Climate Notes

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Climate Notes
Low Latitudes
1. Between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
2. Portions of the low latitudes receive direct sunlight year-round
High Latitudes
1. The high latitudes are the polar areas.
2. They receive continuous but indirect sunlight for six months the climate is always cold.
Mid-Latitudes
1. The zones between the Tropics and the polar areas.
2. Temperate climate ranging from fairly hot to fairly cold,
Elevation and Climate
1. The higher the altitude of a place, the colder its climate will be.
2. At high altitudes, the air is thinner and retains less heat.
Wind Patterns
1. Prevailing winds, global winds that blow in fairly constant patterns, are affected by the
direction of the earth's rotation and latitude.
2. The trade winds of the tropics blow diagonally toward the Equator.
3. The westerlies of the middle latitudes blow diagonally from west to east.
4, The polar easterlies of the high latitudes blow diagonally from east to west.
5. Ocean currents move warm and cold water just as winds move warm and cold air.
El Nino
1. A reversal of mid-Pacific ocean currents and water temperatures
2. Can cause trade winds to diminish or even change direction
3. Causes worldwide climate changes
4. It has become more frequent and may be linked to global warming
Landforms
1. Mountains and water can affect the climate
2. Large bodies of water are slower to heat and cool than land, so bodies of water tend to
moderate coastal land temperatures
3. When wind meets a mountain range, it is forced upward. This rising air cools and
brings precipitation to the windward side (the side facing the wind) of the range. After the
rain falls on the windward side, the air is warmer and drier as it descends on the leeward
side (the side facing away from the wind) of the mountain range. Areas on the leeward
sides of mountains receive little precipitation and are often very dry because of this rain
shadow effect
The Earth
1. The axis runs from pole to pole and the Earth is tilted at 23.5*
2. This angle effects sunlight and temperature
3. While Earth is rotating on its axis (24 hours) it makes one revolution around the sun –
365 days
4. Because of the tilt and rotation we have different seasons – seasons are reversed north
and south of the Equator
5. Around March 21 & September 21, the sun is directly over the Equator – equinox
The Tropics
1. When the sun’s rays strike 23.5* N it hits the Tropic of Cancer – June 21 - solstice
2. Gradually, the sun’s rays strike 23.5* S or the Tropic of Capricorn – December 22
3. At the North Pole, the sun never sets from March 20 – Sept. 23
4. At the South Pole, the sun never sets from Sept. 23 – March 20
Greenhouse Effect
1. Only some of the sun’s radiation gets through the atmosphere
2. The atmosphere traps some heat before it goes back to space (page 70)
3. Water vapor and carbon dioxide absorb some heat & radiate it back to create a balance
4. The rise in CO2 have created global warming – burning oil, coal, gas
5. The more fossil fuels burned, the more greenhouse gases trapped in the atmosphere,
the more heat
6. Some scientists believe it’s a natural cycle of the Earth
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