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Chapter 11 Vocab

All Sections

TermDefinition
troposphere layer of the atmosphere closest to Earth's surface, where most of the mass of the atmos-phere is found and in which most weather takes place and air pollution collects
stratosphere layer of Earth's atmosphere that is located above the tropopause and is made up primarily of concentrated ozone
mesospehere layer of Earth's atmosphere above the stratopause
thermosphere layer of Earth's atmosphere that is located above the mesopause ; oxygen atoms absorb solar radiation causing the temperature to increase in this layer
exosphere outermost layer of Earth's atmosphere that is located above the thermosphere with no clear boundary at the top; transitional region between Earth's atmosphere and outer space
radiation the transfer of thermal energy electromagnetic waves; the transfer of thermal energy from the sun to Earth by radiation
conduction The transfer of thermal energy between objects in contact by the collisions between the particles in the objects
convection the transfer of thermal energy by the movement of heated material from one place to another
Temperature inversion increase in temperature with height in an atmospheric layer, which inverts the temperature the temperature-altitude relationship and can worsen air-pollution problems
Humidity amount of water vapor in the atmosphere at a given location of Earth's surface
Saturation the point at which water molecules leaving the water's surface equals the rate of water molecules returning to the surface
Relative Humidity ratio of water vapor contained in a specific volume of air compared with how much water vapor that amount of air actually can hold; expressed as a percentage
Dew Point temperature to which air is cooled at a constant pressure to reach saturation, at which point condensation can occur
latent heat stored energy in water vapor that is not released to warm the atmosphere until condensation takes place.
Condensation nucleus Small particle in the atmosphere around which cloud droplets can form
Orographic lifting cloud formation that occurs when warm, moist air is forced to rise up the side of a mountain
Cumulus puffy, lumpy looking clouds that usually occur below 2000 m
stratus a layered sheetlike cloud that covers much or all of the sky in a given area.
cirrus high clouds made up of ice crystals that form at heights of 6000 m ; often have a wispy , indistinct appearance
precipitation all solid and liquid forms of water- including rain, snow, sleet and hail- that fall from clouds
coalescence process that occurs when cloud droplets collide and form larger droplets, which eventually become to heavy to remain aloft and can fall to Earth as precipitation
Created by: rickiward