Thursday, July 25, 2013

It's gettin hot in hurrrr so take off...

 M E R I D I O N A L    H E A T   T R A N S P O R T 

This happens all the time. All day every day, to be exact. It is the movement of heat in the North - South direction. (Meridional is in contrast to zonal, which refers to the East-West direction).

The result of googling "meridians". #isthisscience?
In one sense, heat is a measure of the average kinetic energy (movement energy) that particles of an object have at one time. Air is a great insulator because it holds heat well, compared to objects like a branding iron which hold heat poorly and thus transfer heat to things like skin very readily. Water, is also a good insulator because it has a high specific heat capacity: it requires a relatively large amount of energy to change the temperature of 1L of water by 1˚C (4.187 kJ/kg-K for liquid water, 2.108 kJ/kg-K for ice, and 1.996 kJ/-kgK for steam). That means that while liquid water (think oceans worth of the stuff) is pretty difficult to heat up and evaporate, once it's steam, it changes temperatures much more easily. So already hot water is easy to make hotter.
hot water ;)
When water evaporates from the surface of the ocean or the surface of a lake or a muddy puddle or a leaf or this club....

it's energized with latent heat. Then, subject to atmospheric circulation, the water vapor moves at the whim of systems of low and high pressure. These systems and the winds they produce result from how the earth rotates on its axis *like a ballerina*, as well as differences in heating and cooling of the earth's surface during different seasons and latitudes. More on this later..

1 comment:

  1. I love how you're documenting your learning in this blog - always entertaining!