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Courtesy of the Space Science and Engineering Science Center, University of Wisconsin - Madison.

Atmospheric Science Literacy - Essential Principle 3

Atmospheric circulation transports matter and energy.

Fundamental Concept 3.1
Horizontal and vertical energy imbalances in the Earth System produced by unequal heating of Earth's surface create movement in the atmosphere and the ocean.

Fundamental Concept 3.2
Energy is exchanged within the atmosphere, as well as gained and lost across its interface with land and ocean through physical, geological, and biological processes organized in Earth System cycles (e.g. the water cycle). These exchanges help drive atmospheric circulations.

Fundamental Concept 3.3
Patterns of circulation in Earth's atmosphere can be observed at many different spatial scales from global to local. Temperature differences, the rotation of Earth on its axis, and the configuration of the continents and oceans establish the large-scale atmospheric circulation.

Fundamental Concept 3.4
Atmospheric transport of water affects the formation and development of clouds, precipitation, and weather systems, which are all important components of the global water cycle.

Fundamental Concept 3.5
Atmospheric circulations distribute matter and energy globally and establish weather and climate patterns.

Last modified July 29, 2009 by Becca Hatheway.

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The Winter 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist, focuses on Earth System science, including articles on student inquiry, differentiated instruction, geomorphic concepts, the rock cycle, and much more!

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