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University of Toronto Scarborough
Biological Sciences

Chapter 52 Ecology and the Distribution of Life521 What is EcologyEcology scientific study of the rich and varied interactions between organisms and their environmentCommunities embracing all the organisms living together in the same areaEcosystems embracing all organisms in an area plus their physical environmentBiosphere system that embraces all regions of the planet where organisms liveEnvironment encompasses both abiotic and biotic factors522 How are Climates Distributed on EarthClimate of a region is the average of the atmospheric conditions found over a long termWeather is the shortterm state of those conditionsClimates vary greatly because different places receive different amounts of solar energySolar energy drives global climatesEvery place on Earth receives the same total number of hours of sunlight but not the same amount of solar energy this depends primarily on the angle of sunlightHigher latitudes experience greater variation in both day length and the angle or arriving solar energy over the course of a yeargreater seasonal variation in temperatureAir temperature decreases with elevation when air rises it expands its pressure and temperature drop and it releases moisture when a parcel of air descends it is compressed its pressure rises its temperature increases and it takes up moistureGlobal air circulation patterns result from the global variation in solar energy input and from the spinning of Earth on its axisAir rises when it is heated by the sun and is replaced by air that flows in toward the equator from the north and southproduces the intertropical convergence zoneCool air cannot hold as much moisture as warm air so heavy rains fall in the intertropical convergence zoneAir that moves into the intertropical convergence zone to replace the rising air is replaced by air from aloft that descends at roughly 30N and 30S It now descends warms and takes up moisture Earths deserts such as the Sahara and Australian deserts are located hereAt about 60N and 60S air rises again and moves either toward or away from the equator
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