CSET 118: Energy in the Earth System

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  1. Diagram the water cycle and describe interrelationships of surface and sub-surface reservoirs
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    • evaporation - liquid water molecules absorb energy and are changed to water vapor
    • transpiration - plants take water from the soil, pass it through, and give it off from the surface of the leaves
    • condensation - water vapor cools and returns to liquid state
    • precipitation - water falls to the surface of the Earth when the clouds become heavy with moisture 

    • precipitation on impermeable surface - runoff  eventually flows downhill to larger body of water and make its way back to the ocean 
    • precipitation infiltration into soil, groundwater - water that fills the cracks and pores in the rock layers and soil underground, slowly flows downhill to large bodies of water
  2. Explain daily and seasonal changes in the sky (i.e., the sun’s position and the intensity and duration of sunlight)
    • axial tilt - Earth's axis of rotation is tilted with respect to its plane of orbit around the Sun 
    • day length is different throughout the year, different is greater near than the poles than the equator
    • Sun's intensity is highest around noon when it is at its highest point each day 

    • summer solstice - Northern Hemisphere is tilted most toward the Sun, longest day of the year, shortest in Southern Hemisphere
    • winter solstice - Northern Hemisphere is tilted farthest away from the Sun, shortest day, Southern has longest day 

    seasons - at any time of the year, one portion of the planet receives more solar radiation than the other, more pronounced at summer/winter solstices
  3. Analyze the uneven heating of Earth by the sun
    • the amount of solar radiation that strikes the Earth varies with latitude - causes seasons 
    • the height of the Sun determines the amount of sunlight that reaches the ground
    • where the sun is directly overhead - rays strike perpendicular and energy is concentrated to small area
    • area not directly beneath the Sun - same amount of energy spread over broader area

    • atmospheric circulation - from the difference in the amount of solar energy received at the equator versus the poles 
    • convection cells - 6 around the globe 

    • pressure zones - air rises at a low pressure zone and sinks at a high pressure zone 
    • pattern of rainfall matches the vertical limbs of the convection cells 

    • heat distribution - heat moves vertically in a convection cell as warm air rises and cold air sinks 
    • heat moves horizontally at the equator and moves toward the poles
    • helps to distribute heat more evenly
  4. Discuss the effects of air movements on weather
    • wind - horizontal movement of air  
    • Coriolis effect - deflection of winds because Earth is rotating beneath 

    • global wind belts - formed from the bottom limbs of the major convection cells 
    • blow north or south with a curve due to Coriolis effect 

    • jet streams - winds that have enormous influence on weather and climate 
    • rivers of air suspended in the atmosphere 
    • found where there are large differences in temperature between two masses of air - where major global convection cells meet 

    proximity to ocean influences climate - oceans moderate temperature because large bodies of water can absorb or release heat 

    mountains are barriers to weather patterns and influence climate 

    • land and sea breezes - wind is created by air moving from high pressure to low pressure zones 
    • the temperature differences between the ocean and nearby land creates breezes
  5. Describe the energy transfer processes of convection, conduction, and radiation in relation to the atmosphere/ocean and Earth’s interior structure
    • radiation - Earth's surface is heated by radiation from the Sun 
    • conduction - how we feel heat on our feet from the pavement 
    • convection - air or magma rise and sink, constant transfer creates a convection current
    • in the asthenosphere - primary way heat is transferred within Earth  
    • in the atmosphere - from differences in temperature between the poles and the equator, Sun is the source of energy
  6. Interpret weather maps to predict weather patterns
    Image Upload cold weather fronts - form when a fast-moving cold air mass over takes a warm air mass, the warm air is pushed upward along edge of the front and cools, releasing its water vapor -> clouds, rain, snow 

    Image Upload warm front - when a warm air mass overtakes a slower cold air mass, warm air mass will rise up over the cold air mass -> creates cloudy conditions, warm humid weather 

    Image Upload stationary front - cold air masses and warm air masses meet, days of steady rain, snow, cloud or fog 

    Image Upload occluded fronts - a warm air mass gets caught between two cold air masses, cooler air moves under warm air mass pushing it up, warm air eventually cools -> cloudy weather with a chance of snow or rain 

    • L - low atmospheric pressure -> wet, windy
    • H - high atmospheric pressure -> dry, clear weather 

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    Image Upload wind speed and direction shown with arrows 

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    isobars - lines that connect places with the same pressure

    isotherms - connect places of equal temperature
Card Set:
CSET 118: Energy in the Earth System
2013-07-06 18:50:46

Science CSET
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