geol midterm 1
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The earth formed approximately
4.5 billion years ago
The solar system formed approximately
the atmosphere formed primarily
by degassing of earth's mantle
which 3 gases constitute most of the atmosphere near earth's surface?
nitrogen, oxygen, argon
where does the atmosphere's dioxygen come from?
residence time is
the time it takes to fill a reservoir, once emptied
what is the residence time of CO2 in earth's atmosphere?
What is the residence time of H2O vapor?
What is the defining characteristic of of GHG?
absorbs long wavelength radiation from earth's surface
what are 3 most important GHG?
water vapor, ozone, methane
in a closed system, energy is always
the process of transferring energy through thermal contact
which of the following modes of heat transfer requires physical medium?
convection and conduction
the moisture content of the atmosphere
increases sharply with temperature
why does anthropogenic CO2 matter for climate?
it absorbs longwave radiation and has a long residence time in the atmosphere
climate change always results from
any long-term imbalance between incoming and outgoing radiation
Stefan-Boltzman's law states that a physical body above the temperature of 0K emits an energy flux whose intensity varies
as the fourth power of temperature
Wien's displacement law states that
hotter objects radiate at shorter wavelengths
the earth receives ___ radiation from the sun, emits ___ radiation
which of these is not present in a beam of sunlight?
the planetary albedo is defined as
the fraction of solar radiation reflected by the earth
the poles are colder than the equator because
the earth's curvature leads to beam spreading
as the earth revolves around the sun, it experiences seasons because
the earth's axis is tilted
when are latitudinal insulation contrasts the greatest?
the greenhouse effect is a popular term for
the trapping of earth's outgoing longwave radiation due to GHGs
what avg temp would earth be w/o an atmosphere?
What is the earth's average temp?
what planet is a dramatic example of "runaway greenhouse effect"?
which process primarily explains the "runaway greenhouse effect"?
water vapor feedback
specific heat is defined as
the quantity of energy required to raise 1kg of a substance's temp by 1K
why is the ocean able to store so much heat?
- 300x mass of the atmosphere
- specific heat 4x dry air's
in the climate system, thermal energy is defined as the sum of
latent and sensible energies
energy is measured in
when do clouds form?
- when a large amount of water vapor is added to an air parcel
- when cooling lowers the saturation vapor pressure to the point where air parcels become saturated
the pressure gradient force pushes air
from regions of high pressure to regions of low pressure
in the northern hemisphere, Coriolis force
deviates air parcels to the right
the unit measuring force named after which scientist?
atmospheric pressure is a measure of the atmosphere's
what is the effect of clouds on climate?
it depends on the ratio from low vs high clouds
what is the ultimate cause of the general circulation of the atmosphere?
radiation imbalances b/w the tropics and high latitude
on average, hadley cell best described
- ascending motion near equator
- descending motion near 30 degrees
- surface easterlies
poleward heat transport is accomplished by
- hadley cell
- wind-driven oceanic circulation
- thermohaline circulation
without poleward heat transport, the equator-to-pole temperature gradient would be
what are the drivers of oceanic circulation?
- density differences
- wind stress
why are the world oceans important to understand climate?
- heat transport
- heat storage
what is the Ekman transport?
wind-driven mass transport in upper ocean
how is Ekman transport oriented with respect to wind (in southern hemisphere)?
what is thermohaline circulation?
ocean circulation due to lateral differences in temperature and salinity
why is thermohaline circulation important for climate?
- it transports heat northward to the nordic seas, explaining why norway's coast is free of permanent sea-ice cover
- it can play a role in abrupt climate change because of its sensitivity to freshening
- it also carries CO2 into the deep, sequestering it from the atmosphere
polewards of 20 degrees latitude, most of the heat transport is accomplished by the
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