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BMEN 515 Lecture Notes - Intertropical Convergence Zone, Species Richness, Permafrost

Biomedical Engineering
Course Code
BMEN 515
William Huddleston

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ecology: scientific study of rich and varied interactions btwn organisms and environment
communities: systems embracing all the organisms loving together in the same area
ecosystems: systems embracing all organisms in an area plus their physical environment
environment: encompasses abiotic (physical+chemical ex water, minerals) and biotic (living organisms) factors
interactions btwn organisms and environment are 2 way processes:
o organisms both influence and are influenced by environment
understanding ecology allows us to manage ecosystems, to grow food, control pests, deal with natural disasters,
ecologists become familiar with various environments and understand how organisms adapt to them
climate: average of atmospheric conditions (temp, precipitation, wind direction, velocity) found over long term
[weather: short-term state of conditions]
o vary in different parts of world due to solar energy
diff in air temp largely determined by solar energy input
rate at which solar energy arrives on Earth per unit of Earth’s surface depends on angle of sunlight
o high latitudes (closer to poles) get less solar energy than equatorial places
o higher latitudes have greater variation in day length and angle of arriving solar energy over year more
seasonal variation in temp
air temp decreases with elevation
o air rises, expands, pressure and temp dropmoisture released
global air circulation patterns result from global variation in solar energy input
intertropical convergence zone: the coming together of air masses. Air rises when it is heated by sun, so warm air
rises in tropics, which receive greatest solar energy input. Rising air is replaced by air that flows in toward
equator from N +S
o heavy rains fall as rising air cools and releases moisture
o shifts latitudinally with seasons, following zone of greatest energy input
o can predict precipitation patterns in tropical and subtropical areas
air that replaces rising air in ICZ is replaced by air from aloft, that descends at 30o N and S latitudes after having
travelled away from equator in atmosphere
o air cooled+lost moisture while it rose to equator. Now, it descends, warms, takes up moisture ex. Sahara
and Australian deserts
at poles (little solar energy), air descends; responsible for global wind patterns
spinning of earth on its axis also influences surface winds b/c earth’s velocity is rapid at equator, but relatively
close to poles
o stationary air mass’ velocity=earth’s velocity at same latitude
o as air mass moves toward equator, meets a faster spin, and its rotational movement is slower than
earth’s beneath it
o air masses moving latitudinally are deflected to right in N hemisphere (NH) and to left in S hemisphere
those moving toward equator from N and S become northeast and south east trade winds
o air masses moving away from equator become westerly winds
o air rises to pass over mountains, cools; clouds form on windward side of mountains and release moisture
as rain/snow; on leeward side, dry air descends, warms, and again picks up moisturerain shadow = dry
these global air circulation patterns drive circulation patterns of surface ocean waters: currents
trade winds cause water to converge at equator until encountering continental land mass; water splits so some
moves north and south; transfers large amounts of heat at high latitudes
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