Atmospheric Physics

(redirected from Atmospheric dynamics)
Also found in: Wikipedia.

atmospheric physics

[¦at·mə¦sfir·ik ′fiz·iks]
The study of the physical phenomena of the atmosphere.

Physics, Atmospheric


the branch of meteorology that studies the physical regularities of processes and phenomena that occur in the atmosphere, including the processes and phenomena that determine the structure of the atmosphere. For example, atmospheric physics deals with the properties of the gases that constitute the atmosphere, the absorption and emission of radiation by the gases, the distribution of temperature and pressure, the evaporation and condensation of water vapor, the formation of clouds and precipitation, and the various forms of motion in the atmosphere.

Solar energy conversion and the thermal radiation of the atmosphere and underlying surface are studied by actinometry (in the broad sense of the term) and atmospheric optics. The latter also deals with various optical phenomena in the atmosphere, such as twilight, the colorful phenomena observed in the sky before sunrise and after sunset, halos, the color and polarization of the sky, and the visibility of objects. The study of atmospheric electricity is concerned with electrical phenomena in the atmosphere—that is, with lightning and other electrical discharges—and with the electrical properties of the atmosphere, such as conductivity, ionization, electric currents, space charges, and the charges of clouds and precipitation. Sound propagation and generation in the real atmosphere and the investigation of sound generation by acoustic methods are the subject of atmospheric acoustics. Atmospheric physics also encompasses cloud physics and the physics of the microprocesses that result in the formation of solid and liquid aerosols; these fields include the modification of atmospheric processes.

Atmospheric physics also studies the interaction of the atmosphere and the underlying surface—that is, the ocean or dry land—that occurs in the atmospheric boundary layer and results in the exchange of momentum, heat, and moisture. Turbulence in the atmosphere and hydrosphere plays a governing role in the interaction.

Processes in the upper atmosphere and the structure and dynamics of the upper atmosphere are investigated by the physics of the upper atmosphere or by aeronomy, a broader division of atmospheric physics that also studies the various chemical processes that occur in the upper atmosphere.

One of the fundamental problems of all the divisions of atmospheric physics is the development of a physical basis for the numerical modeling of various atmospheric processes. In this respect, the most important problem is parameterization, that is, the description of various small-scale processes by means of quantities that characterize average atmospheric conditions on larger scales that form the background against which the processes being studied develop. Such a description is necessary for computer simulations of atmospheric phenomena. For example, cumulus clouds, whose sizes are of the order of several kilometers, play an important role in atmospheric moisture and heat exchange, radiative transfer, and other processes. In numerical models, the effects of such clouds on radiation, heat exchange, and other atmospheric processes are parameterized, that is, expressed by means of temperature, wind, humidity, and other variables, which are given at specified points that form the three-dimensional grid of the numerical models; the distance between any two points is usually a few hundred kilometers.

Atmospheric physics also deals with the study of the atmospheres of the other planets, which contributes to a deeper understanding of the phenomena that occur in the earth’s atmosphere.


Matveev, L. T. Osnovy obshchei meteorologii: Fizika atmosfery. Leningrad, 1965.
Khrgian, A. Kh. Fizika atmosfery [3rd ed.]. Leningrad, 1969.
Goody, R. M., and J. Walker. Atmosfery. Moscow, 1975. (Translated from English.)


References in periodicals archive ?
In order to improve the ability of the network to monitor atmospheric dynamics, ARISE2 proposes to extend i) the existing network coverage in Africa and the high latitudes, ii) the altitude range in the stratosphere and mesosphere, iii) the observation duration using routine observation modes, and to use complementary existing infrastructures and innovative instrumentations.
The machine is being used for research projects modeling turbulence in engines, atmospheric dynamics, and renewable energy grids.
The findings have ramifications for the understanding of atmospheric dynamics and the formation of giant planets like Jupiter.
Javier Peralta, researcher at the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (I-CSIC), said that Venus was a mind bender for specialists in atmospheric dynamics and its winds reaches velocities higher than four hundred kilometers per hour, sixty times faster than the rotation of the planet.
The study found that changes in the sun's activity can have a considerable impact on the ocean atmospheric dynamics in the North Atlantic, with potential effects on regional climate.
It emanates from the sun, from rocks, from different atmospheric dynamics.
While useful for studies of atmospheric dynamics, they are useless as prediction devices; they cannot even predict the current atmospheric thermal properties.
They describe the Discovery missions to Titan, observations of Titan from the earth, spacecraft that orbited Saturn and landed on Titan, Titan's atmosphere and climate (much like the earth but much colder), the moon's chemistry and composition, its clouds and hazes, it's atmospheric dynamics and meteorology, Chris and interior, its origin and evolution in the solar system, and plans for future exploration.
That's because of the harmful effects of air temperature, atmospheric dynamics and the abundance of trace gases, including significant amounts of the fertiliser product nitrous oxide.
In the future, ozone levels were likely to be dominated by air temperature, atmospheric dynamics, and the abundance of destructive trace gases, she said.
The Earth Explorer Atmospheric Dynamics Mission (ADM-Aeolus) will provide global observations of wind profiles from space to improve the quality of weather forecasts, and to advance our understanding of atmospheric dynamics and climate processes.
Coursework in meteorology includes analysis and prediction of weather systems, atmospheric dynamics and thermodynamics, physical meteorology, remote sensing of the atmosphere, and instrumentation.

Full browser ?