Unit 4 APES (4.4 - 4.9)

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What are the 5 gases in the atmosphere

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What are the 5 gases in the atmosphere

  • nitrogen

  • oxygen

  • argon

  • carbon dioxide

  • water vapor

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what percent of nitrogen is in atm

  • 70%, but most is in gaseous form so its un-useable

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what percent of argon is in atm

  • 0.93%

  • inert noble gas

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what percent of carbon dioxide is in atm

  • 0.04%

  • most important greenhouse gas

  • leads to global warming

  • removed from atm by photosynthesis

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what percent of oxygen is in atm

  • 21%

  • made by photosynthesis in plants, needed for respiration

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what percent of water vapor is in atm

  • 0.4%

  • varies by region & condition

  • acts as a greenhouse gas temp but less impactful than carbon dioxide

  • quickly cycles through atm

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5 layers of the earth

  • exosphere

  • thermosphere

  • mesosphere

  • stratosphere

  • troposphere

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  • outermost layer of earth, where atm merges with space

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  • the word therm = hottest temperature

  • absorbs harmful x-rays & radiation

  • produces northern lights bc of the charged gas molecules that glow under intense radiation from sun

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  • middle layer, meso for middle

    • 60-80 km, not very dense

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  • second level, s for second

  • 16-60 KM, less dense due to lack of pressure from layers above

  • thickest layer of oxygen is found here

  • absorbs UV-B & UV-C rays which mutate DNA of animals & cause cancer

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  • tropo = change

  • weather occurs here

  • 0-16 km, most dense bc of pressure of other layers above it

  • most of atms gas molecules are found here

  • ozone here is harmful to humans, damages plant stomata, and forms smog

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temperature gradient

  • the amount of temperature change per unit of distance

  • determines where layers of earth’s atm are based

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temperature gradient of thermosphere

  • temp increases due to absorption of solar radiation

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temperature gradient of mesophere

  • temp decreases bc of density decrease, leaving fewer molecules to absorb sun

  • coldest place on earth

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temperature gradient of Stratosphere

  • temp increases bc of top layer of stratosphere is warmed by UV rays

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temperature gradient of troposphere

  • temp decreases as air gets further away from warmth of earth’s surface

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what is atmospheric circulation and what are the three main steps?

  • the movement of air around the planet

    • Energy from Sunlight

    • Density properties of air

    • Rotation of earth (coriolis effect)

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steps of atm circulation

  1. More direct sunlight @ equator warms air

  2. Warm air rises, cools, and expands → H2O vapor condenses into rain

  3. Air continues to rise, cool, and expand

  4. Cooling, expanding air spreads out

  5. cool, dry air sinks back down to earth @ 30o N & S → Deserts form here due to lack of moisture in air

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what are the 5 main air properties

  • Warm air rises

  • Warm air holds more moisture than cold 

  • Rising air expands & cools

  • Cool air can’t hold as much H2O vapor (condenses → rain)

  • After cooling & expanding, air sinks

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Coriolis Effect

  • Deflection of objects traveling through atm. due to the spin of the earth

  • causes moving objects to be deflected to the right in the Northern Hemisphere

  • deflected left in the Southern Hemisphere.

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How does the Coriolis effect work?

  • Air @ 30o moves back to L pressure of equator

  • Wind between 0-30o moves from E→ W 

    • b/c earth is spinning W→ E

  • Wind between 30o-60o moves W→ E 

    • b/c earth spins faster @ 30o than 60o

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Why does air move from 30deg to 0 and 60deg? How is low and high pressure indicated?

  • it moves due to high pressure @ 300 & low pressure @ 0 & 60

    • Air rising @ equator = low pressure,

    • air sinking down @ 300 = high pressure

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eastern trades

  • 0 - 30 winds blow E → W

  • Drives ocean current clockwise in N hemisphere

  • counterclockwise in S hem

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  • 30o - 60o: winds blow W→ E

  • Drives weather patterns of N America

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  • All of the land that drains into a specific body of water

    • (river, lake, bay, etc.)

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what determines a watershed

  • slope

  • ridges of land divide watersheds, creating different runoff directions

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what characteristics play a role in how watersheds drain?

  • vegetation

  • soil composition

  • slope

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how does vegetation play a role in how watersheds drain?

  • more vegetation = more infiltration and groundwater recharge

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how does greater slope play a role in how watersheds drain?

  • allows for faster velocity of runoff & more soil erosion

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how does soil permeability play a role in how watersheds drain?

  • determines runoff vs. infiltration rates

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how do human activities impact watersheds, give examples of harmful human activity

  • H2O quality

  • clearcutting

  • urbanization

  • dams

  • mining

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what is the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

  • 6 state region

  • drains into streams/rivers → eventually into Chesapeake Bay

  • mix of fresh & salt water

  • nutrients in sediment makes estuary habitats in bay highly productive

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What ecosystem services do Chesapeake Bay Watershed habitats provide (Estuary and Wetland)

  • tourism revenue

  • water filtration

  • habitat for food sources

  • storm protection

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what are the main Human Impacts on Chesapeake Bay

  • Nutrient pollution leads to eutrophication

  • Algae bloom due to increase of N/P

  • Endocrine disruptors (from sewage treatment)

  • Sediment pollution (deforestation, urbanization, tilling ag. fields)

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How does sediment pollution affect Chesapeake Bay

  • Increases turbidity which reduces photosynthesis

  • covers over rocky streambed habitats

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How does the algae bloom in Chesapeake Bay set off a series of events?

  • Algae bloom due to increase of N/P → decreased sunlight → plants below surface die → bacteria use up O2 for decomp. → hypoxia (low O2) & dead zones

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Effects of clearcutting on watersheds : soil erosion

  • Caused by loss of stabilizing root structure

  • Removes soil organic matter & nutrients from forest

  • Deposits sediments in local streams

    • Warms water & makes it more turbid (cloudy

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Effects of clearcutting on watersheds : Increased soil & stream temp.

  • Loss of tree shade increases soil temperature

  • Loss of tree shade along rivers & streams warms them

  • Erosion of sediments into rivers also warms them

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  • the amount of solar radiation reaching an area measured in Watts/m2

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what does solar intensity of insolation depend on?

  1. Angle: how directly rays strike earth’s surface

  2. The amount of atmosphere sun’s rays pass through

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How does earth’s orbit around the sun & tilt on axis affect it?

  • changes angle of the sun’s rays

  • causes varying insolation

  • The tilt of the earth’s axis stays fixed during orbit

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solstice vs equinox

  • solstices : highest/lowest points of the sun throughout the year, or the longest days and nights || N or S hemisphere is maximally tilted toward sun, causing summer & winter

  • equinoxes mark the start of spring/fall where the day and night are even in length || N & S hemispheres equally facing sun

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What is the March & Sept. Equinox

  • N & S hemispheres equally facing sun

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Tilt of Earth’s Axis Causes Variation in

  • Angle of Insolation (which changes intensity)

  • Length of day

  • Season

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  • proportion of light that is reflected by a surface

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how is light affecting surfaces with high or low albedo

  • high albedo → reflect more light, and absorb less (ice/snow) & less heat

  • low albedo →reflect less light, and absorb more (water), & more heat

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what happens when sunlight is absorbed by the surface

  • it gives off heat or infrared radiation

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Urban Heat Island

  • urban areas are hotter than surrounding rural area due to low albedo of blacktop

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what determines climate

  • largely determined by insolation

  • Higher latitudes receive less insolation

  • Equator receives most intense insolation

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how does geography affect climate

  • Mountains: disrupt wind & produce rain shadow effect

  • Oceans: moderate temperature & add moisture to the air

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Rain Shadows

  • a patch of land that has been forced to become a desert

  • mountain ranges blocked all plant-growing, rainy weather

  • imagine one side being lush, the other side being arid and dry

  • the windward side is nice and moist, but then you pass onto the leeward side, which is dry asf bc it warms as it sinks

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Gyers global surface currenr

  • large ocean circ. due to global wind

    • clockwise in N hem

    • counterclockwise in S hem.

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Upwelling Zones

  • sreas of ocean where winds blow warm surface water away from a land mass, drawing up colder, deeper water to replace it

  • Brings O2 & nutrients to surface → productive fishing

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Thermohaline Circulation

  • Connects all of the world’s oceans, mixing salt, nutrients, and temperature throughout

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El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO)

  • attern of shifting atmospheric pressure & ocean currents in the pacific ocean between South America and Australia/Southeast Asia

    • Oscillates, or shifts regularly from El nino (warmer, rannier) to La Nina (cooler, drier) conditions along coast of South America

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what is the normal conditions of the southern pacific?

  1. eastern trade winds blow surface water from east to west

  2. leads to upwelling on the west coast of SA → cooler weather & productive fisheries

  3. moves warm equatorial waters toward Australia and SE asia → warmer & rainy weather

  4. warmer conditions of the west pacific → low pressure system in the americas & eastern trade winds from east to west across the southern pacific, moving from high to low pressure.

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how does el nino affect the southern pacific?

  • trade winds weaken and reverse direction

  • shifts warm water of equator from australia and se asia towards west coast of america

  • warmer winters in north america and heavy rainfall/flooding in western us

  • suppresses upwelling along coast of sa → better fishing conditions

  • creates drought conditions bc the trade winds blow in reverse condition creating a low cooler pressure system in west pacific

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how does la nina affect the southern pacific?

  • restores eastern trade winds to normal direction & intensifies them

  • stronger than normal upwelling along SA coast

  • cooler & drier conditions to N & S america

  • leads to warmer/rainier conditions in australia and SE Asia

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what is the difference between la nina and le nino’s effects on the southern pacific

  •  El Nino basically reverses the normal wind and ocean circulation directions, which brings warmer, wetter weather to the Americas, instead of to Australia and SE asia

  • La nina restores the original wind and ocean current direction of East to west, and intensifies it

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what are the effects of el nino as a whole?

  • Suppressed upwelling & less productive fisheries in SA

  • Warmer winter in much of N America

  • Increased precip & flooding in Americas (W coast especially)

  • Drought in SE Asia & Australia

  • Decreased hurricane activity in Atlantic ocean

  • Weakened monsoon activity in India & SE Asia

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what are the effects of la nina as a whole?

  • Stronger upwelling & better fisheries in SA than normal

  • Worse tornado activity in US & Hurricane activity in Atlantic

  • Cooler, drier weather in Americas

  • Rannier, warmer, increased monsoons in SE Asia

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