Exam 1: Chapters 1, 2, 3, & 4 (up to adiabatic cooling/warming Flashcards Preview

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What is the study of Geography? Contrast physical geography and human geography.

Geography is the study of places and the relationships between people and their environments. Physical geography is the branch of geography dealing with natural features and processes.Human Geography is the branch of geography dealing with how human activity affects or is influenced by the earth's surface.


What is the approximate English System of measurement equivalent of one kilometer in the International System (S.I.)?

2/3 mile


Why is the phrase "scientific proof" somewhat misleading?

Science cannot be proved. It can only be disproved.


What is the difference between a positive feedback loop and a negative feedback loop?

The key difference between positive and negative feedback is their response to change: positive feedback amplifies change while negative feedback reduces change.


What are terrestrial planets?

There are four inner terrestrial planets. In order, the four terrestrial planets include Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. These planets are smaller, denser, and less oblate (more nearly spherical) than the Jovian planets in our solar system. The inner planets are composed mainly of mineral matter, and except for airless Mercury, have diverse but relatively shallow atmospheres.


What are jovian planets?

There are four jovian planets. In order, they include Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.These outer planets are more massive, but less dense than the inner planet, and are less spherical because they rotate more rapidly.Deep atmospheres and are mostly composed of gases and elements such as hydrogen and helium which are liquid near the surface, but frozen towards the interior. The atmospheres may also contain ices of compounds such as methane and ammonia.


What are jovian planets?

There are four jovian planets. In order, they include Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.These outer planets are more massive, but less dense than the inner planet, and are less spherical because they rotate more rapidly.Deep atmospheres and are mostly composed of gases and elements such as hydrogen and helium which are liquid near the surface, but frozen towards the interior. The atmospheres may also contain ices of compounds such as methane and ammonia.


What is a great circle? Provide one example of a great circle.

The circle where a plane passing through the center of the sphere dividing it in equal halves and intersects the surface of the sphere. example: the equator.


If an idea cannot be disproven by some possible observation or test, can such an idea be supported by science?

No. Science cannot be proven. Only disproved. If it cannot be disproved then alternative explanations cannot be disproved.


Contrast closed systems and open systems.

A closed system is self contained and isolated from Influences outside the system. There is no increase and decrease in the matter of Earth. An open system is where both energy and matter are exchanged across the system boundary. These deal with inputs and outputs.


What are Earth's Environmental spheres?

All of Earth's environmental spheres are interconnected to one another. The spheres include the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and cryosphere.


what is the Biosphere?

The sphere that includes all living things—Plants and Animals.


What is the Atmosphere?

The gaseous envelope that surrounds the Earth.


What is the Hydrosphere?

Comprises water in all its forms.
a. Surface waters—oceans, rivers, ponds, lakes, etc.
b. Waters found in the atmosphere and in underground aquifers.


What is the Lithosphere?

Comprising the rocks of Earth’s crust and the unconsolidated particle of mineral matter that overlie the solid bedrock.


What is the Cryosphere?

The cryosphere is a subcomponent of the hydrosphere. It is the frozen part of the hydrosphere, water frozen as snow or ice.


Is earth perfectly spherical?

No. Earth is an oblate spheroid. Earth's surface flattens slightly at the North Pole and the South Pole and bulges out slightly around the equator. Thus, a cross section through the poles has a diameter slightly less than the diameter of a cross section through the equator.


Define Latitude

A location expressed as an angle north or south of the equator.


Define Longitude

the angular distance of a place east or west of the meridian at Greenwich, England,


Define Parallel

A line connecting all points of the same latitude.


Define Meridian

Imaginary lines stretching from pole to pole and crossing all parallels at right angles.


Define Prime Meridian

The meridian passing through east of London from which longitude is measured.


Why are lines of latitude called parallels?

Lines of latitude are equally spaced and do not get smaller. they are literally parallel to each other.


Latitude ranges from _____ to _____ north and south.

90 degrees north to 90 degrees south


Longitude ranges from ____ to ____ east and west.

90 degrees east to 90 degrees west


What is the latitude for the equator?

0 degrees


What is the latitude for the North Pole?

90 degrees north


What is the latitude for the South Pole?

90 degrees south


What is the latitude for the Tropic of Cancer?

23.5 degrees north


What is the latitude for the Tropic of Capricorn?

23.5 degrees south


What is the latitude for the Arctic Circle?

66.5 degrees north


What is the latitude for the Antarctic Circle?

66.5 degrees south


What is a small circle? Provide an example.

An intersection of Earth's surface with any plane that does not pass through Earth's center (arctic circle).


Define Rotation

Earth rotates from west to east on its axis, a complete rotation takes 24 hours. So Earth's rotation is the rotation of Planet Earth around its own axis.


Define Revolution

Revolution is the orbit of Earth around the Sun. It takes Earth approximately 365 days to make one complete revolution around the Sun.


Define Inclination of Earth's Axis

The tilt of Earth's rotational axis relative to its orbital plane.


On which day of the year is Earth closest to the Sun (perihelion)?

January 3


On which day of the year is Earth farthest away from the Sun(aphelion)?

July 4


What date is the March equinox?

March 20


What date is the June Solstice?

June 21


What date is the September Equinox?

September 22


What date is the December Solstice?

december 21


What is the circle of illumination?

The dividing light between the daylight half of Earth and the nighttime half of Earth. It is a great circle.


What is meant by solar altitude?

angle of the sun above the horizon.


Beginning with the March equinox, describe the changing latitude of the vertical rays of the noon Sun during the year.

The latitude changes from 0 degrees during the march equinox up to the tropic of cancer at 23.5 degrees north during the june solstice. Then it goes back down to the equator at 0 degrees during the September equinox and then goes down to the tropic of capricorn at 23.5 degrees south during the december solstice.


In the midlatitudes of the Northern Hemisphere on which day of the year is the sun highest in the sky?

June solstice-June 21


In the midlatitudes of the Northern Hemisphere on which day of the year is the sun lowest in the sky?

December solstice-December 21


Briefly describe Earth's orientation to the Sun during summer and winter in the northern hemisphere.

Around June 21, the North Pole is oriented most directly toward the Sun, whereas six months later, around December 21, the North Pole is oriented most directly away from the Sun


For the equator, describe the approximate number of daylight hours on the day of the June solstice.

12 Hours


For the equator, describe the approximate number of daylight hours on the day of the September equinox?

12 Hours


For the equator, describe the approximate number of daylight hours on the day of the December solstice?

12 Hours


What is the longest day of the year in the midlatitudes of the Northern Hemisphere?

June solstice- June 21


What is the longest day of the year in the midlatitudes of the Southern Hemisphere?

December solstice-December 21


For the North Pole describe the approximate number of daylight hours on the day of the March equinox.

24 Hours


For the North Pole describe the approximate number of daylight hours on the day of the June solstice?

24 Hours


For the North Pole describe the approximate number of daylight hours on the day of the September Equinox?

0 Hours


For the North Pole describe the approximate number of daylight hours on the day of the December Solstice?

0 Hours


For how many months of the year does the North Pole have no sunlight at all?

6 months


For how many months of the year does the North Pole have no sunlight at all?

6 Months


What happens to the hours when you cross a time zone from west to east?

You add one hour to the time/clock.


What is meant by UTC (Universal Time Coordinated)?

The world time standard reference previously known as the Greenwich Mean Time


What is meant by Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)?

Time in the Greenwich time zone. Now more commonly known as the Universal Time Coordinated.


When daylight savings time begins in the spring, you would adjust your clock from 2 am to what?

3 am


What happens to the day when you cross the International Date Line (IDL) from east to west?

You add a day. If you traveled on saturday the day would become Sunday once you crossed the IDL.


What is the difference between a maap and a globe?

a map is 2D and shows only a portion of Earth (usually a specific area), an a globe is a 3D spherical model that shows and represents Earth as a whole.


Why are physical geographists interested in globalization of the economy?

So they can find insights on the world's most pressing problems.


Why is a distance covered by 1 degree of longitude at the equator different from the distance covered by 1 degree of longitude at a latitude of 45 degrees North?

As lines of longitude approach the poles, they become closer together. latitude stays the same length apart, but the lines of longitude begin and end at the poles.


What is the significance of aphelion and perihelion in Earth's seasons?

The distance between the Earth and the Sun affects the climate and day length.


Why are standard time zones 15 degrees of longitude wide?

There are 360 degrees around the world and there are 24 different time zones. One for each hour difference. 360 degrees divided by 24 is 15.


Why can't a map represent Earth's surface as perfectly as a globe?

A map causes distortions. Shapes and sizes are never all correct.


Describe and explain the concept of a map scale.

Map scale refers to the relationship (or ratio) between distance on a map and the corresponding distance on the ground.


Contrast graphic map scales, fractional map scales, and verbal map scales.

A graphic scale uses an actual scale that has to be marked off and measured.
A fractional scale states the distance comparison as a fraction.
A verbal scale is a sentence that says what distance equals what distance.


What is meant by a map scale with a representative fraction of 1/100,000 (also written 1:100,000)?

1 unit of measure on the map is equal to 100,000 units of the same unit on actual Earth.


Explain the difference between large-scale maps and small-scale maps.

small-scale maps cover a larger area and have less information. A large scale map will focus in on one particular area and hold more detail.


what is meant by map projection?

a system in which the spherical surface of Earth is transformed for display on a flat surface.


Explain the differences between an equivalent (equal area) map projection and a conformal map projection.

In equivalent maps, the sizes are correctly corresponding to the actual sizes on Earth throughout the entire map. In conformal maps, the shapes are maintained across the map.


Is it possible for a map to be both conformal and equivalent?

No because the size of the map differs from the actual size of the Earth and something must be distorted.


What is a compromise map projection?

A map that is neither equivalent nor conformal but is reasonably balanced in size and shape.


Briefly describe cylindrical projections.

The globe is mathematically "wrapped" around the cylinder so that the edges oft he paper touches the globe only at the equator creating a circle of tangency. There is no distortion at this circle but distortion increases as distance increases away from the circle.


Briefly describe planar projections.

markings are projected onto a flat piece of paper that is tangent to a center lit globe at one point usually the north or south pole. There is no size distortion at the point of tangency but it increases as you move away from this point. They usually show just one hemisphere.


Briefly describe conic projections.

markings are projected onto a cone wrapped tangent from a center lit globe. The pole is usually where the apex is. The circle of tangency coincides with a parallel. Distortion is least in the vicinity of the standard parallel and increases the further you move away.


Briefly describe pseudocylindrical projections.

an oval projection. This projection wraps around the equator like a cylinder but it is curved in toward the poles. Usually the equator and a central meridian cross at right angles in the middle of the map. There is no distortion here but it increases as you move away form the point in any direction.


Why is a Mercator projection useful as a navigation map? Why is it not ideal for use as a general purpose map?

It shows thumb lines as straight lines. A navigator can first plot the shortest distance and then transfer the route to a mercator with these straight lines.


What is a loxodrome (rhumb line)?

a curve on the surface of a sphere that crosses all meridians at the same angle and represent a line of constant compass direction.


Explain the concept of isolines.

Any line that joins points of equal value of something


What characteristics on maps are shown by isotherms, isobars, and elevation contour lines?

points of equal temperature. points of equal atmospheric pressure. points of equal elevation


How does a digital elevation model (DEM) depict the landscape?

From digital elevation data, a computer can generate a shaded-relief image of the landscape by portraying the landscape as if it were illuminated from the northwest by the Sun


Briefly explain how the Global Positioning System (GPS) works.

GPS is a system of 24+ navigation satellites circling Earth. We know where they are because they constantly send out signals. A GPS receiver in your phone listens for these signals. Once the receiver calculates its distance from four or more GPS satellites, it can figure out where you are.


What are permanent gases?

Permanent gases have little effect on weather and climate. The three main permanent gases include Nitrogen, Oxygen, and Argon. Other permanent gases include neon, helium, krypton, and hydrogen.


what are variable gases?

Variable gases occur in small but highly variable quantities in the atmosphere and have significant influence on weather and climate. The three main variable gases are Water Vapor, Carbon Dioxide, and Ozone. Other variable gases include methane, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and various hydrocarbons.


Describe the most important permanent gases of the atmosphere.

Nitrogen (N2) 78.08%​
Oxygen (O2) 20.95%​
Argon (Ar) 0.93%​
Neon, Helium, Krypton 0.0001%


What role does water vapor play in atmospheric processes?

Water Vapor - water in the form of a gas/its invisible/most abundant in air overlying warm moist surface areas such as tropical oceans


What role does carbon dioxide play in atmospheric processes?

Carbon Dioxide - significant influence on climate, primarily because of its ability to absorb thermal infrared radiation. and thereby help warm the lower atmosphere.


What role does ozone play in atmospheric processes?

Ozone - vital gas/concentrated in a layer called the ozone layer. 9-30 miles above Earth's surface. excellent absorber of ultraviolet solar radiation. It filters out enough of this radiation to protect life forms


what role do particulates (aerosols) play in atmospheric processes?

Particulates (aerosols)- larger non-gaseous particles in the atmosphere. solid and liquid particles found in the atmosphere (i.e. rain, hail, sleet, etc.) are collectively called particulates (aerosols).


How has the burning of fossil fuels over the last 200 years changed the composition of the atmosphere?

For the past 200 years, the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, and deforestation have caused the concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases to increase significantly in our atmosphere. These gases prevent heat from escaping to space, somewhat like the glass panels of a greenhouse. As a result, temperatures across the globe are risiing.


Describe both the vertical distribution of water vapor in the atmosphere and its horizontal (geographic) distribution near Earth's surface.

most water vapor is found near the Earths surface and generally diminishes with increasing altitude. Over 10 miles above Earth, the temperature is so low that any moisture in the air has frozen.


Discuss the size and general temperature characteristics of the troposphere and stratosphere.

Troposphere - lowest layer of the atmosphere and the one in contact with Earths surface. on average the top is 11 miles above sea level and 5 miles about the poles

Stratosphere - next to lowest at 11-30 miles above sea level.


Describe how atmospheric pressure changes with increasing altitude.

Atmospheric pressure is highest at the bottom of the sea and diminishes rapidly with increasing altitude.


What is the ozone layer, and where is it located?

The ozone layer is the layer between 9-30 miles above sea level. It gets its name because that is where the highest concentration of ozone relative to other gasses.


How is ozone formed and why is it important in the atmosphere?

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the Sun is divided into three bands (from longest to shortest wavelengths): UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. In the stratosphere, under the influence of UV-C, O2 molecules split into oxygen atoms; some of the free oxygen atoms combine with O2 molecules to form O2 About 90 percent of all atmospheric ozone is found in the stratosphere where it forms a fragile "shield" by absorbing most of the potentially dangerous ultraviolet radiation from the Sun.


What is meant by the "hole" in the ozone layer, and what role have chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) played in this?

scientists believe that the ozone layer is thinning because of (CFCs) which are substances like halons/ methyl bromide and nitrous oxide and freon


Describe and contrast primary pollutants and secondary pollutants in the atmosphere.

Primary pollutants are contaminants released directly into the air, such as particulates, sulfur compounds, nitrogen compounds, carbon oxides, and hydrocarbon.

Secondary pollutants, such as photochemical smog, are not released directly into the air but
instead form as a consequence of chemical reactions or other processes in the atmosphere


Describe and explain the causes of photochemical smog.

A number of gases react to ultraviolet radiation in strong sunlight to produce secondary pollutants, making up what is known as photochemical smog


What is the difference between weather and climate?

Weather - short-run atmospheric conditions that exist for a given time in a specific area.

Climate - the aggregate of day to day weather conditions over a long period of time


What are the four elements of weather and climate?

1) temperature
2) moisture content
3) pressure
4) wind


Briefly describe the seven dominant controls of weather and climate.

In terms of elements and controls, we say that the control latitude strongly influences the element temperature. Overall, latitude is the most fundamental control of climate. Probably the most fundamental distinction concerning the geography of climate is the distinction between continental climates and maritime (oceanic) climates.General circulation of the Atmosphere: The atmosphere is in constant motion, with flows that range from temporary local breezes to vast regional wind regimes.General circulation of the oceans: Somewhat analogous to atmospheric movements are the motions of the oceans Altitude topographic barriers: Mountains and large hills sometimes have prominent effects on one or more elements of climate by diverting wind flow storms: Various kinds of storms occur over the world; some have very widespread distribution, whereas others are localized


Describe the Coriolis effect and its cause.

Stated in the simplest terms: As a result of the rotation of Earth, the path of any free-moving object appears to deflect to the right in the Northern Hemisphere, and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere.


What prevents the atmosphere from "escaping" into space?



In what ways was life on Earth responsible for the composition of our modern atmosphere?

human activity has increased the release of sulfur compounds into the atmosphere, primarily through the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum


Why is it inappropriate to talk about a change in climate from last year to this year?

because climate covers day to day weather conditions over a long period of time.


Why does the Coriolis effect influence the direction of ocean currents but not the direction of water draining down in a kitchen sink?

It doesn't except that the water goes down toward the center of the earth


what is the difference between heat (thermal energy) and temperature?

The core difference is that heat deals with thermal energy, whereas temperature is more concerned with molecular kinetic energy. Heat is the transfer of thermal energy, whereas temperature is a property the object exhibits


What is the relationship between the internal kinetic energy of a substance and its temperature?

Kinetic energy is the energy that an object has because of its motion. The molecules in a substance have a range of kinetic energies because they don't all move at the same speed. As a substance absorbs heat the particles move faster so the average kinetic energy and therefore the temperature increases.


Briefly describe the following bands of electromagnetic radiation (radiant energy): visible light, ultraviolet (UV), Infrared (IR), thermal infrared.

Visible light - wavelengths of radiation to which the human eye is sensitive

Ultraviolet (UV ) -wavelengths of radiation just shorter than the human eye can sense

Infrared - wavelengths of radiation just longer than the human eye can sense

Thermal infrared - wavelengths emitted by the sun


Describe and contrast the portions of the electromagnetic spectrum referred to as shortwave radiation and longwave radiation (terrestrial radiation).

Shortwave radiation - visible light, ultraviolet and short infrared radiation. (solar radiation)

Longwave radiation - radiation emitted by earth or terrestrial radiation is entirely in the thermal infrared portion of the spectrum. (terrestrial radiation)


What is insolation?

insolation (incoming solar radiation) it is received at the top of the atmosphere and is believed to be constant when averaged over a year


Describe and contrast the following processes associated with electromagnetic energy: radiation (emission), absorption, reflection, and transmission.

Radiation (emission) - the process by which electromagnetic energy is emitted from an object

Absorption - atmosphere absorbs the radiation and heats up then radiates back out in accordance with Wein's law

Reflection - a redirection of solar radiation

Transmission - the process where electromagnetic waves pass completely through a medium. the radiation isn't absorbed nor reflected. (ie passing through glass)


What generally happens to the temperature of an object as a response to the absorption of electromagnetic radiation?

Increase in temperature


What is albedo?

Albedo - a = amount reflected over amount struck x 100

Albedo - the overall reflectivity of an object or surface usually described as a percentage- the higher the albedo the greater the amount of radiation reflected.


How is scattering different from reflection?

Gas molecules and particulate matter in the air can deflect light waves and redirect them in a type of reflection known as scattering. With reflection the solar radiation goes back out the same way


Describe and explain the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere, noting the two most important natural greenhouse gases.

Greenhouse effect- where gases in the atmosphere readily transmit incoming shortwave radiation from the sun but do not easily transmit outgoing longwave terrestrial radiation- the most important gases are water vapor and carbon dioxide.


What is the difference between conduction and convection?

While conduction is the transfer of heat energy by direct contact, convection is the movement of heat by actual motion of matter


How and why does conduction influence the temperature of air above a warm surface? Above a cold surface?

warm surface: the Earth's surface heats the air above it through conduction because as it transfers the warmth away from the surface

cold surface: heat transfers from the air to the ground making the air above colder


Describe the pattern of air movement within a convection cell.

warm air circulates from the Earth's surface and rises while the cool air circulates towards the Earth's surface


Describe the process of advection in the atmosphere

the horizontal movement of air within a convection cell


how does expansion lead to adiabatic cooling, and compression to adiabatic warming?

(adiabatic means without loss or gain of energy)

cooling: expansion occurs in rising air is a cooling process. as air rises, molecules move through a greater volume in space decreasing the temperature

warming: air descent causes compression because the air is under increasing pressure. when air descends it becomes warmer.


what happens to the temperature of rising air? of descending air? why?

rising air becomes cooler because there's less pressure which means that molecules have a large volume of which they can move about. the opposite happens with descending air


what is latent heat?

any phase change that involves an exchange of energy; like evaporation and condensation -- latent heat can either be stored or released