final term paper

final term paper - Peter Leung SAS 005 California Geography...

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Peter Leung SAS 005 California Geography December, 6, 2007 History of “The Bay” The great state of California is full of diversity and culture, from the cold, desolate ranching economies of the Modoc Plateau in the northeast to the warm bustling beach culture of the Los Angeles basin in the southwest. This diversity is perfectly exemplified in the San Francisco Bay Area region where there is a variety of people, climates and natural flora. Throughout history, people have been chosen the bay area region as a settling point because of the geographical qualities the area posses’. Just as the types of settlers have changed, the interactions with the physical environment have also changed. As more people settled in the Bay Area and cultures and societies became more technologically modern, more environmental obstacles had to be overcome to support the evolving living standards. The Bay Area is on the central west coast of California and it is basically the terrestrial land that surrounds the San Francisco Bay. This land is split up into the north bay, east bay, and south bay. 1
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The San Francisco Bay Area is actually very unique in the world, as it “has the world’s largest natural harbors” (Selby 30). An important drawing factor of the Bay Area is its climate. According to Dianne Meredith, the Bay Area is one of five places in the world that has a predominantly Mediterranean climate which means that usually there are wet cool winters and dry warm summers. The reason that the Bay Area has such a mild climate is because of three geographical features, its latitude, coastal influence, and elevation. Cooler temperatures, precipitation, and decreased sun intensity are the result of the Bay Area being relatively north of the equator. Since the Bay Area is on the coast right next to a big body of water, which heats up slower and retains heat longer, temperature fluctuations are not as extreme as inland areas. Also coastal air masses form an insulating blanket that keeps the temperature from changing too much. However, this coastal influence also brings a cold “Marine Layer” to the Bay Area during the summer. This thick layer of fog that blankets the coastal parts and sometimes even extends to the inland parts is caused by an advection fog which is caused by having the air above the ocean cool and get blown in by the cold California current. The different elevation levels of the different parts of the Bay Area also influences climates, as the elevation rises, the average temperature decreases. This is calculated using the Temperature Lapse Rate formula which says the temperature decreases 3.5°F. every 1,000 feet increase in altitude. Since there are so many levels of elevation in the Bay Area, such as the high summits of Mt. Diablo and Mt. Tamalpais to the sea level beaches of the coastal areas, there is a great variety of microclimates (Meredith
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This note was uploaded on 06/24/2008 for the course SAS 5 taught by Professor Meredith during the Fall '07 term at UC Davis.

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final term paper - Peter Leung SAS 005 California Geography...

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