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Solar Energy and Earth’s

Atmosphere
GPH 111
What we cover:
 Two classifications of heat energy
 Layering of earth’s atmosphere
 General atmospheric density
 Normal adiabatic lapse rate and unusual
twists
 Problems that generate pollution
Let’s put the Earth and Sun
into perspective…

If the sun’s total energy output for one second


was stored in some super duper battery, it would
take the US over 9 million years to use it all.
Solar shortwave radiation vs. Earth’s
longwave radiation…
Earth vs.
the Sun
energy
breakdown

Layers of the
Atmosphere
Exercise Time!
Outer Space
Atmospheric
Function…
Thermosphere

Mesosphere

Stratosphere

Troposphere
Earth’s Atmosphere and Solar Energy

<0.001% Air Density

>90%
Air Pressure
Kittinger and his Balloon

102,800 feet (99% of atmosphere)


Accelerated to 614 mph
Freefall of 4.5 minutes
Adiabatic Lapse Rates…
Through the
troposphere,
temperature drops
with elevation at a
normal lapse rate of
6.4 per 1000 m or
3.5 per 1000 feet on
average.

The rate of change


can vary
substantially
because of local
weather changes
Inversion layers and Pollution…
Inversion Layers…

With pollution unable to mix in


the upper atmosphere during
an inversion, this leads to poor
visibility and heath issues
Solar Radiation and Smog…

Smog Production:
Car exhaust (NO2,
VOCs, CO) and
ultraviolet radiation
chemically react to
generate:
Ozone,
Peroxyacetyl
nitrates (PANs),
and Nitric Acid.
Los Angeles and Smog…
Phoenix and Smog…
This is in China… our future?
Ozone Depletion in the
Stratosphere…
CFC’s react with
Ozone to deplete the
good Ozone from the
atmosphere
Things to know…
The difference between short and longwave radiation
The different layers of the atmosphere based on
temperature
The layers where solar energy is absorbed
How inversion layers develop and their affect on
pollution
What does car exhaust have to interact with to generate
pollution?
The general cause and effect of ozone loss in the
stratosphere

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