GEOL 102 Lecture 7: Geology 102 Leture 7 Notes

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12 Feb 2017
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Geology 102 Lecture 7 Notes
Oceanic and Atmospheric Circulation
Energy
Earth’s primary source of energy (in this case heat) is the sun
Insolation- the amount of solar radiation (energy) an area is exposed to over a
given amount of time
Not ‘insulation’
Insolation is driven by
The shape of the Earth
The tilt of the Earth’s axis
The albedo effect
The atmosphere
These processes determine where and how much heat energy is introduced
But how is it transferred around Earth’s surface
Movement of Energy
Atmospheric circulation
Oceanic circulation
Oceanic and Atmospheric Circulation
Both are largely caused by
Convection
The Coriolis Effect
Convection
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Heat rises, cold sinks
Caused because hot substances are generally less dense than cold ones
So, heated air near the tropic rises-upwelling
And cooling air near the poles sink- downwelling
Coriolis Effect
The Earth spins on its axis, deflecting the motion of air and water
Clockwise in the northern hemisphere
Counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere
This is why hurricanes, typhoons, tropical storms, etc. rotate in opposite
directions north and south of the equator
Easterlies
Air near equator is deflected westward- called trade winds
Areas of high pressure at altitude occur at 30 degrees latitude
High pressure causes downwelling
High pressure areas are caused by the air ‘piling up’
The downwelling air is attempting to escape north or south, but this is occurring
more slowly than the rotation of the high altitude air
Westerlies
When the downwelling air nears the Earth’s surface, these winds split
South join trade winds
North becomes westerlies
This air is cool and dry
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Document Summary

Earth"s primary source of energy (in this case heat) is the sun. Insolation- the amount of solar radiation (energy) an area is exposed to over a given amount of time. These processes determine where and how much heat energy is introduced. But how is it transferred around earth"s surface. Caused because hot substances are generally less dense than cold ones. So, heated air near the tropic rises-upwelling. And cooling air near the poles sink- downwelling. The earth spins on its axis, deflecting the motion of air and water. This is why hurricanes, typhoons, tropical storms, etc. rotate in opposite directions north and south of the equator. Air near equator is deflected westward- called trade winds. Areas of high pressure at altitude occur at 30 degrees latitude. High pressure areas are caused by the air piling up". The downwelling air is attempting to escape north or south, but this is occurring more slowly than the rotation of the high altitude air.

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