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8: Math and Conceptual Preparation for Understanding Atmospheric Motion

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    Learning Objectives

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

    • calculate partial derivatives
    • implement vector notation, the dot product, the cross product, and the del operator
    • explain the different coordinate systems and how they are used
    • convert between math and meteorological wind directions
    • calculate temperature advection at any point on a map of isotherms (lines of constant temperature) and wind vectors

    In previous lessons, we were able to explain physical and chemical processes using only algebra and differential and integral calculus. Thermodynamics, moist processes, cloud physics, atmospheric composition, and atmospheric radiation and its applications can all be quantified (at this level of detail) with fairly simple mathematics. However, to understand and quantify the dynamics of the atmosphere requires more math skill.

    Thumbnail: Weathervane. Credit: Justin Otto via flickr

    This page titled 8: Math and Conceptual Preparation for Understanding Atmospheric Motion is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by William Brune (John A. Dutton: e-Education Institute) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.