UXL Encyclopedia of Weather and Natural Disasters by Inc. Anaxos

By Inc. Anaxos

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The rapid movement of air molecules means that they frequently collide with one another and any objects they encounter. These collisions 10 U X L Encyclopedia of Weather and Natural Disasters: Volume 1 Weather: An Introduction are responsible for air pressure. If air is heated, molecules move more quickly, collide more often, and cause an increase in pressure. If air is cooled, molecules move less rapidly, and air pressure decreases. Air pressure can be altered by adding air to, or removing it from, a closed container, such as a bicycle tire.

The larger volume contains a greater number of moving molecules and, hence, more total kinetic energy. To illustrate this concept, imagine a cup of coffee at 140˚F (60˚C) and a bathtub of water at 85˚F (29˚C). If you let them both cool, the coffee would reach room temperature much more quickly than the water. This is because the water in the bathtub possesses a larger quantity of kinetic energy, which it must lose in order to cool down. The coffee cup, which contains relatively little kinetic energy, cools quickly.

Supercooled water: water that remains in the liquid state below the freezing point. superior mirage: a cold-weather mirage that appears as a taller and closer, and sometimes inverted, image of a distant object. surface fire: a fire with a visible flame that consumes plant material and debris on the forest floor. thermal: a pocket of rising, warm air that is produced by uneven heating of the ground. thermograph: an instrument consisting of a thermometer and a needle that etches on a rotating drum, continually recording the temperature.

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