Geography Midterm 2 Review
Atmospheric Processes #1:
• The earth’s atmosphere stretches from the surface of the earth out 10,000+ km.
• Atmospheric gases spread apart as elevation increases.
• Mean Free Path: the distance that a molecule travels before hitting another
1. At Sea level: 6.5 X 10 cm
2. 100km Elevation: 10 cm
3. 160km Elevation: 5000 cm
• Earths Atmosphere: Composed of Variant, NonVariant, and Impurities
1. 97% of gases within 30km
2. 90% of gases within 15km
3. 50% of gases within 6km
• NonVariant: makes up 99% of atmospheric gases and mostly consists of nitrogen
(78%) and Oxygen (21%). Always in this proportion under 80km.
• Variant: consists of water vapor, Ozone, and CO. Water vapor is the primary
source of atmospheric moisture, which influences weather.
• Impurities: minute solid particles, salt, pollen grains, and meteoric dust.
• Vertical Zones:
1. Homosphere: uniform ratio of gases (080km)
2. Homopause: transition zone (8088km)
3. Heterosphere: arranged by molecular weight (88km+), N2 and O2
lower layer, He and H2 in upper layer
• Troposphere: normal lapse rate and zone of weather.
• Tropopause: zone above Troposphere where air temperature remains constant
• Stratosphere: increase in air temperature, Ozone (weatherless)
• Stratopause: change in lapse rate
• Mesosphere: temperature decrease between 50100km, normal lapse rate
• Mesopause: change in lapse rate
• Thermosphere: Increase air temperature with elevation
Atmospheric Processes #2:
• Radiation: wavelength determines the colour
• Water Freezes: 0°C, 32°F, 273.15°K
• Shortwave radiation (UV and visible) from the sun is absorbed by the earth and
reemitted in longwave radiation (infrared, heat energy)
• Black Body Law is known as StefanBoltzmann Law. The hotter an object, the
radiation it emits. The opposite holds true. • The hotter an object, the shorter the wavelength it emits.
• Gases in the atmosphere selectively absorb a variety of the shorter wavelengths of
solar energy (xray, gamma ray, and UV rays).
• Weins Displacement Law: a / T in Kelvin (where a = 2897)
• Earths equator region receives about 2.5 times the amount of energy then the
• Perihelion: earth closest (Jan)
• Aphelion: earth furthest (July)
• 3 Rules of Thermodynamics coined by James Prescott Joule
1. Energy can be transformed, not destroyed
2. Systems tend toward equilibrium (entropy)
3. Heat can never pass spontaneously from colder to a hotter body;
energy moves down the energy gradient.
• Energy results in work being done
• Seasonal Variations:
1. December 21 – 26° noon Sun angle
2. March 21/Sept 22 – 50° noon sun angle
3. July 21 – 73° noon Sun angle
• Atmosphere and earth absorb about 68% of Suns energy. Earth’s albedo is about
• Sensible Heat: the heat you can feel (the temperature of the body)
• Latent Heat: the amount of energy released or absorbed by a substance during a
change of phase
• 80 calories needed to turn Ice to water and 540 calories needed to turn water in
vapor. Going from vapor to liquid gives off 540 calories of energy.
• Conduction: transfer of heat energy from one molecule to another
• Convection: the physical movement of substances.
• Energy moves from the equator (surplus) toward the poles (deficits)
• Horizontal transfers of sensible heat through warm air masses and ocean currents.
• Effects of Land on Temperature: no mixing, low penetration, low specific heat,
low evaporation rate, rapid heating, and more radiation loss.
• Effects of Water on Temperature: Mixing, high penetration, high specific heat,
high evaporation rate, slow heating, and less radiation loss.
• Continentality: states that the temperature range (summer to winter) will increase
the closer to the center of the continent you are.
Atmospheric Processes #3:
• Adiabatic changes in temperature occur due to the change in pressure of a gas
while not adding or subtracting any heat.
• Pressure, Volume, and Temperature of a gas are all related to each other
( PV/T = K ) • Air parcel cools internally as it expands under lower air pressure
• Air parcel heats internally as it is compressed under high air pressure
• On average, temperature decreases by 6.4° C/ 1000m in troposphere
• Inversion: opposite, air warms with an increase in altitude
• Inversion Layer occurs between (492820 meters)
• Effects of a Temperature Inversion: creates stagnant smog
• Dry Adiabatic Lapse Rate (DALR): air is dry and the air cools at a rate of 9.8° C
(call it 10° C)/ 1000m.
• Saturated Adiabatic Lapse Rate (SALR): air is moist and air cools at approx. 5°
• In a saturated parcel, latent heat of condensation is liberated as sensible heat,
which reduces the adiabatic rate of cooling.
• Absolute Humidity: the amount of water vapor (kg) in a mass of air (kg) or
volume (cubic meters) of air.
• Relative Humidity: is not a direct measurement of water vapor but rather its
expressed as a % of the amount of water vapor that is actually in the air (content),
compared with the max. water vapor the air could hold at a given temperature
• Therefore, relative humidity can change by either, a change in the amount of
water vapor in the air (absolute humidity), or by a change in the air temperature
that affects the capacity of the air to hold moisture.
• Dew Point: the temperature at which a given mass of air becomes saturated. Ex.
Air is saturated when the dew point temperature and the air temperature are the
• Stable air is falling and unstable air is rising
• To test stability, compare moving air to Environmental Lapse rate. If moving air is
colder than ELR, it will fall and if moving air is warmer than ELR, it will rise.
Atmospheric Processes #4:
• Atmospheric Circulation and Winds: air is always in motion and is striving to
remove the imbalance temperature and pressure.
• Newton’s 3 Laws:
1. Inertia a body continues to maintain its state of rest or uniform
motion unless acted upon by an external unbalanced force.
2. F = MA the net force on an object is equal to the mass of the
object multiplied by its acceleration.
3. Every action as an opposite and equal reaction.
• Forces acting on the Air: two opposing forces which act on a vertically moving
parcel of air are an upward buoyant force, and a downward gravitational
• Pressure Gradient Force (PGF) keeps air at the ground. • CF (Coriolis Force Effect): moving objects on the earth’s surface appear to veer
to the right in the northern hemisphere and veer to the left in the southern
• Isobars: lines of constant pressure
• High Pressure: Anticyclones, diverging air
• Low pressure: Cyclones, converging air
• Daytime Sea Breeze: air heated on land during the day, moves up over water,
cools on water and descends, blown inward on shore.
• Nighttime Sea Breeze: air cools down over land, air is drawn offshore, air warms
over relatively warm water, is drawn back to shore.
• Examples of Global Circulation: Hedley Cell, NE/SE Trades, ITCZ, Westerlies,
Atmospheric Processes #5: • Lake Snow Effect: increased humidity in the air resulting from the lake enhances
snowfall in the surrounding area.
• Lifting Mechanisms:
2. Convectional (local heating)
3. Orographic (barrier)
4. Frontal (e.g. cold front)
• Orographic Lifting: wind hits the mountain, rises over (windward side), air warms
as it descends down the other side (leeward side), Chinook winds in Calgary
(temp rises of over 15°C) air is very dry and warm
Atmospheric Processes #6:
• Dust Bowl: a period of extreme drought and dust storms during the 1930’s
• Where: Kansas, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma
• Caused ecological and agricultural damage
• Ecosystem: a functioning, interacting system composed of one or more organisms
and their effective environment both physical and ecological.
• Review Causes on PowerPoint
• Types of Drought:
1. Meteorological: defined on the basis on the degree of dryness in
comparison to a normal or average amount/duration.
2. Hydrological: associated with the effects of precipitation shortfalls
on surface/subsurface water supply (rivers, reservoirs, lake levels,
etc) usually develops over long time.
3. Agricultural: links various characteristics of meteorological and
Hydrological droughts to agricultural impacts focusing on short
term affects on crop yields.
4. Socioeconomic: contains elements of other 3 droughts. When the
supply of water is unable to meet the demand for human activities.
• Components of Drought for Risk Management:
Hazards (natural event) X Vulnerability (social factors) = RISK
• Southern California is experiencing a extreme shortage of water
Political Geography #1:
• Political Geography studies the spatial expression of the organization and
distribution of the political pneumonia. It studies boundaries, their delimitations,
• Political organization of a society is as fundamental to culture as the economy or
1. Natural: animal territories 2. Instinctive Needs
3. Basic need for most animals
4. Humankind’s animal behavior
• Robert Ardrey’s Territorial Imperative: theory that humans have the same need to
have boundaries (countries, provinces, states) as animals.
• Territoriality: the wide range of scale spans from personal space to the world,
covering the entire spectrum in between.
• Rio Grand River: The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe determined over 1600km of
boundary between USA and Mexico.
• In 1905 Mexico and USA signed the Banco Treaty which they agree to exchange
approximately equal parcels of land from time to time.
• State: territory and people are politically bound. Full sovereign control over
internal and external affairs.
• Nation: a body of people who are bound together culturally (language, race,
religion, place of origin, or history).
• Nation State: state is reflective of a nation.
• Political Control:
1. Unitary Form: authority is highly centralized (China/UK)
2. Federal Form: authority is highly decentralized (USA/ Canada)
• Ecumene: most important socioeconomic elements that allow a state to function
with the densest communication and transportation, chief cities, and aggregate of
people, site of industry, and post industrial activity (In Canada, the 401 corridor
between Quebec and Winsor).
• Boundaries of the State:
1. Subsequent Boundaries: are those that are drawn after a population
has become well established in an area.
2. Antecedent Boundaries: precede the close settlement and
development of the region they encompass.
3. Superimposed Boundaries: is the converse of Antecedent
Boundaries, established after an area has been closed settlement
(India and Pakistan 1948). People have to recognize the new
boundary and they have to move.
• State Identity: Centrifugal Forces (pull state apart different languages, strong
minority groups) and Centripetal Forces (keep state together single language,
• Gerrymander: when an electoral district is structured in a way that gives one
political party an unfair advantage Political Geography #2:
• United Nations Convention of Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS):
1. Internal Waters: Subject to the laws of the state. Right of passage
may be suspended if the vessel is a threat to peace, order, or
security of the state.
2. Territorial Sea: Sovereignty extends over water, seabed, and
airspace 12 n. miles. Vessels have right of innocent passage,
which can be suspended in perceived to be a threat.
3. Contiguous Sea: Extends 24 n. miles and the state has the right to
control if a threat exists to security of state or territorial waters.
State has right of pursuit into this zone.
4. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ): baselinescoastal state has the
right to conserve and manage living and nonliving resources. In
areas that are ice covered, costal state has the right to adopt and
enforce laws and regulations, for the prevention and control of
• Canada and Denmark’s Dispute: over the rights to Hans Island
• The Northwest Passage is a much shorter trade route to Asia (14,630km)
compared to the alternative route (23,335km). The average extent of ice coverage
in September 2012 was only 3.6 million km squared.
• Climate: is the characteristic condition of the atmosphere nea