Atmospheric Circulation Study Guide
After the "Atmospheric Circulation" lecture and readings you should be able to answer and discuss the following questions.
Describe the characteristics of and differences between macroscale, mesoscale, and microscale winds.
Describe the characteristics of and differences between planetary-scale and synoptic winds.
Describe the characteristics of 5 major types of mesoscale winds (also called local winds).
In an ideal model of global wind patterns, what physical parameter of the global will result in no seasonal variations?
Name the major wind and pressure belts starting at the Equator and moving poleward. (Online Practice Activity)
For each of these wind belts, describe the wind direction and wind movement.
What are the three major vertical circulation cells found within the Earth's atmosphere? (Online Practice Activity)
Describe in detail driving forces and the movement of air within these circulation cells.
Briefly describe the major differences between the ideal global wind model and the real world.
Why are the actual global wind patterns better developed in the Southern Hemisphere and so poorly developed in the Northern Hemisphere?
What are the monsoons?
Describe the January and July development and effects of the Monsoons in terms of pressure, wind belts, air movement, precipitation, and location of oceans and mountain ranges.
What are the North American Monsoons and how do they differ from the Asian Monsoons?
What are geostrophic winds?
At what altitudes do we find geostrpohic winds?
How do geostrpohic winds differ from surface winds in regards to isobars? Why?
What are the major high altitude wind belts? (Online Practice Activity)
What are Rossby Waves and how do they develop?
What is a jet stream?
What are the three types of jet streams, where do they develop and which direction does the air flow within them?
Where does the Earth recieve the greatest amount of insolation on the surface?
Where is the most longwave radiation lost?
Explain the atmospheric process by which energy from equatorial regions is transported to polar regions.
Explain the oceanic process by which energy from equatorial regions is transported to polar regions.
How are ocean currents generated?
What impact does the Coriolis Effect have on ocean currents?
What impact do continents have on ocean currents?
What are the major ocean currents that affect North America?
Describe and explain an Ekman Spiral.
What is El Niño; where and how does it develop?