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GEOG 1400 Ch 1-4 Notes

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GEOG 1400
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Unit 1 – Earth’s setting in space (47-63)  Universe – the entity that contains all matter and energy that exists anywhere in space and time  Light year- the distance travelled by a pulse of light in one year : 9.46 trillion km  Milky way- an organized disk-like assemblage of billions of stars  Sun o Located at the centre of the solar system o Source of light heat and overall gravitational field that sustains planets o Sun’s gravitational pull is powerful enough to control the movements of a planet nearly 6 billion km away o Composed mainly superheated hydrogen and helium gases o Solar wind- most of that gaseous flow of energy  Planets o All planets except Neptune are bright enough to be seen in the night skies without telescope o Inner planets  Planets closest to the sun  Mercury, Venus, earth, mars - terrestrial “earth-like” o Outer planets  Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune  Differ from their inner solar system counterparts  Major planets or Jovian planets- all resemble gaint, prototypical jupitar because they account for over 99% of all mater of the solar system  Earth o Small fragile planet o Exhibits unique physical conditions essential for support of life o Takes earth a calendar day to complete one full rotation on axis –west to east o Earths orbital path is nearly circular around the sun o Avg distance between the earth and the sun is about 150 million km o Jan 3 , earth is closest the the sun called “perihelion” and increases slowly until july 5 called “aphelion” o Earth closes to sun during northern hemisphere and furthest during southern hemisphere o Is not a sphere it’s a oblate spheroid – departure from a sphere that is induced by the bulging/flattening phenomenon  Revolution o One complete circling of the sun by a planet within its orbital path o Annual revolution around the sun takes about 365 ¼ days o One calendar day is added to the calendar every 4 years  Seasonality o Plane of the ecliptic – plane in space which contains a line traced by the earths slightly elliptical orbit and the stationary sun o Seasons occur because the earth is tilted with respect to the plane of the ecliptic  Axis tilt o Earth is tilted at an angle of 66 ½ degrees to the plane of the ecliptic and is always tilted in the same direction no matter where the earth is o Earth’s axis remains parallel to itself at every position o Around june 22- northern half of the earth is maximally tilted towards the sun, receives much greater amount of solar energy o Around dec 22, northern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun and receives least energy o Tropic of cancer- most northerly latitude where the suns noontime rays strike vertically o Arctic circle – north latitude of 66 ½ degrees north, remains totally in sunlight during earths 24 hour rotation o On dec 22 – the position of the earth causes the sun’s rays to strike vertically at noon at 23 ½ degree south, latitude called Tropic of Capricorn o Antarctic circle – entire area south located at latitude of 66 ½ degree south, receives 24 hours of sunlight  Solstices- points at which movements around the sun stops  Equinoxes – o 12 hour of sun and 12 hour of darkness o March 21 and sept 23  Circle of illumination – boundary between the two halves of sunlight and darkness  Insolation- incoming solar radiation  Angle of indication- angle of solar elevation above horizon  Electromagnetic spectrum – consist of a continuum of energy measured by wavelength from high energy shortwave radiation of cosmic ray to low energy longwave radiation of radio and electric power Unit 2- Structure of the Atmosphere (pg 64-75)  Short term conditions in the atmosphere – weather  Long term condition in the atmosphere – climate  Atmosphere can be divided into two vertical regions o Lower region- homsphere  extends 80-100km above the earth and has a more or less uniform chemical composition  More important of the two; humans live in it  Contains major groups of components – constant gases- found in the same porportions, variable gases- present in different quantities at different time/place, impurities- sold particles floating in the atmosphere o Upper region- heterosphere  Constant and variable gases are important to sustain human life and other forms of life  Carbon dioxide fulfills two vital functions for earth o Photosynthesis – plants use carbon dioxide and other substances to form carbonhydrate which are essential part of the good and tissue of both plants and animals o Absorbing and re-emit energy transferred to the atmosphere from the earth’s surface o Helps dissolve limestone  Water vapour-invisible gaseous form of water, absorb and re-emit energy from the earths surface and atmosphere o More efficient than carbon dioxide in capturing radiant energy since it can absorb energy and store it as well o When water vapour is moved around by currents of air, stored energy is transported along with it o There will be no rain or clouds without it  Ozone o Rare type of molecule composed of three oxygens atoms instead of two  Other variable gases o Hydrogen, helium, sulphur dixiode, orxides of nitrogen, ammonia, methane, carbon monoxide o Some are air pollutants derived from manufacturing, transportation, and human activities  Aerosols- tiny floating particles suspended in the atmosphere  Troposphere- bottom layer of the atmosphere o temperature usually decreases with an increase in altitude o Avg lapse rate 6.5 degrees celsuis/ 1000m  Lapse rate- rate of decline in temp  Tropopause- upper boundary of the troposphere  Beyond tropopause is Stratosphere- layers either stay the same or start increasing with altitude, o Layers in which the temp increases with altitude exhibit positive lapse rates  Temperature inversions – they invert or reverse what we on the the surface believe to be the normal state of temp change with elevation- a crease with height  Above tropopause is Stratopause – temp remains constant
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