Air Temperature

Global Climate Animations


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Animations Global Energy Balance | Temperature | Global Water Balance | Atmospheric Circulation and Winds
Links Environmental Change Research Group | Department of Geography | University of Oregon

Global Energy Balance

The surface energy balance is the resultant of radiative components such as incoming and outgoing short-wave and long-wave radiation, and also non-radiative components such as sensible heating, latent heating, and the change in energy storage in water or substrate on land. The following animations show radiative and non-radiative components which emphasize the latitudinal and seasonal variations of solar input and surface-atmosphere energy exchange.

Net Short-Wave Radiation Net Long-Wave Radiation

Net Short-Wave Radiation

Net Long-Wave Radiation
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Flash | .gif

Net Radiation Short-Wave, Long-Wave and Net Radiation
Net Radiation Net Short-Wave, Net Long-Wave, and Net Radiation
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Radiative Components
  • Net short-wave radiation = short-wave down - short-wave up.
  • Net long-wave radiation = long-wave down - long-wave up.
  • Net radiation = net short-wave radiation + net long-wave radiation.

Positive values represent energy moving towards the surface, negative values represent energy moving away from the surface.

 


Sensible Heat Flux Latent Heat Flux
Sensible Heat Flux Latent Heat Flux
Flash | .gif

Flash | .gif

Change in Heat Storage Sensible Heat, Latent Heat, Change in Storage and Net Radiation
Change in Heat Storage Sensible Heat Flux, Latent Heat Flux, Change in Heat Storage, and Net Radiation
Flash | .gif Flash | .gif
Non-Radiative Components
  • Sensible heat flux = direct heating, a function of surface and air temperature.
  • Latent heat flux = energy that is stored in water vapor as it evaporates, a function of surface wetness and relative humidity.
  • Change in heat storage = net radiation - latent heat flux - sensible heat flux.

Positive values for sensible and latent heat flux represent energy moving towards the atmosphere, negative values represent energy moving away from the atmosphere.  Positive values for change in heat storage represent energy moving out of storage, negative values represent energy moving into storage.


Temperature

Seasonal temperature variations can be explained in terms of the latitudinal and seasonal variations in the surface energy balance.  The pattern of temperatures are a function of net short-wave radiation, net long-wave radiation, sensible heat flux, latent heat flux and change in heat storage. 

Air Temperature

Air Temperature
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Seasonal variations in surface temperature.

Global Water Balance

The water balance is the inflow, outflow, and storage of moisture on the earth's surface.  The source of inflow is precipitation, outflow is evaporation and runoff, and an example of storage is soil moisture.  The following animations are examples of the seasonal cycle for inflow, outflow and storage of moisture as part of the global water balance. 

Precipitable Water Vapor Precipitation Rate
Precipitable Water Vapor Precipitation Rate
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Precipitation - Evaporation Runoff/Water Surplus
Precipitation Minus Evaporation Run Off/Water Surplus
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Soil Moisture Precipitation, P-E, Runoff, Soil Moisture
Soil Moisture Precipitation, P-E, Runoff, Soil Moisture
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  • Precipitable water vapor is a measure of available moisture in the atmosphere.
  • Precipitation rate is the actual measurement of precipitation at the surface.
  • Precipitation-Evaporation (P-E) represents the difference between precipitation and evaporation.
  • Runoff/Water surplus are measurements of outflow of moisture.
  • Soil moisture represents the pattern of storage of moisture at the surface.

Atmospheric Circulation and Winds

Atmospheric circulation and winds are generated by the pole-equator-pole variation in the energy balance and in turn, redistribute energy and moisture around the globe.   Animations of the seasonal cycle of circulation and winds show the pattern of mean sea-level pressure and 500 mb heights with wind speed and direction.  Animations of wind vectors for January and July months are shown to emphasize the actual pattern of air movement.

Mean Sea-Level Pressure and Wind Vector Mean Sea-Level Pressure and Winds for Jan and Jul
Mean Sea-Level Pressure and Wind Vectors Mean Sea-Level Pressure and Winds for Jan and Jul
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500 mb Height and Wind Vectors 500 mb Height and Wind Vectors for Jan and Jul
500 mb Height and Wind Vectors 500 mb Height and Wind Vectors for Jan and Jul
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500 mb Height Wind Speed and Vectors 500 mb Height Wind Speed and Vectors for Jan and Jul
500 mb Height Wind Speed and Vectors 500 mb Height Wind Speed and Vectors for Jan and Jul
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500 mb Vertical Velocity (Omega)
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  • Mean sea-level pressure shows the pattern of pressure at the surface.  Surface-wind vectors show direction and speed by the orientation and length of vector.
  • January and July mean sea-level pressure animations show the general flow of air at the surface.
  • 500 mb heights show the pattern of upper-level pressure.  Upper-level wind vectors show direction and speed by the orientation and length of vector.
  • January and July 500 mb height animations show the general flow of air in the upper atmosphere.

 

  • 500 mb height wind speed displays the relative speed of wind by shading, and the direction by vector.
  • January and July 500 mb height wind speed give a sense of the pattern of upper atmosphere winds.

 

  • 500 mb vertical velocity (Omega) indicate areas of large-scale rising (blue) and sinking (orange) motion.

 



Research was supported by the National Science Foundation,  for TEMPO (Testing Earth System Models with Paleoenvironmental Observations, ATM-9910638)

2000 AAG-Cartography Specialty Group First Place Award for Best Student Paper
1999 NACIS Student Web Map Contest Award for Best Animation
1999 APCG President's Award for Outstanding Paper by a Ph.D. Student
1999 National Geographic Cartography Award
Contact: Jacqueline J. Shinker

Created by the Climate Lab section of the Environmental Change Research Group
Department of Geography, University of Oregon

Last updated: 02/13/03