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Lecture 2

GEG3107 Lecture 2: Lecture 2

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Antoni Lewkowicz

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September 19, 2016 Essay outline: - Avoid colloquial and emotive language Lecture 2A – Polar climates of past and present - Weather station, including temperature loggers used to measure snow depth Elements of climate: - Climate = long term average of weather (at least 30 years)  30 year normal (available through Environment Canada) - Updated every 10 years  Was chosen as 30 years is a sufficiently large sample size - This is likely no longer true (first 10 & last 10 are very different) - Main climate factors include: Air temperature, precipitation, wind speed & direction, cloudiness, insolation (amount of sun, strongly tied to latitude), atmospheric pressure  Other factors: humidity, evaporation, soil temperature & moisture - Stevenson’s screens are used to measure air temperature Influences on climate: - Latitude (isolation)  Def of Arctic/Antarctic circle: There will be 1 day of complete darkness and 1 day of 24h sunlight (on the solstices)  Angle of the sun changes with position - Elevation  Generally gets colder the higher into the atmosphere you go  Average lapse rate = 6.5°C/1000m - But varies, especially in Arctic regions (can get warmer as you rise) - Distribution of land and sea, especially in polar regions  Maritime vs Continental climates - Oceanic currents (warm vs. cold)  Ex. Permafrost in Labrador & southern Quebec due to the influence of the Labrador current, or Gulf Stream in Europe - Air circulation + High and low pressure centers - Size and distribution of mountains - Prevailing winds Influences on Climate in the Polar Regions: - Receive ~60% of the amount of insolation received at the equator  High values in the summer, but none in the winter  Much of the radiation received is reflected  Ice is very reflective, liquid water is very absorbent - Dry, dust-free atmosphere so long-wave (infra-red) radiation is easily lost  Long-wave radiation is emitted by the Earth - Average elevation of Antarctica is 2500 m  In addition the sea ice coverage doubles in the winter, which blocks oceanic heat transfer - Polar regions have a net radiation deficit, but they receive energy transfers from equatorial regions  If not for this energy transfer the polar regions would be much colder Atmospheric pressure and circulation: - A polar vortex exists at each end of the Earth  Vortex = A large, persistent area of low pressure  Winds run from the west around the edges of the low pressure area - Westerlies run counter-clockwise in the north, the vortex is asymmetrical leading to a heat transfer towards the pole - Westerlies run clockwise in the Antarctic, and the vortex is (roughly) symmetrical - Air Temperature:  Antarctic: “Cold Pole” is off-centre due to asymmetrical elevation - Coldest temp recorded: - 89°C - Map of mean annual temp  Arctic: Non-circular temperature pattern - Coldest recorded temperature: - 68°C (Siberia) - Map of mean January temperatures (left) and July (right)  In the Antarctic temperatures vary spatially from the Polar Plateau (center of continent) to the coastal areas to the sub-Antarctic islands - Continental climates have a large temp range & low precip; Maritime climates - Surface Winds:  Antarctica surface winds are katabatic air drainage (cold air drainage) that flow from the center of the continent towards the coast (with a slight deflection at the coast)  Inexpressible Island: Very windy (basically all the time)  In the Arctic the winds take a while to build up & you can generally see/tell that they are coming, but in the Antarctic the winds build much quicker and are much more localized - Winds are due to circulation systems in Arctic, but the katabatic winds (Antarctic) can be very localized - Precipitation:  Both regions are relatively arid (cold deserts)  Antarctica: Ice accumulation varies form >1000 mm/yr (peninsula) to <50 mm/yr Past Environmental change: - The last column (on right [decadal scale]) is wrong/out of date, substantial changes can occur in the space of decades - Plate tectonics: Had a larger effect of Antarctica than on the Arctic  About 38 MYA Australia fully separated from Antarctica - Lead to a biological and climatic separation of Antarctica  In the lass 100 million years there has been very little change in the Northern polar regions (little/no bio
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