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Physical Geography Week 6 Notes

by: Julia Parenti

Physical Geography Week 6 Notes GEOG 101 001

Marketplace > Towson University > Geography > GEOG 101 001 > Physical Geography Week 6 Notes
Julia Parenti
GPA 3.75

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About this Document

These notes cover the following topics: -overview of weather and climate -air masses -polar and mediterranean climates -fronts
Physical Geography
Dr. Ken Barnes
Class Notes
geography, physical geography
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Julia Parenti on Tuesday March 22, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to GEOG 101 001 at Towson University taught by Dr. Ken Barnes in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 30 views. For similar materials see Physical Geography in Geography at Towson University.


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Date Created: 03/22/16
Physical Geography Lecture 9 Overview of Weather and Climate Weather: short­term condition of the atmosphere Meteorology: study of short term atmospheric phenomena that constitude day to day weather Climate: weather over time  The day to day changes in the weather are not isolated events but are controlle by larger  scale systems ­air mass interactions ­rossby waves ­tropical cyclones  Generalized statement of the prevailing weather conditions at a given place based upon  statistics of a long period of records  Climate is described in terms of energy and moisture inputs ­Geographical view is that climate is a source of heat energy and water needs for plants  Climatology: studies the graphic distribution and character of Earth’s climates  Climatic regions are areas with similar weather statistics  Factors Affecting Climate  Latitude (sun angle) ­Intensity of radiation and length of day have direct impact on air temperature  Seasonality ­annual variation of sun angle influences seasonal temperature changes  Land and Water Distribution  ­Impacts temperature and precipitation. Land and water respond differently in temp to  insolation  Ocean Currents ­Warm currents off east coasts of continents in the sub­tropical and mid latitudes ­Moderate air temperatures, adds water vapor to air and promotes precipitation ­Cool and cold currents are located off the west coasts of continents ­produce arid climates along coasts. Chills overlying air, stabilizing it, and  inhibiting precipitation  Elevation and Topography ­Influence atmospheric processes and precipitation ­Temperatures decrease with elevation ­Mountains block movement of air masses ­Orographic precipitation (windward) and Rainshadow (leeward)  Pressure and Winds ­Pressure influences atmospheric stability or instability ­winds transfer sensible and latent heat from tropics to poles  Air masses and air mass movements ­different temperature and humidity characteristics ­lead to predictable weather Earth’s Temperature Patterns  Thermal Equator: Imaginary line connecting points of highest temperatures for lines of  longitude  January Temperature Map: Movement of Thermal equator southward ­more pronounced over large continents Air Masses  Large bodies of air that have uniform temperature and humidity characteristics at any  given elevation. ­cover 100,000s of square miles ­the boundary between two air masses is called a front. Usually the site of pronounced  weather changes  Temperate and humidity characteristics are derived from source regions  Source regions are areas of the earth over which air accumulates ­large, relatively flat surfaces such as oceans and plains ­mountainous areas are not good source areas ­turbulence caused by mountains breakup air masses Classes of Air Masses  A, AA­ Arctic and Antarctic ­bitterly cold and dry  P­ Polar ­seasonal changes in temperatures ­cool to warm in summer ­cool to bitterly cold in winter  T­ Tropical ­warm to hot  C­ Continental ­Dry  M­ Maritime ­moist Teleconnections: “Links between environmental events, particularly between climatic variations, separated (?) North Atlantic Oscillation  Oscillation of air and ocean masses that affect a large part of Europe and wetern Asia, as  well as eastern North America  Function of the relative strengths of the Icelandic Low and the Azores High  Stronger pressure gradient (high index) leads to more northerly track of intense winter  storms ­most of Europe is spared sever winter storms  Weaker pressure gradient (low index) leads to fewer and weaker winter storms ­higher temperatures in summer ­colder temperatures in winter El Nino­Southern Oscillation of La Nina El Nino­ Southern Oscillation  Reversal of the “normal” pressure and wind pattern in the southern pacific ocean ­Occur on average every 5 years (range is 2 to 8 years) ­Caused drought in Indonesia and Australia ­Heavy rains and flooding to coastal South American La Nina  Event that follows El Nino event  Reasserts the “normal” pressure and wind pattern  Causes flooding in Australia Lecture 10 Polar Weather Characteristics  Weather is dominated by Arctic and Antarctic air masses ­air masses are cold and dry year round  Polar Highs generate the Polar easterlies winds during the winter ­directs cold air towards the equator to warm up ­polar easterlies generally cases blowing during the summer ­least consistent of the planetary winds  Katabatic winds ­example of a small­scale circulation caused by localized pressure and temperature  differences ­occur in Polar Regions and mountains ­very cold dense air drains off the sides of glaciers, mountains and plateaus ­can be strong Polar Climates  Cold to extremely cold year around and relatively dry  Often referred to as polar deserts  Tundra climate ­at least one month where temp average above freezing but under 10º C (50ºF) ­permafrost underlies many areas ­short “summers” lead to surface thawing ­ponded and standing water on the surface  Ice cap Climate ­every month averages below freezing  Polar Marine ­more moderate in winter ­colder than tundra in summer ­low annual range of temperature ­no month below ­7ºC (20º F) Mid Latitude Weather  Most precipitation in the mid­latitudes starts as snow because many clouds form at  altitudes were temperatures are below freezing ­if temperatures near the surface are below freezing it remains as snow ­If temperatures near the surface are above freezing it melsa and falls as rain  Mid­latitude weather is dominated by the interactions of large air masses of unlike  characteristics  Temperature Inversion ­layer of warm air overlying cooler air at the surface ­temporary phenomena common in the mid­latitudes ­air at surface cannot rise and mix ­leads to a build­up of air pollutants at and near the surface ­serious air pollution episodes Fronts Fronts are best described as transition zones from the surface and extending up into the  atmosphere. Surface of Discontinuity.  Cold Fronts: cold air masses advance against warm air masses ­cold air forces warm air aloft ­400 km wind (250 miles)  Warm Fronts: warm air masses advance against cold air masses ­warm air moves up and over cold air ­1000 km wide (600 miles)  Stationary Fronts: air masses are stalled  Occluded Fronts: cold front overtakes a warm front. ­one fronts get lifted Violent Weather of the Mid­Latitudes and Beyond  Thunderstorms: most common storm type in the world ­caused by convergent, frontal and convectional lifting ­approximately 1800 in progress at any given time  Tornadoes: smallest but most violent storms known to humanity Characteristics of Continental Climate  Located from 35 degrees to 60 degrees norther. Large areas of this climate found only in  Northern Hemisphere ­except in highland areas in southern hemisphere ­no large land masses in southern hemisphere  Large annual ranges of temperature  Annual moisture surpluses ­most precipitation is due to cyclonic activity Mid­Latitude Western Continental Edge Climates  Two major climate types ­Marine (often called marine west coast) climates ­Mediterranean or dry summer subtropical climates Mediterranean Climates


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