Lab Exercise: Atmospheric Heating
We will construct a model of the earth’s surface/atmosphere to explore how energy drives weather.
Read Chapter 11 of the textbook.
Part 1. Please answer the following questions in your own words:
- Explain the water cycle.
- What is dew point?
- Which source would evaporate faster, lake water or groundwater, and why?
- How do plants contribute to moisture in the air?
- Climatically, what can happen to a region when there is heavy loss of forestland?
- How is water vapor removed from the air?
- Three clear glass jars or drinking glasses
- Three small plates or bowls to be a ‘lid’ on top of the jar or drinking glass
- Chilled water, room temperature water, and hot tap water
- In one jar, put chilled water to fill about ¼ of the jar.
- In the second jar, put room temperature water to fill about ¼ of the jar.
- In the third jar, put hot tap water to fill about ¼ of the jar.
- Cover jars with the plate or bowl with ice.
- Monitor the inside of the jars every ten minutes until the water temp in all jars is similar; make note of any changes you see.
Answer the following questions:
- How long did it take for moisture to accumulate on the inside of any of the jars, and which one was first?
- Did you observe any ‘rain’ in any of the jars, and if so, which jar(s)? If not, suggest a reason why not.
- What parts of Planet Earth might each of these jars mimic?
- Explain how the evaporation and condensation processes are at work in this experiment.
Part 2. In this experiment you will observe how entrapped water moves from land to the atmosphere, and determine how weather conditions affect this movement.
- (4) one-gallon size zipper baggies
- 6 cups of dirt (sand, soil, potting soil, whatever is available)
- 3 cups of room temperature water
- 3 small twigs with leaves off a living plant
- Place about 2 cups of dirt into 3 separate baggies.
- Place 2 cups of water in one bag, and 1 cup of water in a second bag.
- Place the three leafy twigs in the third bag. Seal each bag.
- Place the last bag over a leafy part of a living plant; use tape to prevent moisture leaving the bag.
- Place the three bags with dirt in a warm area, either in the sun, a sunny window, heat lamp, or heater vent for 8 hours, monitoring every 2 hours.
- Record the type of soil used, and the ambient temperature for all bags.
- Observe and record any changes to each bag every 2 hours.
Answer the following questions:
- Report your observations of this experiment.
- Explain how this experiment relates to drought conditions.
- What would happen if you increased the ambient temperature? What would happen if you decreased the ambient temperature?
- Compare what you found between the twig bag and the taped bag around the living branch? Were these the results you were expecting? Why or why not?
- Explain how you could set up a terrarium to account for the following; evaporation, condensation, precipitation, runoff, infiltration, and percolation.
Your paper should meet the following requirements:
- 3-4 pages in length
- 1-2 outside sources
- Formatted according to the CSU-Global Guide to Writing and APA Requirements.
- Chapters 12-14 in Foundations of Earth Science
- Hohenegger, C., & Stevens, B. (2013). Preconditioning deep convection with cumulus congestus. Journal of theAtmospheric Sciences, 70(2), 448-464.
- National Climate Assessment. (2014). Extreme weather. Retrieved from http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/highlights/report-findings/extreme-weather
Last Updated on February 11, 2019 by EssayPro