The scientific, educational, and public policy communities were invited to provide their suggestions for revisions to the framework first draft during the month of February, 2008. The project team will revise the document in March and will release Draft 2 of the framework for comment in April 2008. We anticipate another round of feedback and revision in May/June, leading to a final document to be submitted to NSF in July 2008.
With thanks for your contributions and participation,
Dr. Roberta Johnson, ASL Framework PI, Director of Education and Outreach, UCAR
Prof. John Snow, ASL Framework Co-PI, Dean, College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences, The University of Oklahoma
EP1.1 - The atmosphere is a mixture of gases with minute quantities of liquid and solid particles.
EP1.2 – The atmosphere has mass, is bound to Earth by gravity, and exerts pressure.
EP1.3 – The thin atmosphere varies vertically in layers which differ in composition, density and temperature. The lowest 10 km of the atmosphere contains most weather.
EP1.4 – The atmosphere has changed with time in response to the evolution of life on Earth and sustains and protects living things.
EP2.1 - The atmosphere receives energy from the sun, some of which is absorbed, some scattered back to space, and some absorbed by the surface.
EP2.2 – Energy from the Sun is transformed into other forms of energy in the Earth system.
EP2.3 – Energy imbalances create movement in the atmosphere and the ocean.
EP2.4 – Variations in solar energy received at a point on the Earth’s surface result from the Earth’s rotation and the tilt of the Earth’s axis, leading to important cycles such as day and night and the seasons. Light from the Sun varies only very slightly over time due to solar activity.
EP2.5 – Solar energy drives chemical reactions that effect the atmosphere, including photosynthesis, formation of smog, and the formation and destruction of ozone.
EP2.6 – Trace gases in the atmosphere absorb radiation and produce the Greenhouse Effect. The natural Greenhouse Effect is necessary for life to exist on Earth.
EP3.1 – Energy is exchanged within the atmosphere, through processes operating at the interfaces of the system, and through Earth system cycles. This exchange helps to drive atmospheric circulation.
EP3.2 - Patterns of circulation in the atmosphere can be observed at many different spatial scales from the global to local. Temperature differences, the spin of the Earth, and the configuration of the continents and oceans establish this circulation.
EP3.3 – The atmosphere transports water that impacts the formation and development of precipitation and weather systems. This water is an important component of the global water cycle.
EP3.4 – Atmospheric circulations distribute matter and energy and establish weather and climate patterns that effect the health of individuals and the environment.
EP4.1 - Weather changes over time periods of seconds to weeks; and climate changes from months to millennia. These changes can be gradual or abrupt.
EP4.2 – Weather is the state of the atmosphere at a particular place and time. The climate of a particular place is the long term average of weather conditions in the area. Earth’s global climate is determined by the energy received by the planet from the Sun and is modulated by the atmospheric composition.
EP4.3 – Both weather and climate vary by region based on latitude, altitude, and proximity to physical features such as oceans and mountains.
EP5.1 – The atmosphere interacts with and transfers energy and matter to and from other components of the Earth system (such as the water cycle).
EP5.2 – Interactions and feedbacks within the Earth system can produce changes in components of the system (such as global warming) and unexpected phenomena unique to the system (such as abrupt climate change).
EP5.3 – The atmosphere plays an important role in biogeochemical cycles in the Earth system. The atmosphere is a reservoir of carbon in the Earth system, storing carbon released from natural processes and fossil fuel burning and transferring carbon to the biosphere through photosynthesis.
EP5.4 – Past interactions of the Earth system can produce future changes in components of the Earth system resulting from the long time scales of Earth system processes (such as glacial rebound).
EP6.1 – Our understanding of the atmosphere comes from analysis and interpretation of accurate and purposeful observations throughout the atmosphere and the ocean and models of this coupled system. Observations may be taken either directly or at a distance.
EP6.2 – Data about the atmosphere is gathered by direct measurement of temperature, precipitation, wind, and pressure as well as by remote sensing using radar and satellite imagery.
EP6.3 – Observations and data are synthesized, analyzed and interpreted in order to understand and enable prediction of the behavior of the atmosphere.
EP6.4 – Accuracy and precision of models and instruments limits the accuracy of predictions but improves with technological and theoretical advances.
EP6.5 – Theoretical understanding and observations are used to construct, refine, and improve models which are used to simulate atmospheric behavior.
EP7.1 – Human beings are dependent on and vulnerable to Earth’s atmospheric processes.
EP7.2 – Living organisms including humans depend on the atmosphere and cause changes to the atmosphere.
EP7.3 – Cultures have adapted differently to weather and climate, with different levels of vulnerability to change.
EP7.4 – Human activities, such as changes in land use and burning fossil fuels, alter the atmosphere, affecting human and ecosystem health and climate.
EP7.5 – Individual and societal activities are affected by weather forecasts and climate expectations.
EP7.6 – Citizens have a responsibility to be educated about the atmosphere so that they can make informed decisions on local and global scales.