Assignment 08

In: Other Topics

Submitted By lmardi25
Words 1075
Pages 5
Global Patterns of Heating and Circulation

Atmospheric circulation is a very large scale movement of air in which thermal energy is distributed on the surface of the earth. The atmospheric circulation changes from year to year because of several factors. Some of the factors are mid-latitude depressions, tropical cells, and other random pressure systems. Global Atmospheric Circulation is a result of the Earth being heated from energy produced from the Sun, however, this heat is unevenly distributed across the Earth's surface. Equatorial and tropical regions receive much more solar energy than the mid latitudes and the Polar Regions. The tropics receive more heat radiation than they end up emitting. In contrast, the Polar Regions emit more heat radiation than they receive. If there were no heat transferred from the tropics to the Polar Regions the tropics would get continue to get hotter and the Polar Regions would continue to get colder. This latitudinal heat imbalance is what causes the circulation of the atmosphere and the oceans. About 60% of heat energy ends up being re-distributed around the planet by the atmospheric circulation and about 40% is re-distributed by the ocean currents. 1

One way that heat is transferred from the equator to the poles is by a single circulation cell in which air moves from the tropics to the poles and then back. This single-cell circulation model was originally proposed in the 1700's by Hadley. With the Hadley Cell low latitude air moves towards the Equator and then heats up. While the temperature rises the air rises vertically and moves pole wards in the upper atmosphere. This is the reason for cells that dominate the tropics and the sub-tropic climates. The second types of cell involved with atmospheric heating and circulation is the Ferrell cell. This is a mid-latitude cell of atmospheric circulation.…...

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