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Homework Help: Air circulation on earth

  1. Dec 8, 2005 #1
    hypothetically, if incoming and outgoing radiation balanced at every point on earth, would there still be air circulation? What do you think?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 8, 2005 #2


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    Since the incoming and outgoing radiation balance, and since we have air currents the only possible answer is, yes.
  4. Dec 8, 2005 #3


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    But incoming and outgoing radiation isn't in balance at individual points on the earth. The equator recieves more than it emits, and the poles lose more than they recieve. This is what drives the major atmospheric currents. Were this difference not present, the major 3-cell circulation we have would shut down, but I think circulation in some form would still persist due to differences between continental & oceanic heating rates, as well as smaller scale differences, and coriolis force.
  5. Dec 8, 2005 #4


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    Nope. What drives the circulation cells is the temperature inversion created by absorbtion of solar radiation at ground level rather than in the atmosphere.
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