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Unformatted text preview: Chapter 7 Global Climate Systems Elemental Geosystems 5e Climate Climate is weather over time Includes not only averages, but extremes Today, climate patterns are changing at faster pace than at any time in the past millenia In next 50 years, climate and natural vegetation changes could exceed total of all changes since peak of last ice-age (18,000 YA) Climatology is the study of climate and its variability One aspect of climate analysis involves gathering and analyzing weather statistics and grouping areas into climatic regions Climatic regions are areas with similar weather statistics Climates have a great impact on ecosystems natural self-regulating communities formed by plants and animals Major world ecosystems are biomes plant, soil and animal communities, e.g. forest, grassland, savanna, tundra, desert More on biomes in Chapter 16 Climate Components (Covered in Chapters 1-5) Insolation uneven insolation is energy input for climate system varies with latitude Temperature varies daily and seasonally; principal controls are latitude, altitude, land-water heating differences, amount and duration of cloud cover Pressure most deserts and dry areas located in areas dominated by subtropical high pressure cells Air Masses Precipitation -- wettest places on Earth straddle ITCZ/equatorial low pressure Classification of Climatic Regions Temperature and precipitation form strong basis for development of climate regions Ancient Greeks: torrid, temperate and frigid zones Classification: process of ordering or grouping observations into related classes Helps us make sense of large amounts of information Many climate classification systems have been developed over years Most wide used system developed by Wladimir Koppen, German climatologist (1846-1940) Textbook uses modified version of this Koppen Climate Classification (Appendix C) Six climate classifications on land Capital letters A, B, C, D, E, H used to designate these categories, from equator to poles Five based on thermal criteria (temperature) One based on moisture, as well or lack thereof (deserts & steppes) A = Tropical (equatorial regions) B = Dry (deserts & steppes) C = Mesothermal D = Microthermal E = Polar H = Highland Textbook Categories Tropical: equatorial and tropical latitudes Mesothermal: mild winter Microthermal: mid- and high-latitude, cold winter Polar: polar and high-latitudes Highland: lower temperatures than lower elevations at same latitude (remember normal lapse rate (3.5) Deserts: permanent moisture deficit Classification Categories Tropical Climates Mesothermal Climates Microthermal Climates Polar Climates Highland Climates Dry Arid and Semiarid Climates Tropical Climates Most extensive, occupy about 36% of Earths surface, including ocean and land areas Straddle area between 20...
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- Spring '08