Section 8: Weather

SLOs: weather and air masses, atmospheric lifting, violent weather.


Lesson 1:

Instruction

Weather is simply the condition of the atmosphere in the short-term.  Meteorology, however, is the study of the atmosphere in which data on physical characteristics, processes and motions, chemical and geological processes, atmospheric system linkages, and weather forecasting are analyzed.  Weather is determined by predominant air masses related to specific surfaces of the Earth and named according to source regions.  In Ventura County (and the majority of California), the predominant air mass is titled: maritime tropical (mT).          

Photos and Images
 (the maritime tropical air mass in relation to Ventura County)  

Quiz

The image above shows Ventura County with the general location and direction of flow of our predominant air mass, maritime tropical (mT).  Using the Christopherson text or another source on air masses, list the characteristics of the maritime tropical (mT) air mass on the Pacific side of the North American continent.   

 


Lesson 2:

Instruction

Atmospheric lifting must occur for cooling of air masses, reaching the temperature of dew-point, saturation and condensation, and finally formation of clouds with the possibility of precipitation.  There are four mechanisms for atmospheric lifting: convergent (air flowing toward an area of low pressure), convectional (dependent upon local surface heating), orographic (air being forced over a barrier), and frontal (along the edges of contrasting air masses). 

Photos and Images
 
   (convergent lifting)     (convectional lifting)     (orographic lifting)     (frontal lifting) 

   (example of a lifting mechanism over Conejo Mountain) 

Quiz

There are many places in Ventura County where the type of lifting mechanism shown in the above photograph can be found.  Name the mechanism and suggest one of the places.


Lesson 3:

Instruction

Violent weather can occur all over the world.  Some examples of such weather include storms producing heavy rainfall, snow, ice, hail, graupel, sleet, and freezing rain.  Thunder and lightening, atmospheric turbulence, tornados, and tropical cylones are also outcomes of violet weather.  Although many of these weather types are very rare in Ventura County, such as cyclones, all are possible here (especially during El Nino and La Nina years).          

Photos and Images
 
    (runoff in the Santa Clara River from heavy spring time rains)          (icicle hanging off a structure in Upper Ojai after a winter freeze) 

Quiz

Have you experienced any types of violent weather in or around Ventura County?  If so, give the type of weather, the year it occurred, and include any other pertinent information about the event (such as damage to physical features or human infrastructure).    


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2006 Jessica Douglas