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Western University
Geography 2131A/B
D.Kim Holland

Chapter One Geography: The science that studies the interdependence and interaction among geographic areas, natural systems, processes, society, and cultural activities over space – a spatial science. The five themes of geographic education are location, place, movement, regions, and human-Earth relationships Biosphere: That area where the atmosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere function together to form the context within which life exists; an intricate web that connects all organisms with their physical environment Cartography: The making of maps and charts; a specialized science and art that blends aspects of geography, engineering, mathematics, graphics, computer science, and artistic specialties Map Scale: The ratio of the distance on a map to that in the real world; expressed as a representative fraction, graphic scale, or written scale Positive Feedback: Feedback that amplifies or encourages responses in a system Negative Feedback: Feedback that tends to slow or dampen response in a system; promotes self-regulation in a system; far more common that positive feedback in living systems System Equilibrium: There are two equilibrium conditions, steady-state and dynamic Steady-State Equilibrium: The condition that occurs in a system when rates of input and output are equal and the amounts of energy and stored matter are nearly constant around a stable average Dynamic Equilibrium: Increasing or decreasing operations in a system demonstrate a trend over time, a change in average conditions Endogenic System: The system internal to Earth, driven by radioactive heat derived from sources within the planet. In response, the surface fractures, mountain building occurs, and earthquakes and volcanoes are activated Exogenic System: Earth’s external surface system, powered by insolation, which energizes air, water, and ice and sets them in motion, under the influence of gravity. Includes all processes of landmass denudation Remote Sensing: Information acquired from a distance, without physical contact with the subject; for example, photography, orbital imagery, or radar Scientific Method: An approach that uses applied common sense in an organized and objective manner; based on observation, generalized, formulation, and testing of a hypothesis, and ultimately the development of a theory Satellite Image: Satellites do not take conventional-film photographs. Rather, they record images that are transmitted to Earth-based receivers in a way similar to television satellite transmissions or a digital camera. A scene is scanned and broken down into pixels (picture elements), each identified by coordinates named lines (horizontal rows) and samples (vertical columns) Map Projection: The reduction of a spherical globe onto a flat surface in some orderly and systematic realignment of the latitude and longitude grid Chapters Two, Three, and Four Electromagnetic Spectrum: All the radiant energy produced by the Sun placed in an ordered range, divided according to wavelengths Blackbody Radiator: Idealized 6000 K surface; Absorbs all the radiant energy that it receives and subsequently emits all that it has absorbed Why the Sahara Desert has low values for net radiation at the top of the atmosphere?: Typically clear skies – which permit great longwave radiation losses from Earth’s surface – and light-coloured reflecive surfaces act together to reduce net radiation values at the thermopause Why do we have seasons?: Seasons result from variations in the Sun’s altitude above the horizon, the Sun’s declination (latitude location of the subsolar point), and daylength during the year. Five reasons for seasons: revolution, rotation, tilt, axial parallelism, and sphericity Millibar: mb; A measure of force per square meter of surface area; Measured by a barometer Ozone: A layer of ozone occupying the full extent of the stratosphere (20 to 50 km) above the surface; the region of the atmosphere where ultraviolet wavelengths of isolation are extensively absorbed and converted into heat Stratosphere: That portion of the homosphere that ranges from 20 to 50 km above Earth’s surface, with temperatures ranging from -57°C at the tropopause to 0°C at the stratopause. The functional ozonosphere is within the stratosphere Normal Lapse Rate: The average rate of temperature decrease with increasing altitude in the lower atmosphere; an average value of 6.4°C per km, or 1000m Troposphere: The home of the biosphere; the lowest layer of the homosphere, containing approximately 90% of the total mass of the atmosphere; extends up to the tropopause; occurring at an altitude of 18km at the equator, 13 km in the middle latitudes, and at lower altitudes near the poles Homosphere: A zone of the atmosphere from Earth’s surface up to 80 km, composed of an even mixture of gases, including nitrogen, oxygen, argon, carbon dioxide, and trace gases The four most abundant stable atmospheric gases: Nitrogen (n2), Oxygen (O2), Argon (Ar), and Carbon dioxide (CO2) Temperature Inversion: Occurs when the typical temperature decrease with altitude reverses trend and begins to increase at some level Longwave and Shortwave Radiation: The Sun’s radiated energy is shortwave radiation that peaks in the short visible wavelengths, whereas Earth’s radiated energy is longwave radiation restricted to infrared wavelengths. A hotter Sun radiates shorter wavelengths, whereas a cooler Earth emits longer wavelengths Shortwave Radiation: Ultriviolet, visible, and shortwave infrared Longwave Radiation: Thermal infrared (heat energy) Albedo: The reflective quality of a surface, expressed as the percentage of reflected insolation to incoming insolation; a functio of surface colour, angle of incidence, and surface texture Conduction: The slow molecule-to-molecule transfer of heat through a medium, from warmer to cooler portions Convection: Transfer of heat from one place to another through the physical movement of air; involves a strong vertical motion Advection: Horizontal movement of air or water from one place to another Latent Heat: Heat energy is stores in one of three states – ice, water, or water vapour. The energy is absorbed or released in each phase change from one state to another. Heat energy is absorbed as the latent heat of melting, vapourization, or evaporation. Heat energy is released as the latent heat of condensation and freezing (or fusion) Greenhouse Effect: The process whereby radiatively active gases (carbon dioxide, water vapour, methane, and CFCs) absorb insolation and emit the energy at longer wavelengths, which are retained longer, delaying the loss of infrared to space. Thus, the lower troposphere is warmed through the radiation and reraddiation of infrared wavelengths. The approximate similarity between this process and that of a greenhouse explains the name Details of the Earth-Atmosphere Energy Balance: Summary of Earth-atmosphere energy balance for all shortwave and longwave energy by latitude - At lower latitudes, the angle of incoming insolation is high and daylength is consistent thorugh the year, so more energy is gained than lost annually – energy surpluses dominate - In the polar regions, the Sun is low in the sky, surfaces are light (ice and snow) and reflective, and for up to 6 months during the year no insolation is received, so more energy is lost than gained – energy deficits prevail - At around 36° latitude in both hemispheres, a balance exists between energy gains and losses for the Earth-atmosphere system Net Radiation is? (what are the components of the equation): The net all-wave radiation available at Earth’s surface; the final outcome of the radiation balance process between incoming shortwave insolation and outgoing longwave energy Chapters Five and Six The Factors affecting Temperature Control: The principal influences upon temperatures include latitude, altitude and elevation, cloud cover, and land-water heating differences Continentality: The degree to which the climate of a region typifies that of the interior of a large landmass Land-Water Heating Differences: Differences in the degree and way that land and water heat, as a result of contrasts in transmission, evaporation, mixing, and specific heat capacities. Land surfaces heat and cool faster than water and have continentality, whereas water provides a marine influence. The land-water temperature controls are: evaporation, transparency, specific heat, movement and ocean currents, and sea-surface temperatures Specific Heat: The increase of temperature in a material when energy is absorbed; water has a higher specific heat (can store more heat) than a comparable volume of soil or rock Coriolis Effect: Pressure Gradient Force: Causes air to move from an area of higher barometric pressure to an area of lower barometric pressure due to the pressure difference Isobar: An isoline connecting all points of equal atmospheric pressure What would friction do Geostropic wind?: Doldrums: Geostrophic Wind: A wind moving between areas of different pressure along a path that is parallel to the isobars. It is a product of the pressure gradient force and the Coriolis force. Hadley Cell: Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ): Equatorial low-pressure trough; A thermally caused low-pressure area that almost girdles Earth, with air converging and ascending all along its extent Jet (stream): The most promi-1nt movement in upper-level westerly wind flows; irregular, concentrated, sinuous bands of geostropic wind, travelling at 300 km/h Cyclone: A dynamically or thermally caused area of low atmospheric pressure with converging and ascending airflows. Rotates counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Sourthern Hemisphere Anticyclone: A dynamically or thermally caused area of high atmospheric pressure with descending and diverging airflows that rotate clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Southern Hemisphere Monsoon Winds: Land-Sea Breeze: Wind along coastlines and adjoining interior areas created by different heating characteristics of land and water surfaces – onshore (landward) breeze in the afternoon and offshore (seaward) breeze at night Ocean Gyre: Polar Front: A significant zone of contrast between cold and warm air masses; roughly situated between 50° and 60°N and S latitude Rossby Wave: An undulating horizontal motion in the upper-air westerly circulation at middle and high latitudes Subtropical High Pressure Zones: Trade Wind: Wind from the northeast and southeast that converges in the equatorial low-pressure trough, forming the intertropical convergence zone Chapters Seven and Eight Absolute (specific) Humidity: Adiabatic Expansion: Adiabatic Lapse Rate: Advection Fog: Active condensation formed when warm, moist air moves laterally over cooler water or land surfaces, causing the lower layers of the air to be chilled to the dew-point temperature Atmospheric Instability: Atmospheric Stability: Bergeron Theory Collision-Coalescence Theory: Condensation: Environmental Lapse Rate (ELR): The actual lapse rate in the lower atmosphere at any particular time under local weather conditions; may deviate above or below the normal lapse rate of 6.4°C per 1000 m Dew: Dry Adiabatic Lapse Rate (DALR): Humidity Latent: Heat of Condensation: Latent Heat of Vaporization: The heat energy absorbed from the environment in a phase change from liquid to water vapour at the boiling point; under normal sea-level pressure, 540 calories must be added to each gram of boiling water to achieve a phase change to water vapour Phase Change: The change in phase, or state, among ice, water, and water vapour; involves the absorption or release of latent heat Radiation Fog: Formed by radiative cooling of a land surface, especially on clear nights in areas of moist ground; occurs when the air layer directly above the surface is chilled to the dew-point temperature, thereby producing saturated condition Relative Humidity: The ratio of water vapour actually in the are (content) compared to the maximum water vapour possible (capacity) at that temperature; expressed as a percentage Saturated (moist) Adiabatic Lapse Rate (SALR or MAR): The rate at which a saturated parcel of air cools in ascent; a rate of 6°C per 1000 m. This rate may vary, with moisture content and temperature, from 4°C to 10°C per 1000 m Know the different air mass types and their source areas: Convergent Lifting: Airflows in conflict force lifting and displacement of air upward, initiating adiabatic processes Convectional Lifting: Air passing over warm surfaces gains buoyancy and lifts, initiating adiabatic processes Orographic Lifting: The uplift of a migrating air mass as it is forced to move upward over a mountain range – a topographic barrier. The lifted air cools adiabatically as it moves upslope; clouds may form and produce increased precipitation Chinook Wind: North American term for a warm, dry, downslope airflow; characteristic of the rain-shadow region on the leeward side of mountains; known as fohn, or foehn, winds in Europe Frontal Lifting: Be able to draw a cross section of a warm and cold front: Midlatitude Cyclonic System: An organized area of low pressure, with converging and ascending airflow producing an interaction of air masses; migrates along storm tracks. Such lows or depressions form the dominant weather pattern in the middle and higher latitudes of both hemispheres Occuluded Front: In a cylonic circulation, the overrunning of a surface warm front by a cold front and the subsequent lifting of the warm air wedge off the ground; initial precipitation is moderate to heavy Tropical Cyclone: A cyclonic circulating originating in the tropics, with winds between 39 and 73 mph; characterized by closed isobars, circular organization, and heavy rains Chapters Nine and Ten Actual Evapotranspiration: AE; the actual amount of evaporation and transpiration that occurs; derived in the water balance by subtracting the deficit (DEFIC) from potential evapotranspiration (PE) Capillary Water: Soil moisture, most of which is accessible to plant roots; held in the soil by the water’s surface tension and cohesive forces between water and soil Gravitational Water: Hydrologic Cycle: A simplified model of the flow of water, ice, and water vapour from place to place. Water flows through the atmosphere, across the land, where it is also stored as ice, and within groundwater. Solar energy empowers the cycle Hygroscopic Water: That portion of soil moisture that is so tightly bound to each soil particle that it is unavailable to plant roots; the water, along with some bound capillary water, that is left in the soil after the wilting point is reached Infiltration: Water access to subsurface regions of soil moisture storage through penetration of the soil surface Permeability: The ability of water to flow through soil or rock; a function of the texture and structure of the medium Percolation: The process by which water permeates the soil or porous rock into the subsurface environment Porosity: The total volume of available pore space in soil; a result of the texture and structure of the soil Potential Evapotranspiration: PE; The amount of moisture that would evaporate and transpire if adequate moisture were available; it is the amount lost under optimum moisture conditions, the moisture demand What is a soil-water budget?: Climate: The consistent, long-term behaviour of weather over time, including its variability; in contrast to weather, which is the condition of the atmosphere at any given place and time Climate Change: Climate Classification: Climatic Variablity: Climograph: A graph that plots daily, monthly, or annual temperature and precipitation values for a selected station; may also include additional weather information El Nino Phenomenon ENSO: General Circulation Model: Complex, computer-based climate model that produces generalizations of reality and forecasts of futur
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