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1

Synoptic meteorology

meteorology traditionally involves the study of weather systems, such as

  • extratropical high and low pressure systems,
  • jet streams
  • associated waves
  • fronts.

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mesoscale meteorology

  • the study of convective storms,
  • land–sea breezes,
  • gap winds,
  • and mountain waves

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The earth system exhibits a continuous............................spectrum of motion that defies simple categorization.

spatial and temporal

4

Weather forecasting

necessitates understanding a wide range of processes and phenomena acting on a variety of spatial and temporal scales.

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forecasting for a coastal location requires information concerning

  • the near-shore water temperature,
  • the potential for land–sea breeze circulations,
  • and the strength and orientation of the prevailing synoptic-scale wind flow.

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The prediction of precipitation type can benefit from

knowledge of atmospheric thermodynamics and cloud physics.

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Other types of prediction, including ............................................. and ................................., also require knowledge that spans a broad spectrum of meteorological processes.

air quality forecasting and seasonal climate prediction

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 quasigeostrophic (QG) equations

simplified version of the full primitive equations

igoners small terms

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momentum equations are

continuous

ideal gas

hydrostatic

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geostraphic wind is a balance between

corriolis and PGF

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scale analysis

a systematic strategy to determine which terms in the equations, often associated with specific physical processes, are most important and which are negligible in a given meteorological setting.

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scale analysis is a systematic strategy to determine which terms in the equations, often associated with specific physical processes, are most important and which are negligible in a given meteorological setting. By

characterizing the temporal and spatial scales associated with specific weather systems, we can systematically neglect “small” terms in the governing equations in the study of those systems.

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for synoptic- and planetary-scale weather systems, such as cyclones and anticyclones, we know that in the ................................., flow above........................tends to be fairly close to a state of .................................balance

midlatitudes,  ~1 km altitude, geostrophic

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---flow above ~1 km altitude tends to be fairly close to a state of geostrophic balance, whereas for mesoscale weather systems, such as thunderstorms, it .............................................................

does not, even in the same geographical location

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geostrophic balance ignores

friction

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whereas for mesoscale weather systems, such as thunderstorms, it does not, even in the same geographical location. Why?

cannot ignore friction

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This is one example of why students in the atmospheric sciences are required to derive equations, because it is important to know what ........

  • assumptions were made in the development of a given technique
  • this information is needed to deduce which tools are appropriate for which situations. 
  • the ability to apply a systematic approach to the governing equations allows atmospheric scientists to develop new equations and techniques to study unique problems.

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The length scale can be related to

the size of a weather system, or how far an air parcel would travel within the system during a given time interval.

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The time scale

can be related to how long it would take an air parcel to circulate within the system

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Scale: Microscale

length: 

less than 1 km

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Scale: Microscale

time:

less than 1 hour

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Scale: Microscale

example phenomena:

Turbulence, PBL

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Scale: Mesoscale

Length:

1 - 1000 km

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Scale: Mesoscale

time:

1 h - 1 day

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Scale: Mesoscale

example phenomena:

Thunderstorm, land-sea breeze

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Scale: synoptic

length:

1,000-4,000

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Scale: synoptic

time: 

1 day-1 week

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Scale: synoptic

Example phenomena:

Upper level trough, ridges, fronts surface lows and highs

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Scale: Planetary

Lenght:

less than 4000 km

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Scale: planetary

time:

less than 1 week