Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Rains Soak Much Of Kansas

Much of western and central Kansas saw a good rainfall on Monday, which was really welcome. It was all thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Dolly.

Some locations in eastern Colorado and western Kansas have been extremely dry.

Another area that saw liquid gold from Mother Nature was the Smoky Mountains of western N. Carolina and eastern Tennessee.

Click here and you will be able to see that both of these areas really needed the moisture, as shown by the US Drought Monitor.

What they didn't need was the damage that came along with the rain in parts of North Carolina. Observer NC-CK-1 left a note in today's comments that they had to assist the fire department in clearing downed trees from the thunderstorm.

Today's Lesson: Carbon Dioxide

Carbon Dioxide is a natural component in the atmosphere, and occupies a small but important percent of the air.

It comes from the decay of vegetation, volcanic eruptions, the exhalations of animal life, deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels.

It is removed from the atmosphere by photosynthesis of plants, and is stored in roots, branches and leaves.

The ocean is also a huge reservoir of carbon dioxide, as phytoplankton (tiny drifting plants) trap the gas. Carbon dioxide also can mix down into the water and circulate with the ocean currents.

The problem with carbon dioxide is that it is a greenhouse gas, just like water vapor, which we talked about in yesterday's blog lesson.

It traps a portion of the Earth's outgoing energy.

Consequently, with everything else being equal, if carbon dioxide increases, then so should the average global temperature.

Scientists have proven that since the industrial revolution, the levels of carbon dioxide on our planet have continued to rise.

There are a few other greenhouse gases that have been getting attention over the past few years....methane, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons.

Tomorrow we will learn a little more about the atmosphere before we take a look at the vertical structure -- which should help you start understanding a little more about the weather around you.

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