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Notes Day 1

So what heats up faster, land or water? Why?

Based on the lab, what is the difference between how land and ocean water are heated by the sun's radiation?

How did your experiment help you explain why it is often milder (less drastic temperature difference) in coastal areas while inland places have more temperature extremes (highs and lows)?

Using the information you learned, predict how this could affect wind direction in coastal areas.

Why Do Temperatures Vary?

- land- water- Altitude- Geographic position- Cloud cover- Ocean current


Land heats and cools more rapidly than waterWater heats up longer and will keep heat longer

Land and Water Temperatures

As air is heated, what happens to density?As air is cooled what happens to density?

How would this affect wind?

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Notes Day 2

What is Air Pressure?

- Air pressure is the pressure exerted by the weight of air above- Air pressure is exerted in all directions- It doesn't just push down on an object, it pushes all around the object

Measuring Air Pressure

  • Barometer: device used for measuring air pressure
  • Units:
    • millibars (mb)
    • inches of mercury
  • Toricelli: invented the mercury barometer in 1643

Measuring Air Pressure: Heavy Newspaper

Measuring Air Pressure: How does a barometer work?

Group talk!Turn to a partner and talk about:How do we get pressure difference on Earth?

The unequal heating of Earth's surface causes pressure differences Solar radiation is the ultimate energy source for wind

How do we get pressure difference on Earth?

  • Isobars:
    • lines on a map that connect places of equal air pressure
  • The help map out air masses and make it easier to see pressure differences over an area
  • Pressure gradient?

Pressure Differences

  • Closely spaced isobars: indicate steep pressure gradient and high winds
  • Widely spaced isobars: indicate a weak pressure gradient and light winds


High and Low Pressure Systems

High and Low Pressure Systems

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Notes Day 3

Wind- What causes it?

  • Wind is a result of horizontal differences in air pressure
  • Air flows from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure

Measuring Wind

  • Wind is named by the direction from which they blow
    • Example: The Westerlies go west to east; sea breezes blow from the sea
  • Tool for direction: Wind Vane
  • Tool for speed: Anemometer

Jet Streams

  • Jet streams are fast moving rivers or air high in the atmosphere
  • They travel west to east and move weather

How do jet streams work?

How do jet streams work?

  • The atmosphere balances itself by transferring heat
  • Warm air moves to the poles and cool air moves to the equator

Global Winds

  • The curving of global winds and ocean currents due to the rotation of the Earth
  • Winds in the north go right and winds in the south go left

Global Winds

  • Trade winds: Two belts of winds that blow east to west
  • Westerlies: west to east motion of the atmosphere
    • Jet stream occurs here
  • Polar easterlies: winds that blow east to west

Global Winds

The Water Cycle

The Water Cycle

  • The cycle where water circulates between the Earth's oceans, atmosphere, and land
  • Involves all three water phases
  • Water changes from a solid to a liquid through _________________
  • It changes from a liquid to a gas through _________________
  • It changes from a gas to a liquid through __________________
  • And, it changes from a liquid to a solid through _________________

Phase Changes of Water

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Notes Day 4

  • Water vapor is water in the form of gas
  • It is the source of all clouds and precipitation
  • When it comes to understanding weather, water vapor is the most important gas in the atmosphere

What is water vapor?

  • When saturated, warm air can hold more water vapor than cold air

What temperature holds the most water?

Dew point

Dew point is the temperature to which air needs to be cooled in order to reach saturation

What is dew point?


  • Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air
  • Saturated air = completely full

Relative Humidity

  • Relative humidity is the amount of water vapor compared to what it could hold at that temperature and pressure
    • % of how full
  • Measured using hygrometers and psychrometers

Relative Humidity

  • Why does lowering air temperature cause increases in relative humidity?
  • Conversely, raising air temperature causes a decrease in relative humidity.

How to calculate relative humidity?*Don't include these steps in your notes, just be familiar with them*

Let's create a class definition for dew point and relative humidity

  • In your own words, write a definition for dewpoint and relative humidity
  • Turn to your partner at your table and compare definitions
  • Choose a table representative once you are all finished with your definitions
  • Share definitions and we form a class definition
  • Individually, write a summary about how relative humidity and dew point are related. Include what happens as you increase and decrease the temperature of the surrounding air and why that occurs

Exit Ticket

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Notes Day 5

Group talk!Turn to a partner and talk about:How do clouds form?

Cloud Formation

  • Clouds form when air rises and is cooled to its dew point
  • Clouds form when air rises and is cooled to its dew point

Cloud Formation

How Clouds Form

Types of Clouds

  • Clouds are classified based on thier form and height
  • There are three types:

Types of Clouds

  • Cirrus (curl of hair)- high, white, and thin
  • Cumulus (cumulate = a pile)- rounded and fluffy with a flat base. Can weigh up to a million pounds
  • Stratus (a layer)- sheets or layers that cover much or all of the sky


  • A cloud with its base at or very near the ground
  • For precipitation to form, cloud droplets must grow in volume by at roughly one million times

How does precipitation form?

What are some forms of precipitation?

  • The type of precipitation that reaches Earth's surface depends on the temperatures in the lower few kilometers of the atmosphere

Types of Precipitation

  • Rain: drops of water that fall from a cloud and have a diameter of at least 0.5 mm
  • Snow: light, fluffy, six-sided ice crystals
  • Sleet: small drops of clear to translucent ice

Types of Precipitation

  • Glaze: when raindrops become supercooled as they fall through subfreezing air and turns to ice on impact
  • Hail: form of solid precipitation which consists of balls of irregular lumps of ice produced in cumulonimbus clouds

Types of Precipitation