Heat can be transported into the atmosphere in many ways. Three of those ways are radiation, conduction and convection. In radiation, heat from the ground moves up into the lower atmosphere heating the air. During conduction, heat moves from areas of higher heat to areas of lower heat during contact. When particles become heated, they move faster and “bump” into particles around them, thus transferring their energy. This cycle continues and adds to the heat transfer into the atmosphere. Convection occurs when higher temperature liquids or gasses rise into areas of lower temperature gases or liquids. The cooler gases and/or liquids then take the place where the warmer liquids or gasses were, and the cycle constantly repeats itself.
2. What causes air pressure? Is there air pressure on the moon?
Air pressure is caused by the weight of air particles, one on top of the other. It is hard to believe, but even tiny air particles have weight, and when they “stack” on top of one another, the weight gets more and more. In our atmosphere, the air molecules are held in place by earth’s gravitational pull. Because the moon has little to no gravitational pull, there is no air pressure on the moon.
3. What are the principal gaseous components of the earth's atmosphere? Where do scientists believe these gases came from?
The principal gaseous components of the earth’s atmosphere are nitrogen and oxygen. During the “early days” of the earth, molten rock flowing from volcanoes introduced a great deal of oxygen and carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere. Over the next few million years, outgassing introduced water vapor into the atmosphere. That water vapor cooled and turned to rain, which fell on the earth over those millions of years. With all of the oxygen being introduced, plant life formed and added to the substantial amount of oxygen in the lower atmosphere of the earth. Nitrogen, which is lighter than air, was pushed to the higher parts of the atmosphere.
4. Many people will blow on a bowl of hot soup to try to cool it. In your view, what are the two most important heat transport processes cooling the soup?
I have never thought of heat transport process when blowing on a bowl of hot soup, so I loved this question. In my view, the two most important heat transport processes cooling the soup evaporation and convection. Evaporation comes into play when the hottest of the soup molecules reach the surface of the soup. While they sit there, they hold down other hot molecules, not allowing them to escape the surface. When a puff of air, the hottest molecules are blown away, making room for the ones trapped underneath to move to the surface and beyond, thus cooling the soup. In convection, the hot soup molecules transfer their heat to the air molecules directly above the soup. Again, the same as evaporation, if the heat transferred to the surrounding air never gets blown away from the top of the bowl, it will sit there until the heat is eventually transferred to other molecules which takes time. When the hotter air particles…