Flash Cards

Atmosphere – Sections 1 and 2

Question Answer
What elements make up the Earth's atmosphere? mostly nitrogen with about 21% oxygen
What causes differences in air temperatures at different altitudes? mainly the way gases absorb solar energy
What are the two highest layers of the atmosphere? thermosphere and mesosphere
In what layer of the atmosphere do auroras occur? ionosphere
What is the troposphere? the closest layer to the earth, also the densest layer, contains almost 90% of the atmosphere's mass
What is the thermosphere? the farthest layer from earth with lack of particle density, little thermal energy transfer
What is the stratosphere? The layer with layered gases, thin air, and little moisture
What is the mesosphere? the coldest layer, temperature descreases as altitude increases
What is radiation? energy transferred as electromagnetic waves
What is thermal conduction? energy transferred as heat through a material
What is convection? thermal energy transferred by circulation of a liquid or gas
What is greenhouse effect? the process by which gases in the atmosphere absorb thermal energy and radiate it back to earth
What is radiation balance? the amount of energy received from the sun and the amount of energy returned to space are about equal
What is one reason for global warming? increasing greenhouse gases
How does temperature change in the mesosphere? temperature decreases as altitude increases
What is the atmosphere? a mixture of gases
What is the air we breathe mostly made of? nitrogen
About how much of Earth's atmosphere is oxygen? 20%
Why is air pressure greatest at the Earth's surface? gravity pulls gas molecules toward the surface
What layer is the protective ozone layer found in? stratosphere
What happens to most of the solar energy that reaches Earth's atmosphere? it is absorbed by the Earth's surface
What is the warmth you feel standing beneath a heat lamp an example of? radiation
A cold frame keep plants alive in the winter. The sun heats the inside of the frame, but its covering prevents the heat from escaping. The way a cold frame works is similar to what ? greenhouse effect
Some ovens have a fan to circulate the hot air inside the oven and to make food cook more quickly. What is this an example of? convection
What explains the fact that a pan on a stove gets hot when it is above a flame? thermal conduction
What is the difference between incoming solar energy and energy released from Earth into space called? radiation balance
What type of pollutants are ozone and smog examples of? secondary
What causes differences in air pressure? unequal heating of the Earth
What happens to cold air at the poles? It sinks because it is colder and more dense than the surrounding air
Why is the air warmer and less dense than surrounding air at the equator? The equator receives more solar energy
What is wind? the movement of air caused by differences in air pressure
What is created around the poles as cold air sinks? high pressure areas
How can geographic features cause local winds? During the day the air is cooler over water. The land heats up during the day and rises and the cold from the water flows in to replace it. At night, the air is cooler over land, so the wind blows toward the ocean.

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