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Climate Change Essay

1918 words - 8 pages

SNC2D Name: ______________

Climate Change Unit Review

1. What is the difference between weather and climate?
Weather is the environmental conditions (temp, precip, wind, cloud) in a particular place at a particular time. Climate is the average environmental conditions averaged over many years (>30).

2. Identify which of the following statements refer to climate and which refer to weather by writing C (climate) or W (weather) in the space to the left of the following statements:

_C_ In central Ontario, snowfall on December 25 occurs less than 50% of the time. _W_ December 25, 1999, was warm and cloudy.
_W_ Hurricane Hortense struck the Nova Scotia ...view middle of the document...

Cool particles fall.

Warm particles rise.

Warm particles in a fluid e.g. (ocean or atmosphere) rise and cool. Cooler fluid is more dense and sinks, completing the convection current or cell. This process occurs between the equator and 30oN to create the equatorial convection cell (and the NE trade winds).

7. a) Describe the climate (temperature and precipitation pattern) of Toronto (1970-2001).
Toronto has a cold winter season with an average monthly temperature of about -4 C in January to about 22 C in July. Precipitation averages about 70 mm a month. And are balanced between the winter and summer season.

b) Explain how the climate is influenced by Toronto’s latitude (43oN).
Toronto is in the mid-latitude region. This latitude experiences a distinct summer and winter season due to the tilt of the Earth’s axis. Direct solar radiation is never received by Toronto since it is north of the Tropic of Cancer. At this latitude, Toronto receives Westerly prevailing winds (bringing warm air from the south) and Polar Easterlies, bringing cold air from the north.

8. a) What is a heat sink? Use an example of a good heat sink and a poor heat sink in your explanation.
A heat sink is any substance that absorbs, stores and releases thermal energy. Oceans are a goo heat sink since water has a high heat capacity. The atmosphere is a poor heat sink.
b) Describe how heat sinks influence local or global climate.
On a local scale, water bodies moderate temperatures in coastal regions. Summers are cooler and winters are warmer near a large water body. On a global scale, oceans and the atmosphere both move thermal energy away from the equator and towards the north and south poles. This is an important mechanism in balancing the overall temperature of the earth and reducing temperature extremes between the equator and the poles.

9. Describe the chemical composition and layers of the atmosphere.
Atmosphere: 78% nitrogen gas, 21% oxygen gas, 1% argon
(Note that CO2 is only 350 ppm = 0.035%!)

10. Explain how the atmosphere and hydrosphere transfer energy from the equator to the poles.
Unequal heating of the Earth causes warm air to rise at the equator. This air rises to the top of the troposphere and cools, falling back down at 30oN. Two more convection cells continue moving warmer air towards the poles and cooler air south.
Similarly, warm ocean water moves away from the poles and gets cooler and more salty. This more dense water sinks near the poles and creates a subsurface flow that returns cooler water towards the poles. This is known as the Great Ocean Conveyor. Since water is a good heat sink, this system is very important for moving and balancing thermal energy around the world.

11. The Earth's rotation causes a rotating effect in weather systems. This rotating effect is called the Coriolis effect.
a. in the Northern...

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