Section 14.1 Defining Climate Section 14.1 Defining Climate Annual Averages and Variations Climatology is the study of Earths climate and the factors that affect past, present, and future climatic changes. Climate describes the long-term weather
patterns of an area. Section 14.1 Defining Climate Annual Averages and Variations Normals The data used to describe an areas climate include daily high and low temperatures, amounts of rainfall, wind speed and direction, humidity, and air pressure. The data are averaged on a monthly or
annual basis for a period of at least 30 years to determine the normals, which are the standard values for a location. Section 14.1 Defining Climate Annual Averages and Variations Normals Normals apply only to the specific place where the meteorological data were collected. Changes in elevation and other factors, such as
proximity to large bodies of water, can cause climates to vary. Section 14.1 Defining Climate Causes of Climate Latitude Latitude has a great effect on climate. The amount of solar radiation received on Earth decreases from the equator to the poles.
Section 14.1 Defining Climate Causes of Climate Latitude The area between 23.5 S and 23.5 N of the equator is known as the tropics. Tropical areas receive the most solar radiation and are generally warm year-round. Section 14.1
Defining Climate Causes of Climate Latitude The temperate zones lie between 23.5 and 66.5 north and south of the equator. As their name implies, temperatures in these regions are moderate. Section 14.1 Defining Climate
Causes of Climate Latitude The polar zones are located from 66.5 north and south of the equator to the poles. Polar temperatures tend to be cold. Section 14.1 Defining Climate Causes of Climate Topographic effects
Water heats up and cools down more slowly than land. Thus, large bodies of water affect the climates of coastal areas. Temperatures in the lower atmosphere generally decrease with altitude. Thus, mountain climates are usually cooler than those at sea level. Section 14.1 Defining Climate Causes of Climate
Topographic effects Orographic lifting leads to rain on the windward side of a mountain. The leeward side is usually dry and warm. Section 14.1 Defining Climate Causes of Climate
Air masses Air masses affect regional climates by transporting the temperature and humidity of their source regions. Section 14.2 Climate Classification Climates are categorized according to the average temperatures and
precipitation amounts. Section 14.2 Climate Classification Kppen Classification System The Kppen classification system is a classification system for climates that is based on the average monthly values of temperature and precipitation. Developed by German climatologist Wladimir Kppen, the system also takes into account the distinct vegetation found in different climates.
Section 14.2 Climate Classification Kppen Classification System These graphs show temperature and precipitation for two different climatesa desert in Reno, Nevada, and a tropical rain forest in New Guinea. Section 14.2
Climate Classification Visualizing Worldwide Climates Kppens classification system is made up of five main divisions based on temperature and precipitation. Climate Types 1. Tropical a) Tropical Wet b) Tropical Wet & Dry 2. Mild
a) Marine West Coast b) Mediterranean c) Humid Subtropical 3. Dry a) Semiarid b) Arid 4. 5. 6. Continental
a) Warm Summer b) Cool Summer c) Subarctic Polar a) Tundra b) Icecap High Elevation a) Highlands b) Uplands Section 14.2 Climate Classification
Microclimates A localized climate that differs from the main regional climate is called a microclimate. Section 14.2 Climate Classification Microclimates Heat islands Many concrete buildings
and large expanses of asphalt can create a heat island, where the climate is warmer than in surrounding rural areas. Section 14.3 Climatic Changes Earths climate is constantly changing on many different timescales.
Section 14.3 Climatic Changes Long-Term Climatic Changes Ice ages During the periods of extensive glacial coverage called ice ages, average global temperatures decreased by an estimated 5C. Section 14.3
Climatic Changes Long-Term Climatic Changes Ice ages The most recent ice age, as shown here by the extent of its glaciers, ended only about 10,000 years ago. Section 14.3 Climatic Changes
Short-Term Climatic Changes While an ice age may last for several million years, other climatic changes occur over much shorter time periods. Seasons are short-term periods of climatic change caused by regular variations in daylight, temperature, and weather patterns. Section 14.3 Climatic Changes
Short-Term Climatic Changes Seasons The variations that occur with seasons are the result of changes in the amount of solar radiation an area receives. Section 14.3 Climatic Changes Short-Term Climatic Changes Seasons When the north pole is pointed away from the
Sun, the northern hemisphere experiences winter and the southern hemisphere experiences summer. During spring and fall, neither pole points toward the sun. Section 14.3 Climatic Changes Short-Term Climatic Changes El Nio Other short-term climatic changes include those caused by El Nio, a warm ocean
current that occasionally develops off the western coast of South America. Section 14.3 Climatic Changes Short-Term Climatic Changes El Nio Under normal conditions, trade winds and ocean currents move warm water west across the Pacific Ocean.
Section 14.3 Climatic Changes Short-Term Climatic Changes El Nio During El Nio, warm water surges back toward South America, changing weather patterns. Section 14.3 Climatic Changes
Natural Causes of Climatic Changes Solar activity The Maunder minimum is the term used to describe the period of low numbers of sunspots. This period closely corresponds to an unusually cold climatic episode called the Little Ice Age. Section 14.3 Climatic Changes
Natural Causes of Climatic Changes Solar activity Studies indicate that increased solar activity coincides with warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures, while periods of low solar activity, such as the Maunder minimum, coincide with colder sea surface temperatures. Section 14.3
Climatic Changes Natural Causes of Climatic Changes Earths orbit Climatic changes might also be triggered by changes in Earths axis and orbit. The shape of Earths elliptical orbit appears to change, becoming more elliptical, then more circular, over the course of a 100,000-year cycle. Section 14.3
Climatic Changes Natural Causes of Climatic Changes Earths orbit Scientists hypothesize that a more elliptical orbit around the Sun could produce significant changes in Earths climate. Section 14.3 Climatic Changes
Natural Causes of Climatic Changes Earths tilt At present, the angle of the tilt of Earths axis is 23.5. However, the angle of tilt varies from a minimum of 22.1 to a maximum of 24.5 every 41,000 years. Scientists theorize that these changes in angle affect the differences in seasons. Section 14.3 Climatic Changes
Natural Causes of Climatic Changes Earths tilt If the angle of the tilt of Earths axis decreased, there would be less temperature contrast between summer and winter. Section 14.3 Climatic Changes
Natural Causes of Climatic Changes Earths wobble Over a period of about 26,000 years, Earth wobbles as it spins around on its axis. Currently, the axis points toward the North Star, Polaris. Section 14.3 Climatic Changes Natural Causes of Climatic Changes
Earths wobble Earths wobble determines the timing of the seasons. When the axis points toward the star Vega in 13,000 years, the northern hemisphere will experience summer during the time now associated with winter. Section 14.3 Climatic Changes
Natural Causes of Climatic Changes Volcanic activity Climatic changes can also be triggered by the immense quantities of dust-sized particles, called aerosols, that are released into the atmosphere during major volcanic eruptions. Section 14.3 Climatic Changes Natural Causes of Climatic Changes
Volcanic activity Volcanic dust can remain suspended in the atmosphere for several years, blocking incoming solar radiation and thus lowering global temperatures. Section 14.4 Impact of Human Activities Influence on the Atmosphere The greenhouse effect The process of absorption and radiation of
energy in the atmosphere results in the greenhouse effectthe natural heating of Earths surface caused by certain atmospheric gases called greenhouse gases. Section 14.4 Impact of Human Activities Influence on the Atmosphere The greenhouse effect An increase in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases, particularly carbon
dioxide and methane, would theoretically result in increased absorption of energy in the atmosphere. This can lead to a rise in global temperatures, known as global warming. Section 14.4 Impact of Human Activities Global Warming Temperatures worldwide have shown an upward trend over the past 200 years, with several of the warmest years on
record having occurred within the last two decades. Section 14.4 Impact of Human Activities Global Warming Burning fossil fuels One of the main sources of atmospheric carbon dioxide from humans is from the burning of fossil fuels including coal, oil, and natural gas. Burning fossil fuels also releases
other greenhouse gases, such as methane and nitrous oxide, into the atmosphere. Section 14.4 Impact of Human Activities Global Warming Deforestation Deforestationthe mass removal of trees also plays a role in increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. When trees are cut down, photosynthesis is
reduced, and more carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere.
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