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28 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
What controls the regional climate:
- proximity to water
-- latitude
-- altitude
-- proximity to currents
-- proximity to mountains
-- proximity to high and low pressure zones
• Vegetation is an indicator of both precipitation and temperature making it a good indicator of climate too
What controls the seasons:
The Earth’s axis tilt
Why temperature variations are larger over land than over water:
Heat capacity – how much heat can be absorbed without temperature change
•Heat capacity of oceans is very high
-Oceans can absorb a lot of heat energy with relatively little temperature change
-- heat distributed over a much greater depth in ocean (heat energy by convection)
• Ocean = heat energy transferred by convection
• Land = heat energy transferred by conduction
The difference between heat and temperature:
Heat Energy- total kinetic energy of a substance
Temperature - measure of average kinetic energy
• Heat doubles temperature stays the same
The major constituents of the atmosphere:
• 99.96 % of atmosphere is composed of N, O, and Ar
A few major greenhouse gases:
Water Vapor (H2O)
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
Methane (CH4)
Ozone (O3)
The greenhouse effect:
•Sun heats up Earth
•Gases being reflected off the Earth
•Absorbed by greenhouse gases
•Gases heat up
•Emit long wave radiation
How temperature changes with height:
Temperature goes down, then up, then down, then up
How pressure changes with height:
Air is concentrated at low altitudes → higher pressure (gradually decreases)
What it means to adiabatically cool or heat a parcel of air:
1. Pressure decreases

2. Air parcel expands

3. Air temperature decreases (adiabatic cooling)

4. Clouds form (if air is wet)

1. Pressure increases
2. Air parcels compress
3 Temperature increases (adiabatic heating)
How and where clouds form:
-(1) Convection causes warm air to rise
(2) Convergence lifting- two air masses collide and air is forced upward
(3) Orographic lifting- mountains force air upwards (moist air rises, dry air descends)
(4) Frontal lifting occurring when a cold and warm front meet
Cold Front
Warm Front
Cold front- cold air mass flows under warm air mass

Warm front- warm air mass flows over cold air mass
Areas of high and low precipitation on Earth:
Precipitation and pressure adversely related
The definition of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and how it affects regional climate:
Intertropical Convergence Zone- convergence of north-east trades and south-east trades, zone of precipitation
Climate Controls
• Latitude
• Proximity to high & low pressure zones
- Low pressure = wet climate
- High pressure = dry climate
• Altitude
- Low altitudes = cooler temperature
- High altitudes = higher temperature
• Proximity to water
• Proximity to ocean currents
• Proximity to orographic barrier
a mixture of gases
a layer consisting of a mixture of gases that surrounds our planet
the average weather conditions during the year
– incoming solar energy, portions of the Earth’s surface hit by direct rays of the Sun receive more energy per square meter than portions hit by oblique rays
where the temperature decreases in the Earth, does not absorb much solar energy and thus cools with increasing distance from the hotter stratosphere below
a major reversal in wind direction that causes a shift from a very dry season to a very rainy season
a gas that absorbs harmful ultraviolet (short-wavelength) radiation from the Sun
– the layer between the tropopause and the stratosphere and does not convect and thus remains stable and stratified, temperature stays the same
– outermost layer of the atmosphere and contains very little of the atmosphere’s gas, temperature increases with elevation because gases absorb short-wavelength solar energy (the Sun broils this layer from above), because it has so little gas it contains very little heat
– starts at the surface of the Earth, temperature decreases progressively, air constantly goes through convection, heat that initiates movement comes from infrared radiation rising from the Earth’s surface
Adiabatic cooling / heating
Adiabatic cooling – when air moves from a region of higher pressure to a region of lower pressure, without adding or subtracting heat, it expands and when this happens, the air temperature decreases
Adiabatic warming – if air moves from a region of lower pressure to a region of higher pressure, it contracts, and the air temperature increases
Greenhouse effect
the trapping of heat in the Earth’s atmosphere by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which absorb infrared radiation; somewhat analogous to the effect of glass in a greenhouse
Greenhouse gas
atmospheric gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, that regulates the Earth’s atmospheric temperature by absorbing infrared radiation