The study of kinematics provides a physical and quantitative description of our atmospheric motion, while the study of dynamics provides the physical and quantitative cause-and-effect for this motion. This lesson discusses kinematics.
When we look at weather in motion from a satellite, we see very complicated swirls and stretching that evolve over time. We can see the same types of motions on a much smaller scale by observing swirling leaves. These complex motions can be ascribed to combinations of just five different types of atmospheric motion. Quantifying these motions with mathematics, without assigning a cause to the motion, is the focus of this lesson on kinematics.
By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:
- identify regions of convergence, divergence, positive vorticity, and negative vorticity on a weather map
- calculate the strength of the different flow types from observations
- relate vertical motion to horizontal convergence and divergence
If you have any questions, please post them to the Course Questions discussion forum. I will check that discussion forum daily to respond. While you are there, feel free to post your own responses if you, too, are able to help out a classmate.