Physical environment - Notes

Topics: Ocean, Climate change, Water Pages: 2 (353 words) Published: March 24, 2014
The physical environment
Climate is the most fundamental component of the physical environment. There are variations of climates. Long term climate – distribution of solar radiation
Current climate changes is due to CO2
In 2004 the majority of the pinon trees were dead as a result from drought. Climate affects abiotic process (release of nutrients in rocks) Sun: ultimate source of energy that drives the global climate system. Greenhouse gases: atmosphere contains it (its absorbed and reradiated). These gases include: water vapor (H2O) – not a greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, and methane. Without the greenhouse gases, it would be 33 degrees cooler. Tropical regions receive the most solar radiation and the most precipitation. Prevailing winds: easterlies, westerlies and NE trade winds... wind is reflected by the rotation of the earth. Heat capacity: changes the temperature of the water. It can absorb and store more energy without changing temperature. Ocean water is usually cooler during the summer time than the same latitude... so areas of high pressure from over the oceans. Winter is the opposite, so areas of high pressures form over the continents. Surface water is warmer and less saline than deep waters, meaning that the 2 layers do not mix. Prevailing winds usually go parallel to a coastline

Photic zone: light penetrates and plankton grows.
High elevations have colder climates: air pressure decreases Coastal areas have a maritime climate: little ligt and seasonal variation Albedo: land of surface to reflect solar radiation; is influenced by vegetation type, soils and topography. Evapotranspiration: water loss through transpiration by plants, plus evaporation from the soil. Water is most dense at 4C. Ice has a lower density and forms on the surface. El Nino Southern Oscillation: longer-scale climate variations that occur every 3-8 years and last about 18 months. La Nina: events are stronger phases of the normal pattern with high...
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