Variables

Vertical fluxes are measured in terms of both precipitation and upwards movements of water vapor. These variables have an impact on the circulation of the atmosphere. The extent and temperature of the ocean also has an impact on this circulation and this is further affected by the extent of ice in the sea. These latter variables are included within the category of horizontal mass fluxes, which are measures of northward and eastward (and vice-versa) masses of ice, water vapor and liquid ocean, as well as air masses. Additional variables include the amount and movement of salt masses in the water.

These vary together with the amount of water and energy entering the ocean (for example, melting ice at the poles and level of precipitation) and are further affected by climate conditions, as well as affecting those conditions in turn. Salinity in oceans is measured by using devices that collect data on conductivity, temperature, and depth (CTDs).

Variables exist with respect to water. These include the composition of the water and of water in different states (for example, water vapor, ice, snow) and its movement in three dimensions. Both static and moving water are considered (lakes, oceans or seas, as well as rivers). Interactions between water in different states and land are also included.

Velocity variables measure the speed and direction by which air masses move in the atmosphere. These are overall or average measures, necessarily, because velocity varies rapidly and frequently in a unit period, depending on location and season. Height and pressure are other ways of measuring interactions between atmosphere and land or sea.

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