Exam 1 Study Guide
Exam 1 Study Guide GEO 122
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This 10 page Study Guide was uploaded by Mikayla Notetaker on Friday September 30, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to GEO 122 at Miami University taught by Kimberly Medley in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 178 views. For similar materials see Geographic Environments in Geography at Miami University.
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Date Created: 09/30/16
Geographic Environments Study Guide 1. Define physical geography, and describe how it can contribute to geography and the study of humanenvironment relationships. Geography refers to the examination, description, and explanation of Earthits variability from place to place, how places and features change over time, and the processes responsible for these variations and changes. Physical geography encompasses the processes and features that make up Earth, including human activities where they interfere with the environment. Physical geographers are concerned with nearly all aspects of Earth and are trained to view a natural environment in its entirety, but most focus on one or two specialties. They study climate, weather, nature, plants, animals, environments, soil, water bodies. They contribute to humanenvironment relationships by helping us understand weather conditions, regional climates and climate change, the processes that produce Earth’s surface landscapes, the processes that influence environment’s characteristics, how to determine the suitability of soil for certain uses, and they ensure that water sources are adequate in quantity and quality to meet human and environmental needs. 2. Identify the THREE spheres of the earth that form the organizational framework for the course. Atmosphere: a gaseous layer that surrounds the earth Biosphere: all living organisms, focus on study of terrestrial vegetation and soils Lithosphere: solid earth, includes the earth’s crust and upper portion of earth’s mantle landforms 3. Is the Earth a closed or open system? How can it be closed for materials when it must remain open for energy? Provide a model of an ecosystem labeling the essential components (producers, consumers, decomposers), the source of energy, and the movement of energy (radiant, chemical, and heat) and matter (e.g., minerals). How does one calculate a budget on the flow of matter (e.g., carbon) and energy for the global system what needs to be understood? The earth is both a closed and open system, like most ecological systems. It’s closed to matter because there is no matter entering or leaving (law of conservation of matter). However, it is open to energy because solar energy comes in and leaves the earth system. Energy comes in a concentrated form and leaves in a dispersed form, so even though it is not lost, it is essentially lost. Components of Ecological Systems: 1. Consumers (primary, secondary, tertiarypredators versus herbivores) 2. Producercapable of absorbing energy and using it to convert carbon dioxide to carbon compounds 3. Decomposers (consume dead organic matter) 4. Energy source (must have, usually sun) 5. Minerals Budget on the flow of matter and energy: earth’s energy budget: a determination and inventory of th eincoming energy, its storage, and outgoing energy processes 4. Summarize the role of carbon in the global system. Structure Where does carbon occur and in what forms? Are there contrasts in where it is available and where it is most abundant? Carbon is the basis of all life. It’s a major greenhouse gas. An increase in carbon in the atmosphere correlates with a change in temperature, which contributes to climate change. Carbon occurs in a small amount in the atmosphere and a small amount in living organisms (mainly producers). It occurs more often in dead organic material, but the most is out of circulation completely in sediments in the lithosphere. The atmosphere has by far the least amount because of plants. Function What processes determine how it moves from the atmosphere to the land and ocean and back to the atmosphere? Photosynthesis process by which solar energy is captured through the conversion of carbon dioxide to carbohydrates and solar (radiant) energy to chemical energy. Respirationbreak down of carbohydrates to release energy and carbon dioxide. Other processes in naturedecomposition, respiration. Atmospheric carbon dioxide increases and increases at the rate its increasing. How does carbon become available for human consumption and how is it released back into the atmosphere? Animals get carbon by consuming plants and eating other animals that obtain carbon from food. Carbon moves from one living thing to another and circulates in the environment through the carbon cycle. It is released back into the atmosphere when animals use the oxygen released by the plants to oxidize the carbohydrates, releasing the stored energy and carbon as a byproduct. How have humans influenced the cycle and what are the documented and predicted changes? Since the Industrial Revolution began, humans have been adding more and more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. Human influences on increase in carbon release fossil fuel burning, land cover change, deforestation and burning. What are the differences between a carbon source (examples?) and sink (examples?) A carbon source is any activity that releases CO2. All the ways that humans have increased CO2 in the atmosphere are examples of a carbon source. A carbon sink is an area of carbon storage, or where it absorbs more CO2 than it is releasing. The tropical rain forests or the Amazon river valley that absorbs almost half of the CO2 emitted in the atmosphere is an example of a sink. Why does an increase in carbon dioxide result in an increase in temperature? CO2 emits about half of its absorbed thermal energy back to the Earth’s surface. This causes a similar result to a greenhouse even though the processes involving a greenhouse and the atmosphere are significantly different because our atmosphere is free to circulate air to higher altitudes. Carbon dioxide also absorbs the longwave thermal energy radiated from Earth’s surface, restricting its escape to space, so rising amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increase the greenhouse effect and help produce a global rise in temperatures. Atmospheric CO2 is transparent to incoming shortwave radiation, but it impedes outgoing longwave radiation. Thus, as the atmospheric content of greenhouse gases rises, so will the amount of heat trapped in the lower atmosphere. Explain seasonal (over a year) fluctuations (highs and lows) in the abundance of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In the late 1950s, Charles David Keeling figured out how to make precise measurements of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. Within two years of starting his measurements, he had discovered a clear seasonal pattern in the background CO2 level. Keeling found that the CO2 level rose from about October to May, and it fell a little less about every May to October. CO2 levels in the atmosphere naturally rise and fall over the course of a year, with plants taking up more of the greenhouse gas as they grow during the spring and summer and releasing it as leaves die in the fall and winter. The range is increasing significantly as more CO2 is emitted from the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities. Dynamics How do feedback loops influence system dynamics (or a certain process in a system)? Feedbacks are interactions that cause change or adjustment between parts of a system. A negative feedback is where one change tends to offset another, creates a natural counteracting effect that is generally beneficial because it tends to help the system maintain equilibrium. A positive feedback is a change that reinforces the direction of an initial change. A feedback loop is a circular set of feedback operations that can be repeated as a cycle. Thresholds are conditions that if met can cause a fundamental change in a system and the way it behaves, like earthquakes or the use of fetilizers. Provide an example of a negative and positive feedback that may occur in response to the current increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Negative: As carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rise: Temperature of Earth rises and as the Earth warms the rate of photosynthesis in plants increases and more carbon dioxide is therefore removed from the atmosphere by plants, reducing the greenhouse effect and reducing globalradtemperatures. Positive: Increase atmospheric CO2 and increased global temperature may lead to positive carbon feedback adding to the warming. As the land is warmed, it becomes a source of additional carbon emissions as carbon dioxide (CO2) or as methane (CH4) emissions. Land changes and ocean changes may lead to positive carbon feedbacks. 5. What are the relationships between temperature, wavelength, and the amount of energy reflected by an object? How do the spectral reflectances (its spectral signature) of the sun differ from the earth and why? As the atmosphere and Earth continue to gain energy, temperatures gradually increase, and later in the day when outgoing Earth radiation begins to exceed insolation, temperatures start to fall. All objects emit electromagnetic radiation, and the amount of radiation emitted at each wavelength depends on the temperature of the object. Hot objects emit more of their light at short wavelengths, and cold objects emit more of their light at long wavelengths. The temperature of an object is related to the wavelength at which the object gives out the most light. The greater the energy, the larger the frequency and the shorter (smaller) the wavelength. Given the relationship between wavelength and frequency — the higher the frequency, the shorter the wavelength — it follows that short wavelengths are more energetic than long wavelengths. 6. Using percentages, provide a description of the global solar radiation budget. How much is reflected (albedo)? Where does most of the energy go? How efficient are plants at capturing radiant energy? What is the net radiation balance (inputs outputs = ????) for the Earth and why? Nuclear fusion of 2 hydrogens to form helium and release. The sun holds 99.9% of all the mass in the solar system in an internal energy supply. Solar radiant energy is transported as waves. 34% is reflected, 66% irradiation heat, 46% absorbed heat, 19% absorbed evaporation and condensation, 1% waves and tides, and <0.001% photosynthesis. The ability of a surface to reflect solar energy is called its albedo. The higher the albedo the lower amount of energy absorbed and vice versa. Plants are not very efficient at capturing radiant energy. The external input to the system is the incoming shortwave solar radiation that reaches Earth’s surface, which is balanced by the output of longwave terrestrial radiation back to the atmosphere and lost to space. As these functions adjust to remain in balance we can say that there is an overall energy balance in the energy budget of earth, but it is in a state of dynamic equilibrium. This means that earth has gotten neither continually warmer not continually colder year after year through the entire history of the planet. Inputs (solar constant) – outputs (albedo/reflection and irradiation/heat) = energy budget 7. What are the two primary factors that determine insolation, or the amount of energy received at a location (latitude)? Define "subsolar point" and explain why it is important to know its position when determining insolation at a locality. What are the relationships between latitude and seasonal differences in insolation? On a latitude by latitude (e.g., 0°, 15°, 38°, 55°) basis does the annual input of energy equal the annual output of energy (inputs outputs = ????)? How does sun angle, day length, and insolation (in relative terms) vary for Oxford @ 39° N through the year (solstice and equinox conditions)? Insolation is the amount of energy received at a location at the edge of the atmosphere. The amount of insolation at any given location varies both throughout the year and throughout the day. The first factor that determines it is the sun angle. The second factor is the length of exposure. The amount of daylight controls the duration of solar radiation, and the angle of the sun’s rays directly affects the intensity of the solar radiation received. A subsolar point is the latitude where the sun rays are perpendicular. Solar energy that strikes Earth at a nearly vertical angle renders more intense energy but covers less area than an equal amount striking Earth at an oblique angle. As the subsolar point shifts the amount of solar energy received at a location latitude will change. Seasonal temperature variations must be due primarily to differences in the amount and intensity of solar radiation received at various places on Earth. The longer the period of daylight the greater the amount of solar radiation received at that location. The time of year and the latitude of a location each affect the length of daylight hours. The sun’s vertical rays also shift position relative to the poles and the equator as the Earth revolves around the sun. Temperature changes parallel lines of latitude. Along a line of latitude temperatures vary between land and water. Solstice: in Northern Hemisphere larger portion remains in sunlight, so the length of exposure increases the insolation for Oxford. Equinox: daylight and nighttime darkness are equal everywhere, so Oxford would experience 12 hours of daylight. 8. How do temperature patterns vary in relation with latitude, and ocean (marine) effects? Latitude is most important control of temperature variations involved in weather and climate. In general, annual insolation tends to decrease from the lower latitudes to the higher latitudes. We can see that responding to insolation, a poleward decrease in temperate exists for these locations, with exception to the area near the equator. Oceans store tremendous amounts of heat. Land heats and cools much faster than water does because of specific heat, water transparency, and the circulation of liquid water, which transfers heat among the various depths within its mass. Air gets much of its heat from the surface below, so the differential heating of land and water produces temperature differences in the atmosphere above these two surfaces and ocean surface temperature greatly affects the air temperature above it. Ocean currents that pass close to land and are accompanied by onshore winds can also have a significant impact on coastal climates. The Gulf Stream is an example of an ocean current that moves warm water poleward which keeps the coasts of Great Britain, Iceland, and Norway ice free in wintertime and moderates the climates of nearby land areas. 9. What is air pressure? Why does air pressure go down with altitude? Air pressure is the weight of the atmosphere pressing down on the earth. It is measured by a barometer in units called millibars. Most barometers use mercury in a glass column, like a thermometer, to measure the change in air pressure. It decreases with increasing altitudes above it because the higher we go the more widely spaced and diffused the air molecules become. The increased space between gas molecules results in lower air density and lower air pressure. 10. What are the relationships between temperature and surface pressure? How does this relationship help to explain the meridional (EquatortoPole) redistribution of energy? Both air movement and air density are related to temperature differences that result from an unequal distribution of insolation, differential heating of land and water, and the varying albedos on Earth’s surface. Pressure and density of gas varies inversely with its temperature. Thermally induced rising of warm air contributes ot the low pressures that typically dominate the equatorial regions. If air becomes cold, it increases in density and decreases in volume, which causes the air to sink, increasing the atmospheric pressure. For these reasons, polar regions regularly experience high pressure. 11. Why are there horizontal pressure gradients? What triggers horizontal motion (wind) and what are the principle controls on speed and direction? How does the coriolus force influence surface winds in the Northern and Southern hemispheres? If there is a WesttoEast pressure gradient, what is the name given to the surface wind flow and what is its directional flow? Horizontal air pressure differences are the trigger for surface air flow. Air moves horizontally from high to low pressure, which creates wind. A horizontal pressure gradient results from the projection of the pressure gradient onto a local horizontal plane. Cold columns of air yield lower pressures at a given elevation and produce a horizontal pressure gradient. Horizontal pressure gradients are small relative to vertical ones. There are two main causes of horizontal variations in air pressure: thermal and dynamic. When the pressure gradient is steep, with a large pressure change over a short period of time, the winds are fast and strong. Because of earth’s rotation, anything moving horizontally appears to be deflected to the right of its direction of travel in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere. If there is a westtoeast pressure gradient, the winds will flow from the west to the east from an area of high to low pressure. They are called the westerlies. 12. Outline the global circulation model showing the approximate latitudes of high and low pressure, the directional flow of the major global winds, and the names given to those winds. Provide the three different explanations for why air rises and subsides on its way between the poles and the equator? Which direction would the equatorial low shift at the NH summer solstice in June? 1. Thermal: hot air rises at the equator creating the Equatorial low and cold air sinks at the poles creating Polar Highs 2. Dynamic subsidence in the subtropics – north moving upper air from the equator cods (becomes more dense) loses momentum (from Coriolis deflection) and sinks creating the subtropical highs 3. Dynamic uplift: surface air from the polar highs meets surface air from the subtropical highs at the polar front and the warm air is pushed up dynamically forming the subpolar lows 13. Diagram how the flow around a low pressure center (cyclone) and high pressure center (anticyclone) differ in the northern hemisphere? How does anticyclonic flow differ in the Northern hemisphere versus the Southern hemisphere? Strong pressure gradients of a lowpressure cell cause winds to flow into center of low pressure area in a counterclockwise spiral in the Northern Hemisphere and the opposite in the Southern Hemisphere. A high pressure cell causes winds to flow out from the center of a highpressure area in a clockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere and the opposite in the Southern Hemisphere. 14. Compare how the circulation around a subtropical gyre influences temperature conditions along the west coasts and east coasts of continents in Northern and Southern continents. Where do these gyres typically occur? Most of the major ocean currents move in broad circulatory patterns called gyres, which flow around the subtropical highs. Because of the Coriolis effect and the direction of flow around a cell of high pressure, oceanic gyres follow a clockwise direction in the NH and a counterclockwise in SH In the NH warm currents are deflected strongly to the right; westerly winds drive these warm waters eastward across the ocean, forming the North Atlantic Drift and the North Pacific Drift; eventually these currents encounter landmasses at the eastern margin of the ocean and are deflected toward the equator; they have now become cool winds and complete the circulation pattern when they rejoin the westwardmoving equatorial current. The North Atlantic Drift keeps those areas warmer than their latitudes would suggest (British Isles and Scandinavia) In the SH the West Wind Drift circles Antarctica as a cool current across the Souther Ocean; it is cooled by the influence of its high latitudinal location and cold air from the Antarctic ice sheet; comparable to NH except that the gyres flow counterclockwise 15. What are the seasonal (winter/low sun and summer/high sun) or diurnal (day and night) processes that induce monsoons, sea breezes, and valley breezes, respectively? Monsoons: refers to the directional reversal of winds from one season to the next. Occurs when humid winds from the ocean flow toward the land in the summer, but in winter there is a shift to dry, cooler winds blowing seaward off the land. Summer large center of low pressure attracts warm moist air from oceans and convective uplift make this air rise and cool to bring heavy precipitation. In winter strong high pressure cell from which there is a strong outflow of air and the winds blow southward creating a dry season. Land breezesea breeze is a diurnal cycle of local winds that occurs in response to the differential heating of land and water. During the day the land and air warm to a higher temp than the adjacent body of water and the air over the land expands and rises creating a localized low pressure on the land and the rising air is replaced by cooler air from over the water; thus a cool moist sea breeze blows in. At night the land and air above it cool more quickly and to a lower temp than the water body and the air above it; consequently the pressure builds higher over the land and air flows out toward the lower pressure over the water, creating a land breeze. Valley breezes: in the mountainous areas under the calming influence of a high pressure system daily mountain breezevalley breeze cycles can occur. During the day, the sun heats the high mountain slopes faster than the valleys which are shaded by mountains. Warm air at higher elevations expands and rises, drawing air from the valley up the mountain slopesvalley breeze. The mountains lose more terrestrial radiation to space because of thin air at higher elevations at night and so they get much colder than the valleys. This cold, dense air from the mountains flows downslope into the valleys as a cool nighttime mountain breeze. 16. How are the factors influencing the direction of upper air (geostrophic, jet stream) winds different from surface winds? If there is an WesttoEast pressure gradient, what would be the directional flow of the upper air? Where does the polar jet stream typically occur? Less complex; a generally eastwardly flow is maintained poleward of bout 15 degrees; because of the reduced frictional drag, the upperair westerlies blow much faster than their surface counterparts Jet streams: very strong air currents embedded within the upper air westerlies; high altitude examples of geostrophic winds flowing parallel between isobars in response to a balance between the Coriolis effect and pressure gradient Polar jet stream: flows in tropopause above the polar front, the area of the subpolar low 17. Outline the three mechanisms by which heat is transferred. What are the unique properties of water that make it so important to the energy transfer process? What are the relationships between temperature and the moisture holding capacity of air? With a rise in temperature what happens to relative humidity, dewpoint, and the probability of condensation? Conduction: transfer of heat energy by molecular contactvery short distance; only important right at the earth’s surface—TOO LOCAL Radiation: transport of energy in wave formcomes diffused with distance from thesource— TOO DIFUSED Convection: transferring heat by the movement of a mass—YES Unique properties of water: 1. Specific heat: amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of any substance to 1 degree Celsius. You need more energy to change the temperature of water so water can hold more energy at a given temperature. 2. Water is only compound that occurs in all 3 phases on earthice, water, gas. Latent heat exchange: the energy transfer that occurs as water changes from one state to another 3. Phase changes in water result in either the absorption or release of energy a. Liquid to vaporevaporationabsorbing + b. Vapor to liquidcondensationreleasing c. Liquid to solidfreezingreleasing d. Solid to liquidmeltingabsorbing + e. Solid to gassublimationabsorbing + 4. Convection of water in air as a transport mechanism a. Incoming solar radiation is absorbed through evaporation and uplifted b. Some is released through condensation c. Much energy is transported as vaporconvection d. Energy absorbed at one location can be transported as vapor and released at another location through condensation Temperature and the moisture holding capacity of air: 1. Specific humidity: mass of water vapor that exists in a given mass. An increase in temperature causes it to increase. 2. Relative humidity: ratio between the amount of water in the air and the maximum amount of water that the air can hold at that temperature. It depends on the temperature of air and how much water is in the air. An increase in temperature causes the RH to go down. 3. Dew point: temperature at which condensation takes place as the best measure of energy in the air. A higher dew point means more energy. It can only be changed by increasing the moisture in the air. 18. What factors determine the environmental (normal) lapse rate, the adiabatic lapse rate, and the lifted condensation level (LCL) in the atmosphere? Why is the wet adiabatic lapse rate always less that the dry adiabatic lapse rate? How do temperature changes in a rising air parcel differ under stable and unstable air conditions? Vertical temperature changes in the lower atmosphere determine the normal lapse rate. ELR: temperature decline with elevation (conduction and radiation average conditions in surrounding air. ALR: temperature changes that result from expansion in a rising air parcel (with a decrease in air pressure) or compression in a subsiding air parcel with an increase in air pressure (changes that occur with convection). Due to changes in pressure. LCL: that altitude where an air parcel cools to its dew pointcloud level. The level of the cloud base is the altitude where rising air reaches its dew point temperature and condensation begins. Therefore, the height at which clouds develop from air rising is called the lifting condensation level and can be estimated by the following equation: o LCL (in meters) = 125 meters x (Celsius temperature – Celsius dew 6point) DAR: temperature change with expansion in a dry air parcel. T>DP WAR: rate at which air cools modified by the release of energy with condensation Stable: air parcel cools with expansion at a greater rate than the surrounding air and resists upward movement Unstable: rate of cooling in the surrounding air is greater than the rate of cooling in the rising air parcel condensing (WAR) or not (DAR). As air descends, the temperature continually warms by compression, increasing its capacity to hold water vapor and decreasing condensation. Thus, the temperature of descending air that is being compressed always increases at the dry adiabatic rate. WAR is the lower postcondensation rate. 19. What are the humidity and temperature conditions that characterize dew, frost, black frost, radiation fog, steam fog, advection fog, and precipitation? Describe the different atmospheric conditions that contribute to the formation of cumulus and stratiform clouds. When ground temp drops to its dewpoint=dew When the ground temp drops to its dewpoint which is below freezing = frost When ground temp drops below freezing but not to its dewpoint = black frost = freeze When air temp equals its dewpoint = fog Radiation fog: drop the air temp to its dew point – fog Steam fog: add moisture to the air so it reaches dew point Advection fog: warm moist air flows horizontally over a cool surface Precipitation: any liquid or solid particles that fall from the sky Cumulus clouds: develop vertically rather than forming the more horizontal structures of the cirrus and stratus types, provide visible evidence of an unstable atmosphere, their level base is at the elevation where condensation has begun in a rising column of air Stratus: appear at lower altitudes from the surface up to almost 6,000 meters, form in stable atmospheric doncitions, which inhibit vertical development 20. Summarize the mechanism(s) by which the surplus of energy received at the tropical latitudes is transported to the northern latitudes. 1. Latitudes of surplus and latitudes of deficit aroundish 38 is a balance point 2. Move energy – a mechanism of global circulation – temp differences cause pressure differences, influencing wind flow 3. Energy transfer – convection provides a suitable transfer mechanism – at the equatorial low surface pressure and uplift of air inducing evaporation and some condensation. Warm moist air from subtropics hits cold polar, the warm air is uplifted and energy is released through condensation. At the subtropics air sinks and warms adiabatically causing absorption through evaporation.
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