Seasons, Global Wind and Climate Study Guide

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1 Seasons, Global Wind and Climate Study Guide Seasons 1. Know what is responsible for the change in seasons on Earth. 2. Be able to determine seasons in the northern and southern hemispheres given the position of the sun and the tilt of the Earth. 3. Know the significance of the Equator, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, and the Arctic and Antarctic Circles. Know the degree of Latitude associated with each. 4. Know what the solstices and equinoxes are and when they occur. 5. Be able to draw the shadow on the Earth based on the position of the sun. Use this information to determine the relative length of day and night at a given latitude, and to locate the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer as well as the polar regions. Vocabulary: rotate, orbit, axis, hemisphere, Equator, solstice, equinox, latitude Global Winds 1. Be able to explain what causes wind. 2. Be able to diagram the global winds on Earth. 3. Be able to explain what the Coriolis Effect is and how it affects wind direction on Earth. 4. Be able to name the three bands of winds in each hemisphere. 5. Be able to explain what the jet streams are, what causes them, where they are located and the reason is it is important to know where they are and how fast they are moving. 6. Know which type of pressure, high or low, is associated with wet weather and which is associated with dry weather. 7. Know at which latitudes there is most likely to be a desert, and at which latitudes, there is most likely to be rain or temperate forests. Vocabulary: Climate 1. Know the five causes of climate. Air Masses and Fronts 1. Know the 5 main types of air masses. 2. Be able to explain what a front is 3. Be able to identify a warm front and a cold front on a weather map and use the fronts to identify the current and future weather in an area.

2 Seasons, Global Wind and Climate Study Guide Seasons 1. Know what is responsible for the change in seasons on Earth. There are seasons because of the tilt of the Earth s axis. As the Earth orbits the sun the tilt of the axis points in the same direction. That means that at various times of year each hemisphere is pointed toward or away from the sun. When a hemisphere is tilted toward the sun it is summer, and when it is tilted away it is winter. There are two times of year when the the axis of Earth is perpendicular to the sun. This when we have spring and fall. There are two reasons it is hotter in summer. First, because the sun is directly overhead providing more intense sunlight. Second, because in summer the days are longer there are more hours of heating and fewer hours of cooling. Seasons are not caused by the variable distance between the Earth and Sun. 2. Be able to determine seasons in the northern and southern hemispheres given the position of the sun and the tilt of the Earth. It is summer in either hemisphere when that hemisphere is tilted toward the sun. It is winter in either hemisphere when that hemisphere is tilted away from the sun. Note that the seasons are opposite in the northern and southern hemispheres It is fall or spring when the Earth is in a position where it is not tilted either toward or away from the sun. 3. Know the significance of the Equator, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, and the Arctic and Antarctic Circles. Know the degree of Latitude associated with each. The equator is located a t 0 0 latitude and is the line of latitude that marks the location the sun is directly overhead on the equinoxes. It is also the that bisects the Earth into the northern and southern hemispheres. The Tropic of Cancer is located at north latitude. It marks the farthest northern progression of the sun above the Earth and is the spot where the sun is directly overhead on the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere The Tropic of Capricorn is located at south latitude. It marks the farthest southern progression of the sun above the Earth and is the spot where the sun is directly overhead on the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. The Arctic Circle is located at north latitude ( ). On the day the sun is over the Tropic of Cancer, the Arctic Circle will receive 24 hours of sunlight. The Antarctic Circle is located at south latitude ( ). On the day the sun is over the Tropic of Capricorn, the Antarctic Circle will receive 24 hours of sunlight. 4. Know what the solstices and equinoxes are and when they occur. The solstices are the longest and shortest days of the year. They occur on the days when the sun is directly above one of the Tropics. The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year in

3 the northern hemisphere and is on or about June 21. This same day is the Winter Solstice in the southern hemisphere which is the shortest day of the year there. The equinoxes are the two day per year when the sun is directly above the equator leading to day and night being of equal length across the entire planet. In the northern hemisphere, the vernal equinox occurs on or about March 21 and the autumnal equinox occurs on or about September 21. It is the opposite in the southern hemisphere. 5. Be able to draw the shadow on the Earth based on the position of the sun. Use this information to determine the relative length of day and night at a given latitude, and to locate the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer as well as the polar regions. See Diagram Vocabulary: rotate, orbit, axis, hemisphere, Equator, solstice, equinox, latitude See Attached a sheet of these definitions was given out in class. Global Winds 1. Be able to explain what causes wind. Wind is caused by the uneven heating of the Earth s surface. 2. Be able to diagram the global winds on Earth. See attached diagram 3. Be able to explain what the Coriolis Effect is and how it affects wind direction on Earth. The Coriolis Effect is the phenomenon that makes wids appear to curve as they travel across the face of the rotating Earth. Winds in each hemisphere traveling toward the poles appear to curve to the East, and winds traveling toward the Equator appear to bend to the West. 4. Be able to name the three bands of winds in each hemisphere. Winds are named, in part, for the direction of origin. Between 0 0 and the 30 0 N and 30 0 S are the trade winds. The trade winds in the northern hemisphere are called the Northeast Trade winds and in the southern hemisphere they are called the SouthEast Trade winds. Between 30 0 and 60 0 in each hemisphere are the Prevailing Westerlies. Between 60 0 and the pole in each hemisphere are the Polar Easterlies sometimes referred to as the Polar Vortex 5. Be able to explain what the jet streams are. The jet streams are narrow bands of high velocity wind blowing from west to east that occur at high altitudes. They occur at the confluence of the Ferrel and Polar, and Ferrel and Hadley convection cells. 6. Know which type of pressure, high or low, is associated with wet weather and which is associated with dry weather. High pressure occurs where cool dry air is descending and is an indication of dry weather Low pressure occurs where warm moist air is rising and usually an indication of wet weather 7. Know at which latitudes there is most likely to be a desert, and at which latitudes, there is most likely to be rain or temperate forests. Based on the information in number 6:

4 Deserts occur where dry air is descending 30 0 and 90 0 latitude remember, the polar regions meet the definition of desert because they receive little new precipitation each year. Forest occur where there is adequate precipitation. This is the areas of low pressure 0 0 and 60 0 latitude. Rain forests occur at the equator because it wet and and always hot. Temperate forests occur at 60 0 because although it wet there the temperature changes with the seasons Climate 1. Know the five causes of climate. Latitude lower latitudes experience more consistent day/night times and more consistently direct sunlight. For this reason they tend to be warm and wet. Further north where there are wider day/night splits and less direct sunlight are the temperate regions which experience winter and summer seasons. Farthest north are the polar ice caps where day and night can last up to 6 months, and the sunlight is very indirect. These regions are cold through most of the year Elevation In general it is cooler at higher elevations and warmer near sea level. Think about the ice caps on the tops of tall mountains. Global Winds and Ocean Currents The global winds play several roles in climate. First, where air is rising there are regions of wet weather. This occurs at the equator and at about 60 0 latitude. Where there is descending air there is dry conditions such as the poles and 30 0 latitude. Second the wind works to help create and move air masses. For example, wind that blows across the warm ocean creates maritime tropical (warm, wet) air masses, while winds that blow across the ice caps create continental polar (cold, dry) air masses. Ocean currents move warm water from the equator toward the poles and cold water back toward the equator. When a prevailing wind blows across these ocean current there can be sufficient heat absorbed or released to control the climate. This is the reason the English Isles, which are at the same latitude as Moscow, Russia or the Aleutian islands of Alaska, have far less severe winters. The warm ocean currents off the coast, and the prevailing westerly winds keep the climate temperate year round. Proximity to large bodies of water. Because of water s high heat capacity, locations near water experience less temperature change through the course of the year than those further inland. This is especially true where the prevailing wind crosses the body of water. Topography mountain ranges can force wind to change elevation which in turn forces precipitation to occur on one side of the mountain leaving the other side of the mountain and the land the wind continues to move over very dry (rain shadow)

5 Air Masses and Fronts 1. Know the 5 main types of air masses. 2. Be able to explain what a front is A front marks the line where two different air masses collide. Usually the collision of two air masses leads to very unsettled weather, such as rain showers, thunderstorms and tornadoes.

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