Question 1 An Air Parcel Is Considered Unstable When It Y (Continued)

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You are watching: An air parcel is considered unstable when it

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In order forclouds to form, air parcels must rise high enough for their temperatures tocool down to the dew point temperature, when saturation (100% relativehumidity) occurs. Rising air takes place when it is warmer than thesurrounding environment, or when forced to rise by mountains or a front. Untilit reaches saturation air cools by expansion as it rises at the DALR(Dry Adiabatic Lapse Rate). Unsaturated air also warms at the DALR if itsinks. Once reaching saturation, air cools at a slower SALR (SaturatedAdiabatic Lapse Rate) while rising, since condensation releases latent heat. An atmosphere is considered stable when parcels that are rising orsinking tend to return to their original position, while it is unstableif parcels tend to continue moving away from its original position. If the EnvironmentalLapse Rate (ELR) is cooling faster than the DALR, the atmosphere willalways be unstable. If the atmosphere’s ELR cools slower than the SALR, thenthe atmosphere will always be stable. If an unsaturated parcel is forced torise (cooler than the environment) to becoming saturated (cooling to the dewpoint), then its cooling rate may be less than the surrounding environment andit will be more buoyant. This is called a conditional stability, sinceits stable while unsaturated, but unstable once it reaches saturation. In thiscase the ELR is between the DALR and the SALR.

Look at Part1 and run the animation several times. It shows two parcels of air, onewarmer than the surrounding (rising), the other cooler than the surrounding(sinking). The answer the following questions:

If an air parcel iscolder than its surroundings, it will:sink and warmsink and coolrise and warmrise and coolIf an air parcel is warmer than its surroundings, it will:sink and warmsink and coolrise and warmrise and coolIf an air parcel is at the same temperature as its surroundings, it will:risesinkremain at the same elevation

Look at Part2 and run the animations for rising parcels of dry and saturated air at theDALR and SALR. Then answer the following questions:

For anunsaturated air parcel rising from the surface at 20oC, at whatheight will it cool to 14oC? 600 m 1200 m 1400 m 2000 m none ofthese What isthe rate of cooling of an unsaturated air parcel in oF/1000 ft? about 1oF/1000ft. about 3.5oF/1000ft. about 5.5oF/1000ft. about 7.5oF/1000ft. For anunsaturated air parcel rising from the surface at 20oC, at whatheight will it reach freezing? 1000 m 2000 m 3000 m 4000 m 5000 m For asaturated air parcel rising from the surface at 20oC, at what heightwill it cool to 14oC? 600 m 1200 m 1400 m 2000 m none ofthese If bothan unsaturated and saturated parcel were lifted from the surface at 20oCup to 2000 m, how much difference in temperatures would there be between thetwo? thesaturated parcel would be 10oC warmer thesaturated parcel would be 20oC warmer thesaturated parcel would be 10oC cooler thesaturated parcel would be 20oC cooler

Look at Part3 and run the animations for low (stable) and high ELR (unstable) using theslider on the left to lift each parcel. Then answer the following questions:

For thelow ELR, an unsaturated parcel rising from the surface will be_____ compared toits surroundings (ELR). alwayswarmer alwayscooler alwaysthe same none ofthese For thelow ELR, a saturated parcel rising from the surface will be_____ compared toits surroundings. alwayswarmer alwayscooler alwaysthe same none ofthese For thehigh ELR, an unsaturated parcel rising from the surface will be_____ comparedto its surroundings. alwayswarmer alwayscooler alwaysthe same none ofthese For thehigh ELR, a saturated parcel rising from the surface will be_____ compared toits surroundings. alwayswarmer alwayscooler alwaysthe same none ofthese Fromthese findings, the low ELR would be considered a(n) ___ environment, while thehigh ELR would be considered a(n) ___ environment. stable,stable unstable,unstable stable,unstable unstable,stable If theELR was between the SALR and the DALR, then the atmosphere would beconsidered____ stableunstableconditionally stable/unstableunconditionally stable/unstable For anunsaturated air parcel becoming a saturated air parcel, which ELR would allowthe parcel to continue rising? lowELR highELR both lowand high ELR neitherlow or high ELR

Please click here for the answers to this exercise.

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