12.1: An Integrated View of the Atmosphere
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The atmosphere is one of the Earth's most efficient integrators. The atmosphere connects to almost every part of the Earth system—the lithosphere (i.e., solid earth), the hydrosphere (i.e., oceans), the cryosphere (i.e., ice), and the biosphere (i.e., life from microbes to plants to animals). The atmosphere's constituents are essential for life. The atmosphere transports energy and atmospheric constituents—in days it mixes air through the troposphere; in weeks it circumnavigates the globe; in months it transports air from the equator to the poles; in a year it shifts air from one hemisphere to another. The atmosphere and the water it contains shape the land with wind and water erosion, move the ocean currents, and determine where and when life can thrive or die. The atmosphere has shaped human history. For all of these reasons and more, the atmosphere, its governing principles, and its behavior must be thoroughly understood in a way that makes it possible to accurately predict its future behavior.
METEO 300 is designed to give you a solid understanding of the atmosphere's physical and chemical principles and the skills to quantify its behavior and properties. In the following table, the accumulated learning objectives are laid out endtoend in an impressive array. If you have worked hard and completed all the exercises, you can know and can do what is in this table.
METEO 300 Learning Objectives
Lesson 
Learning Objectives 
1 
 correctly use significant figures, dimensions, and units
 solve simple problems using integral and differential calculus
 prepare and use a course Excel workbook for course calculations

2 
 use the fundamental gas laws—Ideal Gas Law and Dalton’s Law—to determine the relative densities of different air masses
 derive the hydrostatic equilibrium equation from force balance to show why atmospheric pressure decreases with height
 use the 1st Law of Thermodynamics and conservation of energy (i.e., adiabatic processes) to explain air parcel temperature changes
 determine stability for different dry environmental temperature profiles
 calculate buoyancy and vertical velocity with time

3 
 differentiate among the different ways that moisture can be expressed and choose the correct one for finding an answer to a given problem
 explain the meaning of the lines and spaces on a water vapor phase diagram
 calculate relative humidity using the Clausius–Clapeyron Equation
 solve energy problems related to temperature and phase changes
 demonstrate proficiency with using the skewT diagram to find the lifting condensation level (LCL), potential temperature, relative humidity, wetbulb temperature, dry and moist adiabats, and equivalent potential temperature

4 
 explain the role that each atmospheric constituent plays in atmospheric structure and weather
 identify changes in minor and trace gas amounts and the impacts these changes have on the atmosphere
 explain how the atmosphere cleanses itself, using methane as an example
 use chemical equations to show how ozone is formed in the stratosphere and the troposphere and how they differ
 diagram the lifecycle of aerosol particles with an emphasis on their role in weather

5 
 identify cloud types
 describe the essentials for cloud formation
 on a Koehler curve, explain the behavior of a particle in different supersaturation environments
 explain the lifecycle of cloud formation through precipitation

6 
 identify the causes of changing solar radiation on Earth
 calculate properties of the spectrum of solar and Earth radiation in terms of the Planck function
 calculate the absorption between you and a light source
 explain why the sky looks blue and hazy in the summer

7 
 identify the causes of changing solar radiation on Earth
 calculate properties of the spectrum of solar and Earth radiation in terms of the Planck function
 calculate the absorption between you and a light source
 explain why the sky looks blue and hazy in the summer

8 
 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

9 
 identify regions of convergence, divergence, positive vorticity, and negative vorticity on a weather map
 calculate the strength of the different flow types from observations
 relate vertical motion to horizontal convergence and divergence

10 
 explain mass conservation physically, recognize the mass conservation equation, and memorize its form when density is constant
 state the three main conservation laws in atmospheric science: the conservation of mass, the conservation of momentum, and the conservation of energy
 name and explain the three fundamental (real) forces in the atmosphere (gravity, pressure gradient, and friction)
 name and explain the two new (apparent) forces that emerge when momentum conservation is written in the rotating reference frame
 draw the balance of forces for geostrophic flow, gradient flow, geostrophic flow with friction, and cyclostrophic flow
 explain why midlatitude winds are westerly

11 
 draw the PBL and its diurnal variation
 perform Rayleigh averaging on an equation and derive an equation for the turbulent parts
 explain kinematic fluxes
 show vertical motion using eddy fluxes
 explain turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) and its behavior
 sketch the surface energy budget for different conditions

12 
 explain the physical and chemical phenomena that are responsible for an observation of the atmosphere
 demonstrate your mastery of the course learning objectives

There are fiftyone learning objectives listed here. Read through this list and think about how comfortable you are with your knowledge and your abilities in each area. If you don't remember some of them, review them now.