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Chapter 3

# Chapter 3 - Chapter 3 For the Record Air-Temperature Data o...

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Chapter 3 For the Record: Air-Temperature Data o Temperatures recorded daily at thousands of weather stations worldwide provide much of the temperature data compiled by meteorologists and climatologists. o The daily mean temperature is determined by averaging the 24 hourly readings or more frequently by adding the maximum and minimum temperatures for a 24-hour period and dividing by 2 From the maximum and minimum, the daily temperature range is computed by finding the differences between these figures o The monthly mean temperature is calculated by adding together the daily means for each day of the month and dividing by the number of days in the month o The annual mean temperature is an average of the 12 monthly means o The annual temperature range is computed by finding the difference between the warmest and coldest monthly mean temperatures o Temperature ranges are also useful statistics because they give an indication of extremes, a necessary part of understanding the weather and climate of a place or an area o To examine the distribution of air temperatures over large areas, isotherms are commonly used. An isotherm is a line that connects points on a map that have the same temperature. Therefore, all points through which an isotherm passes have identical temperatures for the time period indicated. o Isothermal maps are valuable tools because they clearly make temperature distribution visible at a glance. Areas of low and high temperatures are easy to pick out. In addition, the amount of temperature change per unit of distance, called the temperature gradient, is easy to visualize. Closely spaced isotherms indicate a rapid rate of temperature change, whereas more widely spaced lines indicate a more gradual rate of change. Why Temperatures Vary: The Controls of Temperature o The controls of temperature are factors that cause temperature to vary from place to place and from time to time. o Factors other than latitude exert a strong influence on temperature Differential heating of land and water Ocean currents Altitude Geographic position Cloud cover and albedo o Different land surfaces reflect and absorb varying amounts of incoming solar energy, which in turn case variations in the temperature of the air above. o In side-by-side bodies of land and water, land heats more rapidly and to higher temperatures than water, and it cools more rapidly and to lower

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temperatures than water. o Why do land and water heat and cool differently? Water is highly mobile. As water is heated, convection distributes the heat through a considerably larger mass. Heat does not penetrate deeply into solid or rock; it remains near the surface. No mixing can occur on land because it is not fluid. Instead, the slow process of conduction must transfer heat. During winter the shallow layer of rock and soil that was heated in summer cools rapidly. Water bodies cool slowly as they draw on the reserve of heat stored within. Because land surfaces are opaque, heat is absorbed only at the
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Chapter 3 - Chapter 3 For the Record Air-Temperature Data o...

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