1. Describe how the use of a tall smoke stack might improve air quality near a large industrial facility.
A taller smoke stack in an industrial area would improve air quality over shorter stacks. At night, when there is a temperature inversion, pollution from shorter stacks can become trapped and cannot rise any higher than the inversion’s top. The only place it can go is to spread out horizontally in all directions. This keeps all the pollutants spewing out of the stack to remain closer to the ground, lowering the air quality. A taller stack, on the other hand, would allow pollution exit above the inversion and disperse downwind.
2. How can topography contribute to pollution in a city or region?
Topology can have a great impact on pollution in a region. We tend to build cities down in valleys, not on hills. Above a layer of cold air in the valleys is a warmer layer. This warm layer prevents pollution from rising which creates a layer of smog in the valley. The hills surrounding the valley act as barriers preventing winds from moving in to disperse the pollution. The same polluted air just recirculates in the valley unable to leave.
3. From where do hurricanes derive their energy? What factors tend to weaken hurricanes? Would you expect a hurricane to weaken more quickly if it moved over land or over cooler water?
A hurricane’s energy comes from the transfer of both sensible and latent heat from the surface of the ocean. A cluster of thunderstorms must form around an area of low pressure for a hurricane to form. Warm water drives a hurricane, so when it moves over an area of colder water it slows down and begins to decay. A rising wind shear aloft also hinders a hurricanes momentum. Land does weaken more quickly when it makes land fall. The terrain tends to break up its wind movements, slowing it rapidly. Land also helps to suck the moisture out of the storm which further aids in its rapid decay.
4. Where is the Bermuda high located during the summer and fall? How might the path of a hurricane, moving toward the west from Africa, be affected by the Bermuda High as the hurricane approaches the United States?
The Bermuda high is located in the North Atlantic Ocean and moves east and west depending on the season. In summer and fall it is located off the eastern coast of the United States, near Bermuda. In spring and winter it moves eastward and then becomes known as the Azores High. In summer and fall when there is a weak Bermuda high, it drives hurricanes up the east coast of the US. When it is stronger and located further westward, it drives hurricanes into Florida or the Gulf of Mexico.
5. How do you think pollutants are removed from the atmosphere? Does this occur quickly or slowly?
Trees and plants play a large role in cleaning pollutants in out atmosphere. They trap pollutants in and release clean oxygen for us to breath. Planting more trees in a polluted industrial area can improve local air quality. Other pollutants can be carried by winds and simply settle and seep into the ground. They can also attach to water vapor, which then falls to the ground as precipitation. This is commonly referred to as acid rain. These processes do happen slowly. We, as a planet, are spewing more pollutants in the air than these natural process can handle, which has led to an ever increasing ozone layer.
Ahrens, C. D. (01/2014). Essentials of Meteorology: An Invitation to the Atmosphere, 7th Edition [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved fromhttp://online.vitalsource.com/books/9781305439733
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