Characteristics of the atmosphere

1.1. Geometry

1.2. Chemical composition of the atmosphere

1.3. Physical properties of air

1.3.3. GFD Lab I: Cloud formation on adiabatic expansion

1.4. Problems

The atmosphere (and ocean) are thin films of fluid on the spherical Earth under the influence of gravity, Earth's rotation, and differential heating by solar radiation. In this chapter we describe the chemical composition of the atmosphere and key physical properties of air. We discuss the equation of state of air (the connection between pressure, density, and temperature) and key properties of moist air. In particular, we will learn that warm air is generally more moist than cold air, a fact that has enormous implications for the climate of the planet.

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