The Atmosphere And The Ocean

Anyone who has seen images of the Earth from space, like that in Figure 2.1, will have been struck by how much of our planet is ocean, and will have wondered about the swirling cloud patterns. In fact, the atmosphere and the ocean form one system and, if either is to be understood properly, must be considered together. What occurs in one affects the other, and the two are linked by complex feedback loops.

Figure 2.1 The Earth as seen from a geostationary satellite positioned over the Equator. The height of the satellite (about 35 800 km) is such that almost half of the Earth's surface may be seen at once. The outermost part of the image is extremely foreshortened, as can be seen from the apparent position of the British Isles. Colours have been constructed using digital image-processing to simulate natural colours.

Figure 2.1 The Earth as seen from a geostationary satellite positioned over the Equator. The height of the satellite (about 35 800 km) is such that almost half of the Earth's surface may be seen at once. The outermost part of the image is extremely foreshortened, as can be seen from the apparent position of the British Isles. Colours have been constructed using digital image-processing to simulate natural colours.

The underlying theme of this Chapter is the redistribution of heat by. and within, the atmosphere. We first consider the large-scale atmospheric circulation of the atmosphere, and then move on to consider the smaller-scale phenomena that characterize the moist atmosphere over the oceans.

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