The Course of Synoptic Meteorology

The Course of Synoptic Meteorology Lecture 4 AL-MUSTANSIRIYAH UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF SCIENCES ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES DEPARTMENT Dr. Sama Khalid Mohammed SECOND CLASS 1 We need to understand these facts at the same temperature, air at a higher pressure is more dense than air at a lower pressure. at a given atmospheric pressure, air that is cold is more dense than air

that is warm. it takes a shorter column of cold, more dense air to exert the same surface pressure as a taller column of warm, less dense air. Warm air aloft is normally associated with high atmospheric pressure, and cold air aloft is associated with low atmospheric pressure. The relationship among the pressure, temperature, and density of air referred to as the gas law (or equation of state), can be expressed by : Pressure = temperature density constant. When we ignore the constant and look at the gas law in symbolic form, it becomes where, p is pressure, T is temperature, and represents air density. A change in one variable causes a corresponding change in the other two variables.

Suppose, we hold the temperature constant. The relationship then becomes: p ~ (temperature constant) temperature constant) This expression says that the pressure of the gas is proportional to its density, as long as its temperature does not change. if the temperature of a gas (ex. air) is held constant, as the pressure increases the density increases, and vice versa. i.e, at the same temperature, air at a higher pressure is more dense than air at a lower pressure. In the atmosphere, with nearly the same temperature and elevation, air above a region of surface high pressure is more dense than air above a region of surface low pressure (see Fig. 4.1). We can see, then, that for surface high pressure areas (anticyclones) and surface

low pressure areas (mid-latitude storms) to form, the air density (mass of air) above these systems must change. What happens to the gas law when the pressure of a gas remains constant? the law becomes (Constant pressure) constant = T . This relationship tells us that when the pressure of a gas is held constant, the gas becomes less dense as the temperature goes up, and more dense as the temperature goes down. Therefore, at a given atmospheric pressure, air that is cold is more dense than air that is warm. Keep in mind that the idea that cold air is more dense than warm air applies only when we compare volumes of air at the same level, where pressure changes are small in any horizontal direction. To help eliminate some of the complexities of the atmosphere, scientists construct simple atmospheric model, as shown in figure (4.2) a column of

air, extending well up into the atmosphere., the dots represent air molecules. Our model assumes: (1)the air molecules are not crowded close to the surface and, unlike the real atmosphere, the air density remains constant from the surface up to the top of the column, (2)the width of the column does not change with height. Suppose we somehow force more air into the column in Fig.4.2. What would happen? If the air temperature in the column does not change, the added air would make the column more dense, and the added mass of the air in the column would increase the surface air pressure.

Likewise, if a great deal of air were removed from the column, the surface air pressure would decrease. Suppose the two air columns in Fig. 4.3a are located at the same elevation and have identical surface air pressures. This means that there must be the same number of molecules (same mass of air) in each column above both cities. suppose that the surface air pressure for both cities remains the same, while the air above city 1 cools and the air above city 2 warms (see Fig. 4.3b). As the air in column 1 cools, the molecules move more slowly and crowd closer togetherthe air becomes more dense. In the warm air above city 2, the

molecules move faster and spread farther apartthe air becomes less dense. Since the width of the columns does not change, (and if we assume an invisible barrier exists between the columns), the surface pressure does not vary and the total number of molecules above each city must remain the same. Therefore, in the more dense cold air above city 1, the column shrinks, while the column rises in the less dense warm air above city 2. We now have a cold shorter column of air above city 1 and a warm taller air column above city 2. From this situation, we can conclude that: it takes a shorter column of cold, more dense air to exert the same surface pressure as a taller column of warm, less dense air. This concept has a great deal of meteorological significance.

Atmospheric pressure decreases more rapidly with elevation in the cold column of air. In the cold air above city 1, move up the column and observe how quickly you pass through the densely packed molecules. This activity indicates a rapid change in pressure. In the warmer, less dense air, the pressure does not decrease as rapidly with height, simply because you climb above fewer molecules in the same vertical distance. In Fig. 4.3c, move up the warm column until you come to the letter H. Now move up the cold column the same distance until you reach the letter L. Notice that there are more molecules above the letter H in the warm column than above the letter L in the cold column. The fact that the number of molecules above any level is a measure of the atmospheric pressure leads to an important concept:

Warm air aloft is normally associated with high atmospheric pressure, and cold air aloft is associated with low atmospheric pressure. In Fig. 4.3c, the horizontal difference in temperature creates a horizontal difference in pressure. The pressure difference establishes a force (called the pressure gradient force) that causes the air to move from higher pressure toward lower pressure. Consequently, if we remove the invisible barrier between the two columns and allow the air aloft to move horizontally, the air will move from column 2 toward column 1. As the air aloft leaves column 2, the mass of the air in the column decreases, and so does the surface air pressure. Meanwhile, the accumulation of air in column 1 causes the surface air pressure to increase.

heating or cooling a column of air can establish horizontal variations in pressure that cause the air to move. The net accumulation of air above the surface causes the surface air pressure to rise, whereas a decrease in the amount of air above the surface causes the surface air pressure to fall. Less dense air in the south; cold air in the north; Height of the pressure surface varies; Changes in elevation of a constant pressure surface shown as a contour lines on a isobaric map Since the atmosphere in the polar regions is cold and the tropical atmosphere is hot, all pressure surfaces in the troposphere slope downward

from the tropics to the polar regions. Pressure at the bottom of each tank is a weight of water above; pressure at the bottom of A > pressure at the bottom of B; greater the difference higher the force Pressure Gradient Force Pressure Gradient = Pressure Difference/distance Pressure Gradient Force is the force that causes the wind to blow; closely spaced isobars on a weather chart indicate steep pressure gradients, strong forces, and high winds Pressure gradient force (PGF) is directed from higher toward lower pressure at right angles to the isobars

Magnitude of this force is directly related to the pressure gradient PGF between 1 & 2 is 4 mb/100km; PGA: Net force directed from higher toward lower pressure Since the atmosphere in the polar regions is cold and the tropical atmosphere is hot, all pressure surfaces in the troposphere slope downward from the tropics to the polar regions. Closer isobars--- greater pressure gradient--- stronger PGF--- greater the wind speed length of arrows indicate magnitude of PGF Pressure Surface

Each altitude above a point on the Earths surface has a unique value of pressure. Pressure can be easily substituted for altitude as a coordinate to specify locations in the vertical. Rawinsondes determine the height of the instrument above Earths surface by measuring pressure. Because aircraft fly on constant pressure surfaces, upper air weather maps, first used extensively during World War II, traditionally have been plotted on constant pressure surface. Fluid dynamics theories and equations that explain atmospheric motions are often in a more concise forms when they use pressure as a vertical coordinate. A pressure surface is a surface above the ground where the pressure has a

specific value, such as 700mb. Constant pressure surfaces slope downward from the warm to the cold side. Pressure Systems Pressure varies from day-to-day at the Earths surface - the bottom of the atmosphere. This is, in part, because the Earth is not equally heated by the Sun. Areas where air is warmed often have lower pressure because the warm air rises and are called low pressure systems. Places where air pressure is high are called high pressure systems. Centers of surface high and low pressure areas are found within closed isobars on a surface weather analysis where there the absolute maxima and minima in the pressure field, and can tell a user in a glance what the general weather is in their vicinity and the wind is caused by air flowing from high pressure to low

pressure its direction is influenced by the earths rotation. This is called pressure centers. A low pressure system has lower pressure at its center than the areas around it. Winds blow towards the low pressure, and the air rises in the atmosphere where they meet. As the air rises, the water vapor within it condenses forming clouds and often precipitation too. Because of Earths spin and the Coriolis Effect, winds of a low pressure system swirl counterclockwise north of the equator and clockwise south of the equator. This is called cyclonic flow. On weather maps a low pressure system is labeled with red L.

Low-pressure systems are associated with clouds and precipitation that minimize temperature changes through the day A high pressure system has higher pressure at its center than the areas around it. Wind blows away from high pressure. Winds of a high pressure system swirl clockwise north of the equator and counterclockwise south of the equator. This is called anticyclonic flow. Air from higher in the atmosphere sinks down to fill the space left as air blew outward. On a weather map the location of a high pressure system is

labeled with a blue H. high-pressure systems normally associated with dry weather and mostly clear skies with larger diurnal temperature changes due to greater radiation at night and greater sunshine during the day. It's also possible to have high pressure ridges and low pressure troughs. On upper-level charts, height contours often have a wave-like appearance . The part of the wave with higher heights is called a ridge, while the part with lower heights is called a trough Troughs and ridges are analyzed on pressure surfaces

aloft such as 850, 700, 500 and 300 mb. A ridge is a region with relatively higher heights. A broad region of sinking air or a deep warm air mass will both lead to ridging. Since air is often sinking within a ridge they tend to bring warmer and drier weather. Troughs is a region with lower heights , tend to bring in cooler and cloudier weather as they approach Compare/Contrast Chart High and Low Pressure High Pressure Type of phenomenon Determined by Moving inward on isobars

Density of air Representation on a map Motion of air Low Pressure Weather system Changes in air pressure Pressure Increases Pressure Decreases Higher H (typically blue) Lower

L (typically red) Clockwise, air sinks Counterclockwise, air rises Cyclone Convergence Anticyclone Also known as Motion of air causes a Divergence zone of Stability of atmosphere Stable

Unstable Contour Maps Contour maps organize all the available data so we can make sense of it Once contoured, you can determine wind direction, high and low pressure systems, locations of possible precipitation, fronts, regions of strong winds and changing temperatures --- ALL FROM A MAP! It can show us : Regions of High and Low Pressure, Fronts, Temperature, Wind Direction and Speed, How your weather is going to change! Types of contour lines Isopleth is a line on a map that connects all the points of a given variable with the SAME SPECIFIED VALUE

Isobar - line of constant pressure Isotherm - line of constant temperature Isotach - line of constant wind speed Isodrosotherm - a line of constant dew point Isohyet - a line of constant precipitation accumulation Isoneph - a line of constant cloudiness Isohaline - a line of constant salinity (saltiness in the ocean) Isoheight - a line of constant height isotachs lines of equal wind speed There are a few rules when it comes to drawing contours. Contours should never cross or touch . Contours should be smooth; no corners (this isnt dot-to-dotcontours should be a bit rounded)

Do not draw in any more details than the data allow (you should not draw dramatic curves where there is no station data to support thisalso, you should not draw a 60 F circle inside a 65 F circle unless there is a station inside the circle with a temperature of less than 60 F) Contours should be closed or reach the edge of the map (do not start a line in the middle of the map or leave one hanging) Contours should be labeled (dont forget to write 60 F on or at the end of the 60 F contour) Examples Temperature observations Where do we draw the 15F isotherm????

Examples Temperature observations Where do we draw the 15F isotherm???? Examples Temperature observations Where should we draw the 75F and 80F isotherms? Where should we draw the 75F and 80F isotherms? Examples

Temperature observations Where should we draw the 75F and 80F isotherms? Where should we draw the 75F and 80F isotherms? Surface Map Isobars do not pass through each point, but with the values interpolated from the data given on the chart With isobars plotted, the chart is called sea level pressure chart or simply Surface Map When weather data are plotted are in this map, it becomes Surface Weather Map

Hs: Centers of high pressure (also called anticyclones) Ls: Centers of low pressure (also known as depressions or mid-latitude depressions or extra-tropical cyclones) they form in the middle latitudes, outside of the tropics. Surface Map showing areas of high & low pressure; solid lines are isobars at 4 mb intervals; arrows wind direction; winds blow across the isobars Surface maps describe where the centers of high & low pressures are found and winds and weather associated with these systems Upper-Air Charts The upper-air map is a constant pressure chart, constructed to show height variations along a constant pressure (isobaric surface) Isobaric maps

Contour lines connect points of equal elevation above sea level Contour lines of low height represent regions of lower pressure & lines of high height represent region of higher pressure; Contour lines decrease from south to north; isotherms (dotted line) shows north is colder than south --- cold air aloft is associated with low pressure Contour lines bend \$ turn indicating elongated highs (ridges, warmer air) & depressions (troughs, colder air). Upper-level 500 mb map for the same day; solid lines: contour lines in meters above sea level; dashed lines:isotherms (C); wind directions are parallel to the contour lines. The winds on the 500-mb chart tend to flow parallel to the contour lines on a wavy west-to-east direction

Upper-air charts are important for weather forecast; upper-level winds determine the movement of surface air pressure systems, as well as whether these surface systems will intensify or weaken

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