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5: Air Temperature

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    South Pole Station
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): South Pole Station, Antarctica, one of the coldest places on Earth (Credit NOAA)

    The temperature of our atmosphere is controlled by a complex set of interactions between the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere. Energy is constantly exchanged between the surface and the air above, as well as circulating around the globe. Here we'll look at what controls the air temperature at a particular place by examining radiation and energy exchanges between the earth and air above. Then we'll examine how the global circulation of air and water affects air temperature.

    Learning Objectives

    By the end of the chapter you should be able to:

    • Define temperature and describe how air temperature is measured.
    • Explain what controls daily and seasonal temperature variations.
    • Determine the temperature gradient using isotherms.
    • Calculate average daily and annual temperature, daily and annual temperature range, determine seasonal temperature lag.
    • Explain the global pattern of air temperature.
    • Summarize the effects of global warming on temperature patterns.

    See if you are ready for this chapter by Getting Ready for Chapter 5: Air Temperature.

    This page titled 5: Air Temperature is shared under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Michael E. Ritter (The Physical Environment) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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