MadSci Network: Earth Sciences

Re: I made the statement to Bill Tangent at Gravity Theory Group at U of Mass.

Area: Earth Sciences
Posted By: Mack Taylor, consultant, mineral exploration, consulting geologist
Date: Sun Mar 16 17:49:54 1997
Message ID: 855705854.Es

   What is the force that drives weather phenomena, gravity or the
temperature differential?

     *          *          *          *          *          *          *

   As well as I can tell, your argument is that "gravity" is a force, and
that a temperature differential is not per-se a force and therefore cannot
"drive" anything.

   The great majority of the energy involved in weather dynamics is
received as electro-magnetic radiation from the Sun.  A small amount of
energy comes from the particulate plasma of the solar wind and there are
tiny increments from sources such as cosmic rays and geothermal radiation.
All of these sources provide electo-magnetic energy, which is the physical
expression of the electo-magnetic force - one of the four basic forces of
physics.  As you correctly identified, gravitational force is also
involved in atmospheric phenomena.  The other two forces - the strong
force and the weak force - do not participate much in the weather. 

   You remember from basic physics courses that energy is force times
distance.  Either the electro-magnetic force or the force of gravity acting
over a distance are energy.  The atmospheric dynamics referred to as
weather are the product of the interaction of energy with the gases which
make up the atmosphere.  Nearly all of this energy exists - at one point or
other - as a temperature differential.  Little of it is derived from force
differentials along the gravity gradient.

   Thermal energy, or temperature differentials, dominate over gravity in
"driving" the weather.

Current Queue | Current Queue for Earth Sciences | Earth Sciences archives

Return to the MadSci Network

MadSci Home | Information | Search | Random Knowledge Generator | MadSci Archives | Mad Library | MAD Labs | MAD FAQs | Ask a ? | Join Us! | Help Support MadSci

MadSci Network
© 1997, Washington University Medical School