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Chapter 4

BIO120 Notes - The Economy of Nature Textbook 6th ed Chapter 4

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Doug Thomson

CHAPTER 4 VARIATION IN THE ENVIRONMENT Solar Radiation and Global Patterns in Temperature and Precipitationclimatic patterns originate with differences in the intensity of sunlight falling on different parts of the earths surface at higher latitudes light strikers the earths surface at a lower angle spreads over greater areas y zenith the suns highest position each day can be directly overhead in the tropics near horizon in polar regions daily change in temperature nightday is caused by rotation of earth on axis lunar cycles of 28 days in amplitude of tides caused by revolution of moon seasonal change caused by revolution of earth around the sun Distribution of Solar Energy with Respect to Latitude equator is tilted 235 to the path it follows in its orbit around the sun the tilt causes seasonal variation in climatey N Hemisphere receives more solar energy than S Hemisphere in the northern summer and less during the northern wintertilt of the axis results in seasonal shift of the latitudinal belt near the equator that receives the greatest amount of sunlight moves north and south seasonally with the solar equator the parallel of latitude lying directly under the suns zenith y Solar equator reaches 235N on June 21 235S on Dec 22 N Hemisphere summer solstice earth is most inclined towards the sun on June 21 N Hemisphere winter solstice earth is tilted furthest away from the sun on Dec 22 Water Vapor in the Atmosphereequilibrium water vapor pressure the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere when the tendency of water to evaporate and the tendency of vapor to condense to liquid is balanced in thermodynamic equilibriumy liquid will evaporate at all pressures below its equilibrium vapor pressurey measured as the contribution of water vapor to the total pressure of the atmosphere y equilibrium vapor pressure increases with temperature y when water vapor pressure exceeds equilibrium value excess water vapor condenses and leaves atmosphere precipitation Hadley Circulation warming effect of the sun is greatest near the equator air close to earths surface in the tropics heats up and rises in upwardmoving convection current when air reaches upper layers of the atmosphere it begins to spread to the north and south toward higher latitudes the air is replaced from below by surfacelevel air moving in from subtropical latitudes forming trade winds air mass cools as it expands in upper atmosphere when it is 30N and S of equator it sinks back to earths surface this type of circulation pattern is called Hadley Circulation the closed cycle within tropics is called a Hadley Cell sinking air of Hadley cells drives Ferrel Cells temperature regions 3060N and S of equator ferrel cells forms Polar Cells 60N and S of equatorThe Coriolis Effect in the N Hemisphere trade winds blow from NE to SWy winds veer to the right of direction in N Hemisphere winds veer to the left in the S Hemispheredue to the Coriolis Effect occurs bc of the rotation of the earth and the conservation of momentum y point on the surface of the equator is travelling faster than a point on a higher latitude circumference of earth is smaller Air rising at the equator travels faster to the east than air descending Air that is rising gets far ahead to the east relative to the earths surface as it moves north y think of turning the Hadley and Ferrell cells to clockwise
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