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110 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
a force measured as force per unit; decreases with altitude; isobars on graph; depends on temp
high pressure center; clockwise in north hemisphere
low pressure center; counterclockwise in south hemisphere
ITC- Intertropic Convergence Zone
Area between the trade winds at the equator; horizontal airflow; weak along the equator
measures barometric pressure plotted relative to sea level
air moving down the gradient; the greater the pressure difference, the faster the speed of air
Trade Winds
Tropical Easterlies-constant winds; flows toward the equator in both 25° N and S; lots of moisture
Hadley Cell
vertical convection cell; air that rises over equator; falls back down after glocal circulation
Polar Front
contact between warm air from the high pressure subtropical Hadley cells and the subpolar low zone of midlatitude storms
midlatitude winds; 30-60° N or S winds move west to east
Subtropical High
semi-permanent high pressure centers; clear, calm weather---> desert
Jet Streams
high altitude winds in upper troposphere; flows from west to east around the world
Rossby Waves
undulations of the polar front; cold air towards equator, warm air poleward
seasonal shift in wind, onshore in summer, offshore in winter; SE Asia
Coriolis Effect
air and water deflected to the right in the N Hemisphere and to the left in the S Hemisphere; greater at higher lats
Geostrophic Winds
winds above frictions drag of Earths surface, wind flows parallel to isobars between areas of high and low pressure
force opposed to motion of mass; greater at Earths surface
World Pressure Belts
seasonal variation; persistance of trade winds
Global Atmospheric Circulation
when low pressure air reaches poles, hits polar front and rises
oceanic water movements; vertical-due to differences in pressure, temp...l horizontal-generally due to frictional drag of wind over surface of oceans
elliptical loops, clockwise in N Hemisphere, counterclockwise in S Hemisphere; same local as anticyclones
El Nino
warming of the sea that disturbs weather patterns all over the world
Specific Humidity
mass of water vapor in a volume of air; warmer air holds more moisture
Relative Humidity
proportion between water vapor in the air and the amount it could hold if saturated; expressed as percentage; increase due to: saturation, condensation
maximum amount of water air can hold
Dew Point
temperature at which saturation occurs and condensation begins
latent heat of vaporization; water-->gas (heat loss)
water changes from gas to liquid, heat gained, air rise--> drop in temp; reason: pressure decreases, air expands
Condensation Nuclei
particles in the atmosphere (dust, salt, pollutants) necesary for condensation
Adiabatic Lifting
large masses of air must be cooled to the dew point by expansion in rising air; doesnt gain or lose heat
Adiabatic Process
no heat is gained or lost by the system
visible expression fo condensation; source of precipitation
Cirrus Clouds
thin wispy clouds; warm front; change in wind and height affect shape of cloud
grayish clouds; covers entire sky; no precipitation-sometimes drizzle
puffy, flat bottomed clouds; fair weather
cloud in contact with ground
Change of State of Water
Ice->Water-sublimination; heat absorbed
Vapor->Ice-sublimation; heat released)
Vapor->Water-condensation; heat released
water->vapor-evaportation (heat absorbed)
Hydrolic Cycle
solar energy and gravity move water through the Earths atmosphere and land
Water Resevoirs
Ocean-97% of water
Surface Water-.25%
Adiabatic Cooling
air rises; cools in temp but loses no heat;
Adiabatic Heating
air descends;; rises in temp but gains no heat
Dry Adiabatic Lapse Rate
drop in temperature as air rises (10°/1000m); no condensation-dry
Precipitation Process
Ice crystal formation; forms-rain, snow, hail, sleet; depends on temp. of air and turbulence
Atmospheric Lifting-Convective
uplift-->produces thermals that are cooled adiabatically as it rises; clouds form after passing condensation level
air is forced to rise over mountain barrier
Windward Side-precipitation
Leeward Side-in rain shadow
warmer air is forced to rise over cooler air; in mid/high latitudes warm and cold air masses come together at a front, but do not mix due to different densities
common in Intertropical Convergent Zone; air masses of same temp come together, producing instability and minor lifting
large bodies of air with a relatively uniform temp and moisture content
Source Area
air will generally stay over source area for a few days (airmass)
Cold Air Masses
continental polar
maritime polar
Warm Air MAsses
continental tropical
Maritime Tropical
Storm Surge
large quantity of sea water pushed inland by strong winds associated with a tropical cyclone; greatest loss of life
Occluded Front
cold front overtakes warm front; interaction of warm and cold front makes storm; gradually will due when warm front is pushed over the cold
intense cyclone rotation developed in response to extremely low pressure
Classification of airmass by source area
Thermal Properties due to latitude of origin
Moisture properties reflect origin over ocean and land
boundaries between two air masses
interconnected community of plants and animals within their chemical and physical environment
any element or compound needed by an organism for survival, growth, reproduction
carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorus
trace amounts of nutrients
Nitrogen Fixing
conversion of nitrogen intro nitric oxide; nitrogen oxides react with water to produce nitrate ions and ammonium ions
plants produce their own food from carbon dioxide and water powered by solar energy
study of interactions between organisms and their biological and abiatic environments
basic unit; group of interbreeding, reproductively isolated organisms
Solar Energy
unidirectional flow of energy from the sun, warms Earth, photosynthesis, powers chemical reactions, drives climate that distributes heat and water
Food Chain
one way flow of energy; at each trophic level heat is given off and energy reduced, more levels- more energy lost
autotrophs (self feeders), make own food, radiant energy converted to chemical energy by photosynthesis
heterotrophs; herbivores, carnivones, parasites
breaks complex molecules into inorganic compounds; complete recycling of matter
Net Primary Productivity
rate at which new organic material is formed through photosynthesis; highest in tropical rainforests, swamps and marshes, algal beds and coral reefs
Biogeochemical Cycles
recycling of nutrients through the environment by the sun
Carbon Cycle
carbon based building block; storage as organic matter in trees, plants; inorganic in fossil fuels, limestone
Nitrogen Cycle
atmospheric nitrogen unusable for most organisms; fixing makes it usable
Phosphurus Cycle
phosphate weathers off rock and is taken up by roots of plants; animal waste and decay; guano
Sulfur Cycle
sources: volcano, fossil fuels, excess in atomosphere makes acid rain
Acid Rain
very acidic rain; mostly in industrialized nations, acidity kills fish
Limiting Factors Affecting Distribution of Plants and Animals
1)competition and predation
2) human impacts: deforestation, fires, clearance, removal of animals
Florisitic Associations
classification of plant association usually based on struction and appearance of dominant plants
assemblage of trees with overlapping canopies; deciduous-leaves fall; evergreen is evergreen
trees spaced widely apart; shorter trees
dominated by shrubs or bushes
may have scattered trees, dominant vegetation is grasses and herbs; savannas, prairies, steppe
extensive area with no vegetation; more in NH; same heat as tropic but no humidity
low growing grass, herbs, mosses; cold deserts
swamps and marshes
Tropical Rainforest
Collective and conversion precipitation
Koppen System
climatic boundaries are approximated by vegetation types; climate defined by annual and monthly values of temps and precipitation
Tropical Rainforest
parts of mid-South America and Africa; 10-25° North or South
-little or no seasonal variation
-high rainfall-always warm and moist
Tropical Monsoon Climate
west coast of Southeast Asia
-temp range slight; warmest before summer monsoon; max precip in summer
Tropical Savanna Climate
North and South of tropical lats; wet and monsoon climates to 20-25°; SA and S.Africa
-temp range low, max temps prior to summer rain
-winters dry, summer wet
Low Latitude Subtropical Desert Climate
subtropical high pressure systems, large land masses, 20-30° N or S- Africa, Asia, NA, SA
-moderate temp range, low hot summers; Precipitation-low, scarce, unreliable
Midlatitude Desert Climate
interior of continents far from precipitation sources- Central Asia
-temp range extreme
-precip scarce and unreliable
Low Latitude Subtropical Steppe Climate
N and S of subtropic deserts
-temps similar to subtropical deserts
-precip. is more reliable
Midlatitude Steppe Climate
NA and Eurasia; 30-50° N; interior of large continent
-temp tange similar to midlat. deserts
-precip. higher
Mediterranean Climate
dry summer climate
-west side of continents; 35°N or S; Mediterranean Sea
-mind winters, hot summers
-precip. low and concentrated in winter
Mediterranean Woodlands Biome
midlatitude; dry summer, wet winter
Humid Subtropical Climate
east side of continents, 20-40° lat. NA, SA, Asia
-moderate seasonal temp range
-summer-hot, humid
-winter-mild w/occasional frost
-precip. moderate year round
Marine West Coast Climate
40-65° lat.-western Euroe, Pacific NW
-temps high for mid lats, maritime climate
-precip. high yr/round
Humid Continental Climate
NA, Europe, Asia 35-60° lat.
-westerlies dominate weather, bring midlatitude storms
-season temp range high
-adequate amt of precip., low evaporation
Midlatitude Deciduous Forest Biome
west coast areas in midlats; cold temp in winter
Subarctic Climate
NA and Eurasia 50-70° N lat; long cold winters, short cool summers
-great seasonal temp range
-precip. low, high in summer
Boreal Forest/Taiga Biome
NA and Eurasia at high lats
Tundra Climate
very high lat. on NA and Eurasia 60-75° N
-severe, long winters, cool short summers
-precip. low, evaportation low
Ice Cap Climate
-cold, high albedo
polar desert w/ little evaporation
Highland Climate Regions
cooler and moister then lats. suggest;
Due to: 1)environmental lapse rate
2) orographic precip.
Altitude compensates for latitude
Humid Tropical Climatic Regions (Group A)
Tropical Rainforest
Tropical Monsoon
Tropical Savanna
Tropical Scrub
Arid Climatic Regions (Group B)
Low Latitude Subtropical Desert
Mid latitude desert
Low Latitude Subtropical Steppe
Midlatitude Steppe
Humid Mesothermal Climatic Regions (Group C)
Mediterranean Climate
Mediterranean Woodland
Humid Subtropical
Marine West Coast Climate
Humid Microthermal Climatic Regions (Group D)
Humid Continental
Midlat. Deciduous Forest
Boreal Forest/Taiga
Polar Climatic Regions (Group E)
Ice Cap
Highland Climatic Regions