METR 104:
Our Dynamic Weather
(Lecture w/Lab)
Responses to In-class Exercise:
Global Temperature Patterns
Dr. Dave Dempsey
Dept. of Geosciences
SFSU, Fall 2012

Objectives: Prior Knowledge Required or Recommended:

Global Temperature Patterns in the Lower Atmosphere:

The thumbnail image below links to a JavaScript loop showing global temperature patterns at an altitude of around 10,000 ft. (3 km) above sea level over periods of several days.
Global Pattern of Temperatures
in the Lower Atmosphere

(Click on this image
to get a JavaScript animation tool.)

Notes: An altitude of 10,000 ft. (about 3 km) above sea level is in the lower part of the troposphere (which is 36,000 ft. deep on the average) but is relatively far above the earth's surface in most places. As a result, temperatures at this altitude tend not to be affected directly by day to night variations in temperature at the earth's surface. It also does not exhibit the strong variations in temperature with elevation that are typical of surface temperatures. However, 10,000 ft. is still low enough in the troposphere to represent the part of the broad, global temperature pattern near the earth's surface associated with longer term (e.g., a day to a year) temperature variations associated mainly with (1) differences in heating due to variation in sun angle with latitude, and (2) transport of heat by air motions.

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