/s
Air Mass

• Air Mass -> large body of air

that is fairly uniform
horizontally in properties
such as temperature and
moisture content.

• Front -> where a warm air

mass meets a cold air mass
• Cyclone -> a region of low pressure around which air flows in a counterclockwise
direction in the northern hemisphere, clockwise in the southern hemisphere

• Tropical cyclones -> form a low latitude, may develop into hurricanes or typhoons

• Extratropical cyclones -> formed when warm and cold air masses initially flowing in
opposite directions adjacent to one another, begin to interact and whirl together in a
circular motion, creating both warm and cold front centered on a low pressure zone

• Anti cylone -> a region of high pressure around which air flows in a clockwise direction in
the northern hemisphere, counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere
Extratropical Cyclones
Water Vapor
Reynold’s Transport Theorem
• Extensive property B -> mass of water vapor
• Intensive property -> mass of water vapor per unit mass
of moist air
• ^called specific humidity (qv)

-> density of water vapor

-> density of moist air

• dB/dt = mv = the rate at which water vapor is being added to the system
• For evaporation from a water surface, mv is positive
• For condensation, mv is negative, represents the rate at which vapor is being removed from the system

Continuity equation for water vapor transport

• Equation 3.2.5 can be written in terms of

Vapor pressure the gas constant for moist air

• Vapor pressure e of the water vapor

• Relationship between the gas constant for
moist air and dry air

• P - e, partial pressure due to the dry air

• Saturation vapor pressure (or table 3.2.1)

• Combining 2 equations above, becomes

• Gradient of the saturated vapor pressure

• (3.2.3 and 3.2.5) specific humidity

• Relative humidity
Water Vapor in a Static Atmospheric Column
Ideal gas law
Subtitusing from 3.2.14:

Hydrostatic pressure law

And integrating both sides between two levels 1 and 2
in the atmosphere gives

Variation of air temperature with altitude is described


From 3.2.12, and substituting this into

3.2.13 yields From 3.2.14, the temperature variation between
altitudes z1 and z2 is
Precipitable Water
-> the amount of moisture in an atmospheric column
• Precipitation includes rainfall, snowfall, and other processes by which
water falls to the land surface, such as hail and sleet.
• The formation of precipitation requires the lifting of an air mass in the
atmosphere so that it cools and some of its moisture condenses.
• The three main mechanisms of air mass lifting are:
• Frontal lifting, where warm air is lifted over cooler air by frontal passage
• Orographic lifting, which an air mass rises to pass over a mountain range
• Convective lifting, where air is drawn upwards by convective action, such as in
the center of a thunderstorm cell
Formation of precipitation in clouds
• As air rises and cools, water condenses from the vapor
to the liquid state

• Condensation requires a seed called a condensation

nucleus around which the water molecules can attach
or nucleate themselves

• Particles of dust floating in air can act as a condensation

nuclei, particles containing ion, ions in the atmosphere
include particles of salt derived from evaporated sea
spray, and Sulphur and nitrogen compounds resulting
from combustion

• ^the particles are known as aerosols and range from

10^(-3) to 10 micrometer
Formation of precipitation in clouds
• The tiny droplets grow by condensation and impact with their
neighbors as they are carried by turbulent air motion, until they
become large enough so that the force of gravity overcomes that of
friction and they begin to fall, further increasing in size as they hit
other droplets in the fall path.

• However, as the drop falls, water evaporates from its surface and
the drop size diminishes, so the drop may be reduce to the size of
an aerosol again and be carried upwards in the cloud through
turbulent action

• The cycle of condensation, falling, evaporation, and rising occurs on

average about ten times before the drop reaches a critical size of
about 0.1 mm, which is large enough to fall through the bottom of
the cloud
Cloud Seeding
• -> a process of artificially nucleating clouds to induce precipitation
• Three forces act on a falling raindrop: • If the drop is released from rest, it will accelerate
until it reaches its terminal velocity Vt, at which the
• Fg = a gravity force due to its weight three forces are balanced. In this condition:

• Fb = a buoyancy force due to the

displacement of air by the drop

• Fd = a drag force due to friction between the

drop and the surrounding air • The assumption of a spherical raindrop shape is valid
for drops up to 1 mm in diameter. Raindrops can
range up to 6 mm in diameter, but drops larger than
3 mm are unusual, especially in low-intensity rainfall
• For tiny droplets in clouds, up to 0.1
mm diameter, the drag force is
specified by Stokes’ Law for which
the drag coefficient is Cd = 24/Re,
where Re is the Reynolds number • Higher in the atmosphere, the air density
decreases, there will be a corresponding increase
in Vt, raindrops fall faster in thinner air
• Values of Cd developed
experimentally by observation of
raindrops are given in Table 3.3.1.
• Th mechanisms underlying air mass lifting and
precipitation are illustrated by considering a
schematic model of a thunderstorm cell
Cell Model
• The thunderstorm is visualized as a vertical
column made up of three parts
• Inflow Region -> near the ground where warm, moist
air is drawn into the cell

• Uplift Region -> in the middle where moisture

condenses as air rises, producing precipitation

• Outflow Region -> in the upper atmosphere where

outflow of cooler, dryer air occurs

• This entire pattern, called convective cell

circulation, is driven by the vast amount of heat
energy released by the condensing moisture in
the uplift region
• The thunderstorm is analyzed using the continuity • Continuity equation for the dry air carrying the vapor
equation for water vapor

• Mv diganti, d/dt=0 karena steady flow

• Precipitation intensity
• Air density and specific humidity are assumed constant
within each increment
Variability of Precipitation
• Normal value -> the average over a umber of years of observations of
a weather variable is called its normal value
• Figure 3.3.5 and 3.3.6 -> shows the normal monthly precipitation for
a number of locations in the United States
• Higher precipitation occurs near the coasts than inland because the
oceans supply the bulk of atmospheric moisture for precipitation
• Fig 3.3.7 -> precipitation variability for the world
• Rainstorms vary greatly in space and time

• They can be represented by isohyetal maps; an

isohyet is a contour of constant rainfall.

• Figure 3.4.1 shows an isohyetal map of total

rainfall depth measure for two storms
• Rainstorms vary greatly in space and time

• They can be represented by isohyetal maps; an

isohyet is a contour of constant rainfall.

• Figure 3.4.1 shows an isohyetal map of total

rainfall depth measure for two storms
• Isohyetal maps are prepared by interpolating • A rainfall hyetograph is a plot of rainfall depth or
rainfall data recorded at gaged points intensity as a function of time, shown in the form of a
histogram in Fig 3.4.2 (a) for the 1-Bee data
• A rain gage record consists of a set of rainfall
depths recorded for successive increments in • By summing the rainfall increments through time, a
time, as shown in table 3.4.1 for the data in 5- cumulative rainfall hyetograph, or rainfall mass curve, is
minute increments from gage 1-Bee in the Austin produced, as shown in table 3.4.1 and fig 3.4.2 (b)
• The maximum rainfall depth, or intensity (depth/time) recorded in a
give time interval in a storm is found by computing a series of
running totals of rainfall depth for that time interval starting at
various points in the storm, then selecting the maximum value of
this series.

• The maximum 30 minute recorded depth is 3.07 inches recorded

between 55 min and 85 min, corresponding to an average intensity
of 3.07 in/0.5h = 6.14 in/h over this interval.

• It can be seen that as the time period increases, the average

intensity sustained by the storm decreases (5.56 in/h for one hour,
4.10 in/h for two hours), just as the average intensity over an area
decreases as the area increases, as shown in fig 3.4.1

• An important fact to be determined from historical rainfall records

is the average depth of rainfall over an area such as a watershed
Areal Rainfall
1. The arithmetic-mean method

Is the simplest method of determining areal average

rainfall. It involves averaging the rainfall depths
recorded at a number of gages fig 3.4.3a. This
method is satisfactory if the gages are uniformly
distributed over the area and the individual gage
measurements do not vary greatly about the mean
Areal Rainfall
2. The polygon-thiessen method

The thiessen method assumes that at any point in

the watershed the rainfall is the same as that at the
nearest gage so the depth recorded at a given gage is
applied out to a distance halfway to the next station
in any direction

-> the boundaries of the polygons being formed by

the perpendicular bisectors of the lines joining
adjacent gages fig 3.4.3 b
Areal Rainfall
3. The isohyetal method

The isohyetal method overcomes some of these

difficulties by constructing isohyets, using observed
depths at rain gages and interpolation between
adjacent gages (fig 3.4.3 c). Once the isohyetal map is
constructed, the area Aj between each pair of isohyets,
within the watershed, is measured an multiplied by the
average Pj of the rainfall depths of the two boundary
isohyets to compute the areal average precipitation by
Eq 3.4.1

• The two main factors influencing evaporation from an open water surface are the supply of
energy to provide the latent heat of vaporization and the ability to transport the vapor away from
the evaporative surface.

• The processes of evaporation from the land surface and transpiration from vegetation are
collectively termed evapotranspiration.

• Evapotranspiration is influenced by the two factors described previously for open water
evaporation, and also by a third factor, the supply of moisture at the evaporative surface.
Energy Balance Method
• To develop the continuity and energy equations
applicable for evaporation, consider
evaporation from an evaporation pan as shown
in fig 3.5.1

• An evaporation pan is a circular tank containing

water, in which the rate of evaporation is
measured by the rate of fall of the water
Aerodynamic Method
Aerodynamic Method
Combined Aerodynamic and Energy Balance
• Combination method of eq 3.5.26 is the best
Evapotranspiration approach, especially if the vapor transport
coefficient B in eq 3.5.18 is calibrated for local

• Is the combination of evaporation from the conditions

soil surface and transpiration from vegetation

• Factors governing open water evaporation

also govern evapotranspiration, namely
• Actual evapotranspiration
energy supply and vapor transport

• Third factor enters the picture: the supply of

moisture at the evaporative surface