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16 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
What causes spatial and temporal variation in temperature and moisture?
-Same photon flux spread over larger land surface near poles than at equator
-Tilt of Earth’s axes sets up
seasonality of northern and southern hemispheres
Adiabatic cooling
Rising air experiences lower atmospheric pressure, expands in volume, losing temperature. (First Law of Thermodynamics*—work done to expand air parcels comes at expense of heat energy.) If it cools below dew point, air will lose its moisture (as clouds, or precipitation)
Dew point
The amount of moisture in the air
Dew point temperature
temperature to which the air would have to cool (at constant pressure and constant water vapor content) in order to reach saturation, at which the air is holding the maximum possible amount of water vapor possible at the existing temperature and pressure
Global moisture patterns
Each 30 degrees alternates weather type. At the tropics (0 degrees) and at temperate rain forests (60 degrees) the ascending moist air releases moisture, resulting in rain. At the 30-degree N and S, as well as the poles, the descending dry air absorbs moisture, resulting in deserts.
Coriolis effect
An object at equator is moving east at 24,000 miles per day. If it moves north, the earth beneath moves more slowly, so it veers right. If it moves from north towards equator, also goes right. Reverse is true in southern hemisphere.
Mediterranean climate
if land warmer than ocean, moisture not dropped (until adiabatic cooling over mountains) => summer drought

If land cooler than ocean, moisture dropped => winter
Stratum of rapid temperature change.

winter and summer stratification, oxygen on surface, but necessary nutrients sunk to bottom
- winter: ice floats
- summer: surface heated, creates hot layer that doesn't mix

spring and fall
overturn - the circulation in the water of lake mixes both oxygen and nutrients evenly
Eutrophic (river, lake estuary)
nutrient rich, likely to
produce noxious or harmful algal blooms (cyanobacteria, toxic

example of bottom-heavy pyramid
intermediate nutrient concentrations
low nutrient concentrations, very clear water
(“good” water quality for humans and fish)

example of top-heavy pyramid
dead organic matter
where rivers empty into oceans, fresh water (0 % salt) meets salt water (3 % salt): tidal prisms with heavier salty water underneath - important nurseries for
offshore fisheries
Tidal prism
wedge of fresh water overlies denser salt water
Evidence of global warming
•Glacier shrinkage on mountains around the globe
•Satellite, balloon measurements show lower atmosphere is warming at similar rate to surface •Permafrost melting in Arctic
•Acceleration of Greenland deglaciation due to moulins
•Warming of upper layers of the ocean
energy (carbon) sources on a river
upstream: terrestrial, detritus carbon (dead leaves)

middle: attached algae

bottom: fine particulate detritus and phytoplankton