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  • 1. Climate Environmental Science
  • 2. Weather vs. Climate
    • Weather – an area’s temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind speed, cloud cover, and other physical conditions over a short period of time
    • Climate – a region’s general pattern of atmospheric weather conditions over a long period of time
      • Average temperature and average precipitation are the 2 main factors determining climate
  • 3.
    • Much of the weather we experience is the result of moving air masses.
    • The boundary between different air masses is called a front .
    • The most dramatic changes in weather occur along fronts.
  • 4. Warm Fronts
    • When a warm air mass moves in it pushes out the cooler air mass.
    • A moist warm front can bring days of cloudy skies and gentle rain.
  • 5. Cold Fronts
    • Because cold air is denser than warm air, a cold front stays close to the ground and pushes the warm air up and out of the way.
    • An approaching cold front can produce rapidly rising air that produces thunderstorms
  • 6. Climate
    • In addition to average temperature and average precipitation other factors influence climate
      • Latitude
      • Air Circulations Patterns
      • Ocean Currents
      • Local Geography
  • 7. Latitude
    • Latitude determines how much of the sun’s rays directly strike the surface.
    • Air is heated more at the equator where the sun’s rays strike directly than at the poles where they strike at an angle
    • As a result, air masses are heated at the equator and move toward the cooler poles.
  • 8. Air Circulation Patterns
    • As the earth rotates about its axis, the equator rotates faster than the poles
    • The rotation causes the air masses that are moving toward the poles to be deflected east or west
    • This sets up belts of air movement across the planet called prevailing winds or trade winds
  • 9.
    • Warm air rises and cool air sinks, this causes wind.
    • As warm air rises it cools down.
    • Any moisture in the air will condense forming clouds and finally rain.
    • At the equator, the warm air that rises is pushed away from the equator as it cools setting up global air movement.
  • 10.  
  • 11. Ocean Circulation
    • Oceans absorb heat from the air circulation patterns and the sun
    • Like air, warm water rises and cold water sinks.
    • The differences in water temperatures cause water circulation in ocean currents
    • Currents are also driven by winds and the rotation of the earth.
  • 12.
    • Warm ocean currents make climates milder
      • The Gulf Stream makes the climate of Great Britain much warmer than Northern Canada even though they are at the same latitude
    • Heat is absorbed and released more slowly by water than land. As a result oceans and large lakes moderate the climate of near by lands
  • 13. Local Geography
    • Various features of the surface will create local climatic conditions that are different from the general climate of the region.
      • Mountains
      • Lakes
      • Cities
  • 14.
    • Rain Shadow Effect
      • Caused by air pushed upwards at a mountain, cooling, and dropping it’s moisture.
      • Leads to arid climates on leeward side of mountain and wetter climates on the windward side
      • Great Basin Desert on leeward side of the Sierras
  • 15.
    • Cities also create their own microclimates.
    • Brick, asphalt, and other building materials absorb heat.
    • Buildings block wind flow
    • Cars and air conditioning release large amounts of heat and pollutants
    • Cities tend to have higher temperatures and lower wind speeds than rural areas