Earth Science

Atmospheric Processes

Temperature and Heat in the Atmosphere

Study Tip
Remember that heat and temperature are two different things. Although they are similar, be careful not to use them interchangeably.

Temperature

  • The temperature is a measure of how rapidly the atoms inside of a material are vibrating.
  • The higher the temperature, the faster the particles vibrate.
  • As the temperature cools, the particles vibrate more slowly and collide less frequently.
Study Tip
Remember that heat and temperature are two different things. Although they are similar, be careful not to use them interchangeably.

Heat

  • Heat is the energy associated with the movement of particles.
  • The higher the temperature, the faster particles in a material collide, and the more heat is generated.
  • Heat can be transferred between physical entities through contact or by radiation.
  • Latent heat is heat released or absorbed when matter changes states.
  • However, the temperature of the object does not change because all of the released/absorbed energy goes into changing the object’s state, not the temperature.
  • Specific heat is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of a material by 1.0ºC.
  • The higher the specific heat of an object, the more energy it requires to heat the object and raise its temperature.
Heat process
The heat that is gained or released when an object freezes, melts, condenses, or evaporates is latent heat.
Concept Check
  • What is the difference between temperature and heat? Are they interchangeable?
  • When would you have to consider the specific heat of an object?