LITE7_study_guide - Study Guide Chapter 7 Climate and...

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Study Guide – Chapter 7 – Climate and Terrestrial Biodiversity Terrestrial biomes include grasslands, deserts, and forest, which differ primarily because of climate, but are nonetheless connected across the globe. Wind moves heat, moisture, and nutrients around the planet. For example, phosphate- and iron-rich particles from the Sahara Desert are carried by wind to Brazil, supporting primary production in these tropical rainforests. Unfortunately, wind can also move pesticides and pollution around the planet; it is estimated that 10% of smog along the U.S. west coast is from China’s industrial air pollution, not something that is likely to subside in the near future. Human activities affect all parts of the biosphere because everything is connected, which makes conservation a difficult task at best. Weather is the local temperature, precipitation, wind speed, etc. usually measured in hours or days. Climate is an area’s atmospheric conditions measured on a time scale of thousands of years. Global air and ocean currents distribute heat and precipitation in an uneven pattern around the globe, which causes the climate variation we see. Air circulation across the planet is determined by: 1. uneven heating of the earth’s surface 2. rotation of the earth of its axis 3 . cyclical convection cells that circulate air, heat, and moisture globally Ocean currents are created by winds blowing over surface water, which then causes mass movement of water on huge scales. This movement redistributes heat from the sun, which influences vegetation and climate (think about the Gulf Stream that carries heat from Florida all the way to northwestern Europe). Differences in water temperature caused by these variable wind patterns result in differences in water density, creating both warm and cold current conditions. Land mass shapes and prevailing winds cause currents to flow in circular patterns between continents, clockwise in the northern hemisphere and counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere. Heat is distributed from the tropics to the poles by a loop created when cold, dense seawater sinks at the poles, allowing warmer, less dense water from the equator to flow above and replace it. There are two major links between the ocean and the atmosphere : 1) ocean currents are affected by winds in the atmosphere; and 2) atmospheric circulation of air is affected heat from the ocean. El Niño is an example of these links. As prevailing winds in the tropical Pacific Ocean weaken and change direction, the food base for thousands of marine species and two-thirds of the earth’s weather are directly affected. Figure 7-6. Heat and moisture are distributed in an irregular pattern around the planet by 6 giant convention cells , three north of the equator and three south, which give rise to the planet’s terrestrial biomes. Greenhouse gases
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This note was uploaded on 10/02/2011 for the course RNR 1001 taught by Professor W.kelso during the Fall '08 term at LSU.

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LITE7_study_guide - Study Guide Chapter 7 Climate and...

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