The live session will take students on a virtual field trip with me to Stone Mountain, Georgia. As a live session, students will be able to ask questions and answer mine. The field trip will begin with a short hike up the mountain. Cloud cover, cloud type, and solar radiation will be explained during the hike. I will then trek back downhill to the Stone Mountain Environmental Educational Center to view the meteorological sensors on the roof of the building and explain how each one functions. I will also describe the measurement accuracy of each sensor. The Center maintains a weather kiosk which displays meteorological observations from the base of the mountain and from its summit. I will describe the current weather at the top and bottom of the mountain: wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, relative humidity, and temperature. The temperature observations will allow calculation of the temperature gradient (difference) between the top and bottom of the mountain. We as a class will determine the stability of the atmosphere by using our observations of cloud cover and wind speed, and our calculation of the temperature gradient at that time of day. Atmospheric stability is of critical importance for the formation of clouds and fog, the dispersion of air pollutants such as smoke, and our comfort in the environment near the ground where we live. From the stability estimation, I will explain the likelihood of cloud or fog formation at that time of day, fog dissipation, dispersion of air pollutants and smoke, and comfort level.
What is a meteorological sensor? What are the types of sensors that measure the basic weather elements: wind, moisture, sunlight, barometric pressure, temperature, and precipitation? How accurately do these sensors measure the weather elements? What is a temperature gradient? What does atmospheric stability mean? Why is it important? How is temperature gradient related to atmospheric stability? How do cloud cover and wind speed influence atmospheric stability? Under which type of stability condition are clouds most likely to form? Under which type of stability condition is fog most likely to dissipate? Under which type of stability condition are pollutants most likely to disperse? Why are smokestacks so tall? Why do industries tend to release more smoke into the atmosphere from tall smokestacks at night? What meteorological and other environmental factors influence comfort level?
Define the terms wind, atmospheric moisture, barometric pressure, temperature in terms of the kinetic theory of gases, anemometer, wind vane, barometer, radiometer, rain gage, temperature gradient, atmospheric stability, pollutant dispersion in the atmosphere
Identify which type of sensor is used to measure each type of weather element
Describe the accuracy of the meteorological sensors used to measure weather elements
Explain temperature gradient
Describe how atmospheric stability is determined by temperature gradient
Describe how wind and cloud cover influence atmospheric stability
Describe how atmospheric stability can affect local winds
Explain why clouds can form in a statically unstable atmosphere
Explain what causes fog to dissipate
Explain why pollutants are more likely to disperse in an unstable atmosphere than in a stable atmosphere
Demonstrate a basic understanding of how the physical environment near the ground affects comfort level
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VIRTUAL HIKE SERIES: How Does the Physical Environment Affect Comfort? - Meteorological Field Trip at Stone Mountain, GA
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