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Assignment 2 Adiabatic Lapse Rates

(Total: 26 Marks)

Preparation: AttendtheAssignment2Tutorial+Readovertheslides

Worth: 7.5%ofyourfinalmark

Date Assigned: WednesdayJuly5th

Date Due: WednesdayJuly12th,intheEnvirSc1C03dropbox,onthe2ndfloor


ofGSBnolaterthan4:30p.m.

Introduction

EnvironmentalLapseRate
The Environmental Lapse Rate is the rate of temperature change of the atmosphere with an
increaseinaltitude.Theenvironmentallapserateisofgreatimportanceinunderstandinghow
weatherworksinthetroposphere.Generally,theairgetscolderasyougohigher.Whyshould
thatbeso?Thinkofbeingclosetoaroaringbonfire;youfeelwarm,ofcourse.Slowly,youback
awayfromthefire;thewarmthdiminisheswithdistance.Inthisanalogy,theearth'ssurfaceis
thebonfire,heatedbyabsorptionofthesun'sradiantenergy.Asyouascend,youmoveaway
fromtheradiatingheatsourceandtheairbecomescooler(StrahlerandStrahler,1989).

AdiabaticLapseRate:
TheAdiabaticLapseRateistherateatwhichanairparcelcoolsasitrisesinaltitudethrough
convection.Noheattransferoccursintooroutoftheairparcelasitcoolsdown.Therateof
coolingdependsonthesaturationoftheairparcel.TheDryAdiabaticLapseRate(DALR)isthe
rateoftemperaturedecreasewithaltitudeforaparcelofdryorunsaturatedairasitrises.The
SaturatedAdiabaticLapseRate(SALR)istherateoftemperaturedecreasewithaltitudefora
parcelofairsaturatedwithwatervapourasitrises.TheSALRvarieswithtemperature.

Theword"adiabatic"comesfromtheGreekwordadiabatos,meaning"impassable".Whatis
impassable?Acertainvolumeofairisimaginedtohaveimpenetrableboundariesonallsides.
Whentheriseanddescentoftheairisveryrapid,asitwouldbeinthepowerfuldowndraftofa
ChinookdescendingtheleesideoftheRockies,thedryadiabaticlapserateholdstrueforall
practicalpurposes.

Assignment Objectives
The purpose of this assignment is to understand the relationship between altitude and air
temperature,themovementofdryandmoistairparcelsintheatmosphereandovermountain
ranges,andultimatelythefateofwatervapour.



Assignment2AdiabaticLapseRatesEnvirSc1C03DATE:____________________


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STUDENTNAME STUDENT#

Forthefollowingquestionsshowallofyourcalculationsincludingunits.Answersmustbeneat,
clearandlegibleortheywillnotbemarked.

Adiabatic Lapse Rates and Altitude (26 Marks)

AparcelofairistravelingfromwesttoeastbeginningatthePacificOceanrisingoverthenorth
south Coastal Ranges in California. The air temperature at sea level is a) 21oC, by adiabatic
coolingalongtheDALR(10C/km),theairreachesitsdewpointofb)14oC,butcontinuestorise
alongtheSALR(6oC/km)untilitreachesthemountainsummitatanelevationof2400mabove
sealevel.TheairthendescendsalongtheleesideoftherangealongtheDALRreachingthe
CentralValleyfloorat70mabovesealevel.

TheairparcelthenascendstheSierraNevadaMountainRangebyadiabaticcooling,alongthe
DALR(10C/km),reachingitsdewpointatc)8oC.ItcontinuestocoolalongtheSALR(7oC/km)
untilitreachesthemountainsummitatd)7oC.ItthendescendsalongtheDALRreachingDeath
Valleyat85mrelativetosealevel.(seeFigure2.1)

Fillinthediagrambelowwiththeappropriatevalues.
Figure2.1:SchematicshowingthemovementofanairparcelovertheNSrunningmountainsof
theCoastalRangesandSierraNevadas
1. Atwhataltitude(inkm)wasthedewpointtemperatureoftheairmassreachedonascentof
theCoastalRanges?(2Marks)

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2. WhatwasthetemperatureoftheairmassatthesummitoftheCoastalRanges?(3Marks)

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3. WhatwasthetemperatureoftheairmassonarrivalattheCentralValley?(3Marks)

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4. Atwhataltitude(inkm)wasthedewpointtemperatureoftheairmassreachedonascentof
theSierraNevadas?(3Marks)

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5. Whatwasthealtitude(inkm)oftheairmassatthesummitoftheSierraNevadas?
(3Marks)

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6. WhatwasthetemperatureoftheairmassonarrivalatDeathValley? (3Marks)

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7. Howdoesthemovementofanairmassoveramountainrangecontributetotheformation
ofinlanddeserts?Forexample,DeathValleyinCaliforniawhichislocatedeastoftheCoastal
RangesandSierraNevadamountains? (3Marks)

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8. Figure2.2belowshowsthedifferencesinEarthsbiomeswithchangesintemperatureand
moistureconditions.Describethechangesinairtemperature,airsaturationandbiomesthat
you would expect to see from the Pacific Ocean in the west, over the coastal and Sierra
NevadaMountains,anddowntoDeathValleyintheeast. (6Marks)

















Figure2.2:Earthsbiomesrelativetotemperatureandmoistureconditions(Amsel,2015)

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