Weather Systems and Severe Weather


Figure 11.1 “Low-Pressure Area Over the United States” by NOAA is licensed as Public Domain.

Weather Systems and Severe Weather:

Energy is the ability to do work, weather and climate are all about energy, energy from the sun. In the previous chapter you learned about the many forms of energy we use in our daily lives, but where does most of this energy come from, at its source 97% of all of the energy on earth comes from the sun. Think about it, coal is organic matter that has been turned into a rock, where did that organic matter come from, plants, where did those plants get their energy, the sun! The Sun also powers the mechanical energy processes that cause weather.

The energy in our atmosphere creates temperature differences, these temperature differences cause air to move, air rising, sinking, and moving across the surface. This movement causes wind, storms, rain, and drought. In the following sections, we will explore how this movement of energy creates our dramatic weather.



Learning Objectives

  • MCCCD Course Competency 7: Assess and describe the impact of human behavior on selected environmental phenomena such as water resources, climate change, severe weather, and soils.
    • 11.1: Air Masses and Weather Fronts
      • Identify and describe airmasses
      • Identify different weather fronts
    •  11.2: Mid-Latitude Cyclones
      • Describe how air masses form weather fronts and mid-latitude cyclones (Polar Front Theory)
      • Describe the different kinds of weather produced by weather fronts
    • 11.3: Thunderstorms
      • Thunderstorm Three Stage Lifecycle
      • Identify The 3 basic thunderstorm types
      • Mesocyclones
    • 11.4: Weather Hazards
      • Describe Tornado formation
      • Why are tornadoes so frequent in tornado alley
      • Apply the Enhanced Fujita Scale
      • Identify characteristics and effects of Lightning, Hail, Flash Floods, Microbursts, and Ice Storms
    • 11.5: Hurricanes
      • Describe hurricane formation and development
      • Describe Saffir-Simpson Scale
      • Identify hurricane dangers


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Dynamic Planet: Exploring Geological Disasters and Environmental Change Copyright © 2021 by Charlene Estrada, Carolina Michele Londono, Merry Wilson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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