GEOG201 Final Exam Review
GEOG201 Final Exam Review GEOG201
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This 13 page Study Guide was uploaded by Trang Le on Monday May 9, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to GEOG201 at University of Maryland taught by Keith Yearwood in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 127 views.
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Date Created: 05/09/16
GEOG201 FINAL EXAM REVIEW Here I will stay closely to the study guide that Dr. Yearwood put up in class as well as answer the questions posted on the Word doc titled “Preparation for Exam 3” A. Answer questions on ELMS: 1, The transparency (basically how much is in the air) influences the ability of solar radiation to penetrate the atmosphere and heat land, air and water. In other words, a dirty/hazy atmosphere allows less radiation to reach the surface of the Earth than a clear one. Transparency is controlled mainly by particulate matter (aerosols), minute particles of liquid and solid matter. 2, As mentioned, aerosols play a huge part in affecting transparency thus the amount of solar radiation that can reach Earth. There’re six possible sources for aerosols: Wind erosion of soil Industrial and automobile exhaust Meteor disintegration Asteroid impacts Phytoplankton in the oceans Volcanic eruptions There’re also two other categories for particulate matter that affects transparency: Air pollution from human activities (urban pollution, forest/grassland fires) also discharges large amounts of particulate into the lower atmosphere. Clouds are also made up of particles and can have a strong influence over atmospheric transparency because they’re an efficient reflector of solar radiation. 3, There’s been ample evidence that temperature often drops during periods of high percentage of aerosols discharged into the atmosphere. What happens is aerosols reflect back the shortwave radiation and prevents it from reaching the ground, thus we have cooler lower atmosphere and land. Example: Mount Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines spread airborne ash globally and was followed by a year with a lower average temperature. Also, major volcanic eruptions in 19 th century were followed by long harsh winters in the northern hemisphere. The idea works the same for appearance of clouds: increases albedo. 4, Aerosols can prevent solar radiation from warming the lower atmosphere, thus may cause long harsh winters or just cooler temperature in general. This can shorten growing seasons for crops, decrease yield etc => negatively affect agriculture. 5, Two major gases that regulate greenhouse effect are water vapor and carbon dioxide. Also, there can be several other gases that play a part, including methane, ozone and nitrous oxide. 6, According to NASA, about 55 million years ago an event known as the PaleoceneEocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) occurred. This was an episode of rapid and intense warming (up to 7°C at high latitudes) which lasted less than 100,000 years. In other words, this event caused a significant rise in atmospheric temperature. The textbook has a shorter way to put it: basically 55 million years ago there was a great shift in global temperature/climate due to the great methane burp from the oceans. 7, Carbon dioxide has increased by 30% because of air pollution since the Industrial revolution. Most of this comes from developed nations, from industries, urbanization and automobiles; but it spread globally. B. Exam review in different categories (lectures): I. CLOUDS: They’re very small, very light liquid water in the form of water droplets that can stay airborne without being pulled down by gravity. In order to form clouds, besides tiny water droplets, there have to be hygroscopic or condensation nuclei. There can be thousands of these particles in a small volume of air. “Hygro”: moisture, “scopic”: to seek. Hygroscopic nuclei can come in the form of dust, smoke and salt particles. A cloud: a dense condensation of water droplets or tiny ice crystals (if formed in below freezing temp). In other words: it is a visible aggregate of minute droplets of water or tiny crystals of ice. Clouds are classified base on their form and height Types of clouds: Cirrus (a curl of hair): it’s high, white and thin. Can occur as a delicate veillike sheets or patches or feathery appearance. Cumulus (a pile, cotton wool or cauliflower): globular individual cloud masses. Stratus (layer): sheetlike clouds that have no distinct individual units. HIGH clouds (above 20,000 ft): Cirrus, Cirrostratus and Cirrocumulus. Generally occur as thin white sheets (spread out/large or individual units or featherlike). Their occurrence is due to low temperatures at high latitude plus little water vapor. Therefore, they’re made of tiny ice crystals and are not rainbearing clouds. MIDDLE clouds (6,500 to 20,000 ft): Altostratus, Altocumulus (most common). Altostratus: gray and/or blueish. Thin sheets that almost or partially cover the sky, usually thin enough for radiation penetration. Altocumulus: White or gray patch or layered clouds. LOW clouds: Nimbostratus (rainbearing), stratus and stratocumulus. Nimbostratus: rain alert (might or might not contain ice crystals – depending on temperature)! They are thick, dark clouds that are formed when the surface of Earth is heated and water vapor rises; as they rise they hit the mid atmosphere with cooler temperature, along with some hygroscopic nuclei, which causes condensation. Stratus clouds: uniform layers or foglike clouds that do produce light precipitation. Stratocumulus: Gray or whitish patch, sheet, or layered clouds. Clouds with VERTICAL development: cumulus and cumulonimbus. The base of these clouds is in low altitude range and extends upward to mid or high altitude range. They are associated with unstable air! Cumulus: often associate with fair weather. They’re flat based and sometimes grey underside. Under proper conditions, cumulus clouds can grow dramatically to great heights and create cumulonimbus clouds. These giants are often associated with thunderstorms! WATER: addition and removal of heat causes it to change state (liquid ↔ gas). CONDENSATION: when water vapor turns into liquid. Water molecules release energy that’s equivalent to what’s absorbed during evaporation. When this happens in the atmosphere, clouds and fog are formed. This also releases heat to surrounding air, thus gives rise to storm clouds. FOUR PROCESSES that lift air and lead to PRECIPITATION: Orographic lifting: Frontal wedging: Cold air masses move across a landscape. When the front of them reaches warm, moist air, it forces the warm air to rise. This cools the warm air and condenses the water vapor => precipitation. Convergence lifting: Convective lifting: air above a parking lot (or asphalt surfaces) is warmed much faster than that above/surrounding wood areas. This parcel of air is lighter and it rises. These lifting parcels of air are called thermals. II, Natural vegetation: 1. Tropical equatorial forest: Generally have two layers: tall canopies and ground level plants such as shrub and saplings. There are also two other special types of plants: epiphytes and air plants. Tall trees are also called emergent. They’re often widely spaced, reaching 100 to 120 ft tall and have canopies with umbrellaish shape and straight chunk (body) with only branches at the top. This is one adaptation that these trees have because of the harsh competition for sunlight. Less than 3% of sunlight that reaches the canopies actually goes through and reaches the ground under. The ground has sparse plant growth, primarily the shadeloving small plants like shrub and saplings. Another adaptation arises because of the characteristic of the soil in these forests. The soil here is nutrient poor and most of what the trees need lies in the top thin organic layer. Therefore, the tall trees here have buttress roots, shallow and spreading horizontally, to absorb the nutrient accordingly. The root shape also anchors the trees and prevents falling. Epiphytes are plants that climb upon the tall tree trunks for support and for absorbing sunlight. Some examples are vines such as lianas. Air plants are plants aptly that have roots established in the canopies and never reach ground level. All of these amazing organisms are supported by the abundant solar radiation and precipitation. 2. Tropical savanna grassland: There’s not enough rain to support many trees like those above. Precipitation is concentrated among these months: June to September. The rest of the months have very little to no rain at all. Plants here have adapted surviving strategies: Grass everywhere! Tall grass dominates. The grasses grow tall and green during wet season. What about the trees? Of course they have things that correspond with the wet/dry rhythm of the climate here. Acacia plants have spinelike leaves which makes them harder to eat (prevent herbivores/omnivores) and reduce transpiration or loss of water. Plant root systems are long and extensive to reach ground water in deep reservoirs. Some plants like baobap trees store water in their trunks during wet seasons. 3. Tundra (treeless land): Vegetation: lichen, mosses, sedges, perennial forbs, dwarfed shrubs There’s high variation in temperature change, but overall it’s really cold here. The growing seasons therefore are short and there’s not enough precipitation to support full grown trees. So, vegetation here has developed adaptation to this harsh climate. Well… they’re small plants that can undergo dry/cold climate, it’s pretty simple. For the rest of the limited, larger plants, the adaptation goes similar to what their brothers in another region (pretty close to their region) down here. 4. Taiga/boreal or coniferous forests: Again, great variation in temperature. It gets above freezing during June to August, and pretty much stay below freezing throughout the rest. Precipitation is also concentrated in these short warmer months. The trees here have conical shape that promotes shedding of snow and prevent loss of branches. They also have needlelike leaves that minimize transpiration and the thick waxy coating – a waterproof cuticle – protects the stomata from drying winds. So basically lots of stuff to prevent water loss. The leaves have antifreeze to prevent shedding throughout winter. Their dark color helps them to absorb maximum amount of sunlight and begin photosynthesis as soon as possible. The early and immediate photosynthesis is also supported with the evergreen characteristic. 5. Mediterranean vegetation: It’s characterized by shrubs. In most regions the shrubs are evergreen and have small, leathery leaves with thick cuticles (A layer of wax and cutin that covers the outermost surfaces of a plant). They may be shrunken to needlelike shape. Many typical members of the shrub flora are aromatic (for example, sage, rosemary, thyme, and oregano) and contain highly flammable oils. 6. Temperate broad leaf trees: They do receive better precipitation and longer growing season, but they also bear cold winters. Tactics for surviving freezing winters by these guys: they pull out all nutrients from their leaves and back into their trunks. At the same time, they produce a sugary antifreeze that will protect their bodies. The leaves then die and get discarded with yellow/orange/red colors (disappearance of chlorophylls). 7. Desert plants: Props for these guys for surviving extreme heat and dry climate! They’re called xerophytic because they’re drought resistant. Needle leaves? Nah! They have spines instead, eliminating water loss like a boss! They have water storage organs (cacti) and a root system that is shallow and spreading out. This allows them to both absorb max amount of rainfall. Last but not least, they germinate only after heavy rain and complete their reproductive cycle quickly. Meet another member of the family: Phreatophytes. The only difference is that these guys have long deep root system instead, reaching deep down for underground water. Mesquite: The Creosote Bush has special adaptations including leaves that have a smell and taste that wildlife find unpleasant. In addition, the leaves are tiny and the stomata (pores) are closed during the day to avoid water loss and open at night and they absorb moisture. Learning from their brothers above, these dudes have both long and radial roots (double root system). III. Sea level rise: It is happening! Also, it’s both a natural process and accelerated/altered by human activities. Remember, sea levels have changed several times over the history of the earth by a pretty uniform pattern. However, over the last 200 years or so, the pattern has changed. In recent times, the average global sea level is rising and evidence can be found in measurements of tide gauges. Of course people live in coastal areas will be the most vulnerable to sea level rise. An example th here is Miami. It’s the 7 largest city in U.S so any change in sea level with subsequently impact the lives of millions: spending a lot of money for preventing flooding, relocation, businesses getting hurt etc The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts a range of rise for sea level (from about 31cm to 110cm). Also, they project that (anthropogenic) climate change causes sea level rise. Now let’s dig a little deeper into why and how this is happening. Since Industrial revolution, burning of fossil fuels release more carbon dioxide into atmosphere, resulting in overall increase in global temperature. This in turn melts more snow fields, ice sheets and glaciers and add to ocean water volume (Dilution of ocean’s salt water will cause sea to expand). Also, note the steric effect: temperature increase => warmer oceans. Warmer water also cause ice/glaciers to melt more and expand oceans further. Example of rapid ice melting: ice field in Alaska or Greenland. So what exactly is melting? In short, ice shelves that support glaciers and land ice respond very quickly to warming temperature and get disintegrated. This contributes to destabilizing ice sheets and glaciers, increases glacier flow speed. It is this resulting glacier acceleration that significantly adds volume to oceans, causing sea level rise. An ice sheet is a mass of glacial land ice that extend over a huge area. The two ice sheets on Earth today cover most of Greenland and Antarctica. An ice shelf is a thick slab of ice, attached to a coastline and extending out over the ocean as a seaward extension of the grounded ice sheet. It’s like a floating white/thick board that support land ice/prevent it from sliding down to oceans; forming a stable system that balance outflow, back pressure and/or gravity. The shelves provide buoyant or hydrostatic force that partially support ice mass. At their seaward edge, ice shelves periodically calve icebergs. Because they are exposed to both warming air above and warming ocean below, ice shelves and ice tongues respond more quickly than ice sheets or glaciers in rising temperature. This in turn destabilizes the above system, accelerates the tumbling down and melting of glaciers and ice sheets. Those are generally fresh water ice melting. What about SEA ice? Sea water is of course darker than ice and therefore it will have a lower albedo, which means it will absorb more solar radiation, gets warmer and it’s much more difficult to cool/change temperature. From this trend more longwave radiation will be emitted from ocean water, causing the atmosphere to be warmer and further accelerate the melting of sea ice. Artic sea ice is in danger *sad face* Now move on to the impacts that sea level rise create and the solutions. Many large communities are located near the coast. However, not all will be affected by sea level rise. Those communities that live in areas that are near or even below current sea level will be much worse off than those that are high above (cliffs). Some coastal areas will eventually sink or disappear. Here are the implications to why this will happen: As water rises, high tides will become higher and waves that reach the coast will be with greater energy. So waves have a greater chance to erode, destroy land and cause flooding. This process is worsened by the following human activities (that will cause sinking): oil and water extraction, sand mining, urbanization that leaves little to no room for deposition of matter by ocean. Some typical suffering for us humans: No more vacations to beaches, beach houses or laying on sand tanning *ugly crying*. Cities that depend upon beaches for tourism like City of Miami Beach will lose their economic base. Some other businesses can also be negatively affected like mortgage companies. Coastal regions with an agricultural economy will suffer from flooding. Ground water reservoirs will be mixed with salt water because of its intrusion *flip table* The loss/damage of infrastructure, relocation of people, adaptation actions and scarcity of resources (water) can lead to billions of dollars in cost. There have been long term and short term solutions to SLR: Short term: build hard structures like sea walls (not very applicable in many areas), build and drain canals, bridges, flood gates or elevate living area in general. Some can be very expensive and some can cause additional environmental problems like destroying ecosystems. Long term: using soft structures like beach nourishment (rainbow pumping or ship to shore pipeline that transport sand from ocean floor to land and enlarge coastal areas; encourage beach dune development; have setbacks for development. Most importantly, do not build anywhere near beaches and let room for oceans to migrate and transport materials on their own. In Dr. Yearwood’s words, let nature has her way!
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