Archive "Temperature"
The Sea Breeze (Daytime)

How Do Variations in Temperature and Pressure Cause Local Atmospheric Circulation?

PRESSURE GRADIENTS INDUCE FLOW at all scales, including local and regional ones, arising from unequal heating by insolation and latent heat, by differing thermal responses of land versus sea, and even from the construction of large metropolitan areas. Such circulations contribute to the climate of a place, particularly in the absence of, or interaction with, […]

How Does a Gas Behave When Heated or Cooled?

How Do Gases Respond to Changes in Temperature and Pressure?

THE ATMOSPHERE CONSISTS LARGELY OF GASES, with lesser amounts of liquids, such as drops of water, and solids, such as dust and ice. By nature, gases expand easily or contract in volume in response to changes in temperature and pressure. Variations in temperature and resulting changes in pressure are the main drivers of motion in […]

Depth of Heating, Cooling, and Mixing

Why Do Temperatures Vary Between Oceans and Continents?

WATER EXHIBITS VERY DIFFERENT thermal properties from those displayed by the rocks and soil of land. These differences in thermal properties cause oceans and land to warm and cool at different rates, leading to significant temperature variations between oceans and land. Such differences help explain major patterns of global temperature and climate. How Do Water […]

What Is Temperature and How Do We Measure It?

What Are Heat and Temperature?

THE TERMS HEAT AND TEMPERATURE are used every day, but what do they actually mean? Temperature is a measure of the object's internal kinetic energy — the energy contained within molecules that are moving, and heat is thermal energy transferred from one object to another. Moving molecules drive many processes in the Earthocean-atmosphere system, such […]

Crickets and other temperature scales

Even after the thermometer was invented, it wasn't obvious how to set its readings. Scientists bickered over which points on the scale should be tied to something in the natural world. Some favoured 'blood heat” or body temperature. In northern Europe, where thermometers were refined in the eighteenth century, people didn't expect air temperature to […]

Precipitation on an idealized supercontinent

Temperature and Precipitation Regimes

Many parts of the world show distinctive patterns of monthly temperature and precipitation, usually related to latitude and location. These patterns are referred to as regimes of temperature and precipitation. TEMPERATURE REGIMES Figure 7.5 shows annual cycles of air temperature for different temperature regimes. The equatorial regime (Douala, Cameroon, 4° N) is uniformly very warm, with temperatures close to 27°C (81°F) […]

Annual range of air temperature in Celsius degrees

World Patterns of Air Temperature

We have learned some important principles about air temperatures in this chapter. Surface type (urban or rural), elevation, latitude, daily and annual insolation cycles, and location (maritime or continental) can all influence air temperatures. Now let's put all these together and see how they affect world air temperature patterns. First, we need a quick explanation of air temperature maps. Figure 3.21 shows a set of isotherms—lines connecting locations […]

Daily cycles of insolation, net radiation, and air temperature

Daily and Annual Cycles of Air Temperature

Let's turn to how, and why, air temperatures vary around the world. Insolation from the Sun varies across the globe, depending on latitude and season. Net radiation at a given place is positive during the day, as the surface gains heat from the Sun's rays. At night, the flow of incoming shortwave radiation stops, but the Earth continues to radiate longwave […]

A typical atmospheric temperature curve for a summer day in the midlatitudes

Temperature Structure of the Atmosphere

In general, the air is cooler at higher altitudes. Remember from Chapter 2 that most incoming solar radiation passes through the atmosphere and is absorbed by the Earth's surface. The atmosphere is then warmed at the surface by latent and sensible heat flows. So it makes sense that, in general, air farther from the Earth's surface will be cooler. We call […]

Wind chill conversion

Surface and Air Temperature

This chapter focuses on air temperature—that is, the temperature of the air as observed at 1.2 m (4 ft) above the ground surface. Air temperature conditions many aspects of human life, from the clothing we wear to the fuel costs we pay. Air temperature and air temperature cycles also act to select the plants and animals that make up the biological landscape of a region. […]