[EARTHSS 17] - Midterm Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam (13 pages long!)

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UC-Irvine
EARTHSS 17
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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Global Atmospheric Circulation
1. How do Earth's mechanics explain the global distribution of heat on the planet?
a. The tilt of the earth changes the seasons. Solar angle and beam
spreading also influence the temperature. Sunlight is pointed directly at
equator making it hotter, at the poles solar beams are spread out giving
less heat. Variation in heating causes variation in air pressure.
2. How does the tilt of the Earth explain the seasons?
a. Earth tilted at 23.5. During certain season, the part of earth that is
experiencing summer is having more direct light.
t
3. What is the difference between perihelion and aphelion?
a. Perihelion: closer to sun (january 4)
b. Aphelion: farther (june 4)
4. What is pressure, and what causes changes of air pressure on our planet?
a. Variations in heating cause variations in pressure.
b. Convection and atmospheric pressure
i. Warm air expands, becomes less dense, rises
ii. Rising warm air causes an area of “low pressure”
iii. Cool air sinks causing an area of high pressure
iv. High pressure areas fill up low pressure areas
5. What are the winds, and which way would they flow on a non-rotating planet?
a. Winds are moving air as a result of air pressure
b. On an non rotating planet, wind would flow towards the equator.
6. Predict how the coriolis effect may impact the movement of a parcel of air.
a. The coriolis effect causes air to tilt in a different direction. When air flows
towards the equator it turns in the opposite direction. Zero coriolis at the
equator. Object moves to the right in the northern hemisphere, objects
move to the left in the southern hemisphere.
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b.
7. Generate a 6-cell model of Earth’s atmosphere, including pressure gradients
(where are the highs and lows?) and wind direction (which way to the winds blow
in each cell?). What would happen if the six-cell model didn’t apply? If the Earth
spun backwards? If there were more cells?
a.
b.
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