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Essay Notes - EssayNotes 1 Temperature Patterns...

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Essay Notes 1. Temperature Patterns Temperatures on the Earth are largely dependent upon how much energy is received from  the Sun, which varies both with  latitude  on the Earth and the  time of year . At present, the  global average surface temperature is about 15 ° C. Regions nearer the equator are much warmer than regions nearer the poles, with average  surface temperature 25 ° C or higher. In contrast, average temperature on Antarctica is  way below freezing. This latitudinal temperature gradient however, generates a global  transfer of heat from equator to poles via the  general circulation  of  winds , such that the  equator is kept cooler and the poles warmer than they would be if the Earth had no  atmosphere. The equator however, does not experience the highest temperatures on Earth. Here,  rising air generates daily thunderstorms that consume considerable amounts of heat  energy, suppressing the air temperature by several degrees Celsius. The greater cloud  cover also helps to reduce the amount of sunlight. In fact, the hottest places on Earth lie in  the subtropical climate zone of high  pressure  between latitudes 25 to 40 ° , where cloud  cover is virtually non-existent and sunshine levels are very high throughout the year. Parts  of the Sahara Desert, Saudi Arabia, California and Australia can experience daytime  temperatures of over 50 ° C, although during the winter months, severe radiation cooling  under the clear skies at night can drop the air temperature close to or even below freezing. The most pleasant climates occur in the  temperate  mid-latitude zone. Here summer  temperatures rarely go above 40 ° C, and winters are usually fairly mild, on account of the  influence of the warm westerly winds that originate from the subtropics. The changing of the  seasons  also influences temperature. During the Northern  Hemisphere summer from April to September, the Northern Hemisphere of the Earth is  tilted towards the Sun, and consequently receives more sunlight, raising the surface  temperatures. From October to March, the Southern Hemisphere receives more energy  from the Sun. While it is winter in the UK it is summer in Australia. Differences between  wintertime and summertime temperatures tend to be greatest in higher latitudes, and  particularly in the interior of large landmasses such as North America and Asia far from the  moderating influence of the  oceans . Winter temperatures in Siberia and Canada, for  example, can fall below -40 ° C, whilst in summer, they may rise above 30 ° C. The  UK , by  contrast, has a more  maritime climate
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