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