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Biology Lecture 1 Article 1.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Scott Browning

BIOLOGY LECTURE #1 Introduction to the Basic Drivers of Climate: CLIMATE (key focus in ecology) - Long term prevailing weather in an area - Determined by temp + precipitation - Largest determination of life in an area - Variations: daily, seasonal, several years (El Nino) - longer term change b/c of changes in intensity and distribution of solar radiation reaching Earth’s surface SUNLIGHT INTENSITY (affects components of climate: wind, precip, ocean circ) - Varies over year as earth changes its orientation in space as it orbits the sun (TILTED ON AXIS BY 23.5) - Drives weather and climate patterns - TROPICS: direct sun, minor changes in temp, seasons characterized by rain - HIGHER LAT (further N+S): less sun (sun is spread over a larger area because received at an angle + took a longer path thru the atmos) - Both hemispheres get equal sun during spring and fall equinoxes - EQUATOR: gets more sun (air + bodies of water warm under the sun) - COLD: molecules more closely packed+dense - WARM: less dense - Difference in density causes hear to rise PRECIPITATION CYCLE: 1) Tropic’s air is warm and wet 2) Water evaporated by sun + rise to join air (air is warm and less dense so there is space for water molecules) 3) Air gains altitude + cools (reducing density and space for water) 4) Water molecules condense to form clouds 5) Precipitation WIND CYCLE: 1) Warm air moves up = cold air rushes in to fill in empty space 2) Tropical air moves away from the equator and towards the poles (cools and gets denser) 3) Descends around 30 N/S latitude (DRY DESC AIR = DESERTS) 4) Dry air mass lost moisture in tropics = absorbs moisture from ground and makes arid conditions at these latitudes 5) Air goes back to the equator OR goes to the poles as part of a new air mass 6) At 60: air RISES, COOLS, PRECIP (BAND OF MOISTURE) – some cold dry rising air goes t poles and absorbs moisture to make cold climates (polar regions) - Also generated by rotation of EA – westward + eastward winds affect ocean currents - Tropical waters carry heat towards poles along east coast continents - Cold water already at poles forced toward equator along west coast - Warm surface currents can carry heat away
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