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Unit 3

Earth's Atmosphere

TermDefinition
Atmosphere the mixture of gases surrounding the Earth
Altitude refers to the distance from the surface of the Earth
Air pressure caused by molecules colliding with surfaces
Troposphere the lowest atmospheric layer; from 4 to 11 miles high
Stratosphere atmospheric layer between the troposphere and the mesosphere
Ozone a colorless gas that is a screen for ultraviolet radiation
Mesosphere the atmospheric layer between the stratosphere and the thermosphere
Thermosphere the atmospheric layer outside of the mesosphere
Greenhouse effect the stabilization of the temperature in the troposphere due to the presence of carbon dioxide and several other gases in the atmosphere
Temperature a measure of the average kinetic energy of the molecules in a substance
Thermal energy a measure of the total kinetic energy of the molecules in a substance
Thermal expansion the spreading out of molecules when the temperature increases
Density a measure of the amount mass in a given volume
Heat energy that flows from warmer objects to cooler objects
Specific heat a measure of the amount of heat required to change the temperature of a material
Radiation transfer of energy by electromagnetic waves through space
Electromagnetic radiation a form of energy that is radiated from the sun
Convection transfer of heat caused by molecular motion in liquid or gas
Convection current flow of matter caused by the movement of warmer, less dense material and cooler, more dense material
Conduction the transfer of energy from one object to another by direct contact between them
Wind air moving from high pressure to low pressure
Convection cells movement of air in small circular patterns due to differences in density resulting from differences in temperature
Coriolis effect deflecting of wind and water currents due to the rotation of the Earth
Global wind large-scale wind systems that affect a wide region on Earth
Polar easterlies winds in the polar regions that blow from east to west
Westerlies winds between 30 and 60 degrees latitude that blow from west to east
Trade winds winds that blow between the equator and 30 degrees latitude in both hemispheres
Doldrums a belt of calms between the Atlantic and Pacific trade winds
Horse latitudes either of two belts or regions near 30 degrees north or 30 degrees south; characterized by calms and light-baffling winds
Jet stream a high-speed high-altitude airstream blowing from west to east near the top of the troposphere; has important effects on the formation of weather fronts
Local wind movement of air over relatively short distances
Sea breeze a cooling wind that forms during the day and flows in toward the land from a large body of water
Land breeze wind that flows from land toward a large body of water at night
Mountain breeze wind that flows down a mountain toward a valley at night
Valley breeze wind that flows from a valley up the slopes of a mountain during the day
Air pollution a change to the atmosphere that has harmful effects
Particulate tiny particles of solids suspended in air
Smog brownish haze that forms when a mixture of ground-level ozone and other pollutants is exposed to sunlight
Acid precipitation rain or snow that has a lower than normal pH due to certain pollutants in the air
Air quality a measure of how clean or polluted the air is
Air quality index a number used to represent the relative degree of pollution in the air at a location
Ventilation circulation of fresh air
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) chlorine compounds formerly used in air conditioners, refrigerators, and aerosol spray cans
Created by: SchvederC