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UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND GEOGRAPHICAL SCIENCE

EGS3012S SYSNOPTIC CLIMATOLOGY EXAMINATION: 2009


TIME: 3 HOURS
INSTRUCTIONS: Budget your time (~1 mark/minute)! Answer all sections. Questions do NOT carry equal marks. Use clear, properly labelled, sketches and diagrams where appropriate. No books, notes or other aids may be used in this examination. An equation sheet is provided; use as appropriate.

Section A: Answer ONE of the following essay questions (45 marks) 1. a) If the earth rotates in the opposite direction to that of today, with the aid of diagrams, describe the likely characteristics of mean global circulation patterns and the consequence on regional climate features over South Africa. Or b) Anthropogenic global climate change is related to the way a changing atmospheric chemistry alters the radiation balance of the planet. Discuss, using principles of the physics and dynamics of the climate system, the interactions between changing greenhouse gasses, the radiation and energy balance, global and synoptic circulation, and changing regional climates. Make appropriate reference in your discussion to the role of feedbacks and the use of Global Climate Models to explore the climate system response. Or c) Consider the quotes: Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get. Mark Twain Climate is what we affect, weather is what gets us Anon "This [climate change] is not some slow, controlled change were talking about. Its fast, its unpredictable, and its unprecedented during human civilization." WWF In terms of the dynamics of the global climate system, discuss the issues reflected in the above quotes.

Section B Answer any 3 (three only) questions. (45 marks) 2. a) Using diagrams, explain the thermal wind concept. [10 marks]

b) Explain why a warm-cored cyclone weaken with height and a worm cored anticyclone intensifies with height. [5 marks]

3. The mean temperature in the layer between 75 and 50kPa decrease eastward by 3oC per 100 km. If the 75-kPa geostrophic wind is from the south-east at 20 ms-1, what is the geostrophic wind speed and direction at 50 kPa? Let f = 10-4 s-1 [15 marks] 4. With reference to Figure 1 a) Indicate on the figure the main circulation features of this system [3 marks] b) Outline the conditions that are necessary for this system to form. [5 marks] c) Outline five main differences between the system and its mid-latitude counterpart. [5 marks] 5. With reference to Figure 3 showing projected future climate change (as used in the class notes), briefly explain how and why the regional climates of Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg might change. [15 marks] Section C Answer ALL questions (45 marks) 6. Figure (2) is a geopotential height field at 200 hpa in the northern hemisphere. a) At points A, B, and C, draw the direction of the geostrophic wind and indicate whether the speed (magnitude) of the geostrophic wind is the same or different at these three points? [1 mark] b) At points A, B, and C, draw the direction of the gradient wind and indicate whether the speed of the gradient wind is the same or different at these three points? [2 marks] c) Using the definition of horizontal divergence, show regions where the gradient wind is divergent or convergent (use a negative sign (-) to indicate divergence) [2 marks]

7. a) Explain how Rossby waves translate east or west as a function of wavelength [2 marks] b) Which Rossby waves account for most of variability over South Africa [1 mark] c) Briefly explain how Rossby waves cause variability [2 marks]

8. a) Sketch a mature mid-latitude cyclone, identifying key features in terms of temperature, humidity, cloud and baroclinicity. [3 marks] b) What kind of clouds do you expect to find ahead of a front? c) What process causes the clouds in (b) to be formed? 9. a) Outline the two key characteristics of the monsoon process [1 mark] [1 marks] [2 marks]

b) Outline the similarities and differences between Rossby waves and Tropical easterly waves [3 marks] 10. a) If the vapour content of a room were to decrease, while air temperature and pressure remained constant, show why each of the following would rise or fall. [5 marks] i) vapour density ii) relative humidity iii) wet bulb depression iv) mixing ratio. v) specific humidity 11. With the aid of a sketch, explain conditional instability. [5 marks]

12. Explain how the Bergeron-Findeisen process enhances precipitation. [5 marks] 13. Explain why the global average lapse rate in the troposphere is negative. [5 marks] 14. With the aid of figures, demonstrate the concept of potential instability. [5 marks]

Name: ______________________________ Student ID: ________________ EGS312 Section C (25 marks) Hand this page in with your answer book.
Choose the most correct answer. (2 marks for each of these questions) (1) The outer region of hurricanes is in: a) geostrophic balance b) cyclostrophic balance c) gradient-wind balance d) antripitic balance e) a + b +c (2) What are the two most important a) a strong inversion factors to determine the likely b) cirrus clouds strength and lifetime of a c) conditional and/or potential instability d) a dryline thunderstorms? e) vertical wind shear f) horizontal wind shear g) anticyclonic conditions (3) What are the two most important factors to determine the likely strength and lifetime of a thunderstorm? a) The Walker cell is a meridional circulation, and the Hadley cell is a zonal circulation. b) The Walker cell is a zonal circulation, and the Hadley cell is a meridional circulation. c) The Hadley cell is primarily responsible for circulation around South Africa. d) Polar and tropical circulation systems are driven directly by thermal effects. e) Mid latitude systems are driven by thermally indirect effects. f) b+e a) warm SST anomalies throughout the tropical Pacific b) as for a) but also drought in southern Africa c) as for a) except cool SST anomalies in the western equatorial Pacific d) wetter conditions in Australia e) none of the above a) causes divergence, and cross isobar flow toward the low pressure. b) has a negative isallobaric value. c) creates a positive isallobaric field and ageostrophic flow toward the high pressure. d) stabilises to an equilibrium geostrophic flow which is a function of the coriolis force, friction, and the pressure gradient. a) in the south Atlantic result forms positive relative vorticity induced cyclogenesis b) are characterised by baroclinic zones and induced by upper tropospheric dynamics. c) are mechanisms of energy exchange between low and high latitudes d) follow the trajectories defined by the upper air Rossby waves e) all of the above f) a + c + d only

(4) During the mature phase of typical El Nino event, one expects:

(5) A pressure gradient which decreases in time .....

(6) Mid-latitude cyclones.....

Name: ______________________________ Student ID: ________________ Hand this page in with your answer book.
(7) A temperature gradient results in.... a) a thermal wind which in a warm cored surface low causes decreasing wind velocity with height. b) a thickness gradient and thermal wind which always opposes geostrophic flow c) a thickness gradient and Ekman spiral d) decreased wind velocities in the Rossby wave e) b + d a) cause troposphere cooling and stratosphere warming, with increased atmospheric stability b) results in less high latitude warming than at the equator c) leads to enhanced subsidence in the extra tropical high pressure systems and a pole ward retreat of the circumpolar flow d) will lead to reduced wind speed off the west coast of South Africa and drier conditions over KwaZulu-Natal. a) increases cloud condensation nuclei concentrations causing a reduction of cloud formation b) decreases cloud condensation nuclei concentrations causing a reduction of cloud formation c) increases cloud condensation nuclei concentrations causing a increase of cloud formation d) Results in a increase of ocean iron fertilization and reduced ocean nutrient availability a) Can accurately simulate the climate 5 years into the future, but not 30 years into the future b) Include direct numerical simulation of cloud microphysics and the interaction of radiation with cloud particles c) Are based on coupled sub-models of the components of the climate system, and realistically simulate the 20th century climate d) Are able to realistically simulate nearly all the regional climate changes of the globe, but fail to capture the projected polar warming.

(8) Increased greenhouse gas concentrations

(9) An increase in dust emissions from land surfaces

(10)Global Climate Models

Circle true or false (1 mark each)


(11) In tornadoes the Rossby number is less than 1 (i.e. Ro << 1) (12) For a deep convective system (like hurricane) to survive for many days its horizontal length scale (L) must be less than the Rossby radius of deformation (LR); that is, L<< LR (13) The Coriolis parameter is an important component of the cyclostrophic wind (14) The use of a convective heater on a space craft is an effective choice (15) Increasing surface winds enhance nocturnal inversions True True False False

True

False

True True

False False

Name: ______________________________ Student ID: ________________ Hand this page in with your answer book.

Figure 1

Figure2.

Anomaly SLP

Anomaly Wind speed

Figure 3

Appendix A: Equations you may wish to reference in your answers

Velocity =

g dz f dn

Velocity =

1 dp f dn

E = T 4

Average density of air at the surface = 1.2kg/m3

Velocity =

fr + 2

f 2r 2 dz + rg * 4 dr
g dT * (z zo) fT dn

Velocity = +

fr 2

f 2r 2 dz rg * 4 dr

Thermal wind velocity: Vt =

Thermal wind velocity: Vt =

R dT (ln Po ln P) f dn
f = 2 sin

z = 29.27T (log e p0 loge p1 ) z = 67.4T (log10 p0 log10 p1 )


g = 9.81 ms-1 = 0.9

= 7.29 * 10-5 rad sec-1 S = 1340 W/m2

= 5.67 * 10-8 Wm-2K-4

+ f
D

= constant

x=

0.622e p

xs =

0.622es p es

q=

0.622e p 0.3778e

qs =

0.622e s p 0.378e s

e x * 100 = * 100 = RH % es xs T=4 S (1 ) 4


or

r 2 S0 (1 ) = 4r 2T 4