Chap 2: Solar Energy, Seasons, and the Atmosphere

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91 terms · Chapter 2 of Elemental Geosystems (Christopherson), 4th edition

surpluses

The equatorial region experiences energy ________ (surpluses? deficits?)

deficits

The polar regions experience energy ________ (surpluses? deficits?)

the Milky Way Galaxy

A flattened, disk-shaped mass estimated to contain nearly 400 billion stars

gravity

The key organizing force in the condensing solar nebula (and creation of our Solar System)

planetesimal hypothesis

The concept that suns condense from nebular clouds and planetestimals form in orbits around their central masses.

light

what moves at about 6 trillion miles per year? (the speed of_______)

8 minutes, 20 seconds

Light from the Sun reaches Earth in an average of __minutes, __seconds

perihelion

Earth at its closest position to the Sun (occurs on January 3rd)

aphelion

Earth at its farthest position from the Sun (occurs on July 4th)

Sun

The ______ is the only object in the entire Solar System that produces thermonuclear energy.

fusion

Hydrogen atoms are joined in this process, which takes place within the Sun and results in the release of great amounts of energy.

solar wind

The Sun constantly emits ionized (electrically charged) particles that surge outward in all directions from the Sun's surface. This phenomenon is called:

sunspots

large magnetic storms on the Sun's surface

magnetosphere

A magnetic field surrounding the Earth, which deflects much of the solar wind so that only a small portion of it enters the atmosphere

auroras

Lighting effects that occur in the upper atmosphere when absorbed energy is rereadiated as light energy of varying colors.

aurora borealis

northern lights

aurora australis

southern lights

true

true / false: the Sun is way, way, way, way bigger than the Earth (see figure 2.2)

electromagnetic energy

The key solar input to life

electromagnetic spectrum

The whole spectrum of radiant energy is called the ________ _________

false

true / false: Everything on the electromagnetic spectrum is from solar radiation

wavelength

The distance between corresponding points on any two successive waves.

frequency

The number of waves passing a fixed point in one second (the speed of the waves)

50%

Approximately what percentage of the Sun's emitted radiant energy is composed of VISIBLE light wavelengths? (p.40)

true

true / false: Because hotter objects usually emit shorter wavelengths, the Sun emits shorter wavelengths than the Earth.

thermopause

the region at the top of the atmosphere (about 300 miles above Earth's surface)

insolation

Solar radiation that is actually intercepted by the Earth (which is only a tiny bit of the Sun's energy output). This term is a condensed way of saying "intercepted solar radiation."

solar constant

The average value of intercepted energy from the Sun (insolation) received at the thermopause (the top layer of Earth's atmosphere)

false

true / false: the global distribution of insolation (energy from the Sun intercepted by the Earth) is even.

subsolar point

The only point on Earth that receives insolation from directly overhead. (occurs between the two tropics, 23.5 degrees N and 23.5 degrees S).

true

true / false: All places away from the subsolar point receive insolation at an angle less than 90 degrees and thus experience more diffuse energy.

oblique

rays of the sun that are not direct rays are called _______ rays

seasonality

refers to both the seasonal variation of the Sun's position above the horizon and the changing daylengths during the year.

altitude

Seasonal variations are a response to changes in the Sun's _________, or the angle between the horizon and the Sun.

zenith

The Sun is at its _______ when it's altitude is 90 degrees (directly overhead)

declination

The Sun's _________ is the latitude of the subsolar point (which is always somewhere between the tropics)

the Tropic of Cancer

Which is north of the equator: the Tropic of Cancer or the Tropic of Capricorn?

latitude

daylength varies during the year depending on ___________.

equator

Along what line do people receive equal hours of day and night?

revolution

This refers to Earth's orbit around the Sun, NOT Earth turning on its axis.

rotation

This refers to Earth turning on its axis, NOT Earth's orbit around the Sun.

the length of the year

Does Earth's revolution determine the length of the year, or the length of a day?

24 hours

How long does it take Earth to complete one rotation?

rotation

rotation or revolution: What determines daylength, the deflection of wind and ocean currents, and the twice-daily rise and fall of the ocean tides (in relation to the gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon)?

counterclockwise

When viewed from the North Pole, Earth rotates ____________(what direction) around its axis.

eastward

When viewed at the equator, does the Earth move westward or eastward? (p.45).

circle of illumination

The dividing line between day and night. This circle intersects the equator, which is why daylength at the equator is evenly divided.

equinoxes

With the exception of the equator, all latitudes experience uneven daylength throughout the seasons, except for 2 days a year (March 21 or 22 and September 21 or 22), which are called the _________.

revolution

Is the plane of the ecliptic associated with revolution or rotation?

rotation

Is the plane of the equator associated with revolution or rotation?

axial tilt

The line of the equator essentially exists because of the Earth's ______ ______ (p.45)

axial parallelism

As it journeys around the Sun, Earth's axis maintains the same alignment and orientation. The axis is parallel to itself at each stage. This is known as:

soltices

The 2 times of year (around June 21 or 22 and December 21 or 22) that mark the times when the Sun's declination places it directly over one of the 2 tropics.

tropics

The 2 ______ are the parallels of latitude that represent the Sun's farthest northerly or southerly position.

declination

Soltices and equinoxes are based upon the Sun's __________, which is the location of the subsolar point

vernal

The September equinox is also called the autumnal equinox. The March equinox is also called the _______ equinox.

air

a simple additive mixture of gases that is naturally odorless, colorless, tasteless, and formless, blended so throughly that it behaves as if it were a single gas.

exosphere

The atmosphere is considered to go up 300 miles from Earth's surface. Past this point, the atmosphere is basically a vacuum, and is called the "outer sphere" or __________.

air pressure

The weight (force over a unit area) of the atmosphere, or ___ ________, pushes in on all of us (it also exists inside of us, pushing us outward and keeping us from being crushed by the air around us!)

barometer

This instrument measures air pressure.

composition

The heterosphere and the homosphere are regions based on the atmosphere's (composition, temperature, or function?)

heterosphere

The outer atmosphere in terms of composition. This region is not uniform; its gases are not evenly mixed. Less than 0.001% of the atmosphere's mass is in this region.

homosphere

The inner atmosphere in terms of composition. The blend of gases is nearly uniform in this region.

the ozone layer

This layer is one of the exceptions to the compositional uniformity of the homosphere (along with variations in water vapor, carbon dioxide, pollutants, and some chemicals).

food

Nitrogen is essential for life, but we breathe out all of the nitrogen we breathe in because we get our nitrogen through _____.

carbon dioxide

The percentage of this compound in the atmosphere has been increasing over the past 200 years as a result of human activities. It is important in maintaining global temperatures.

temperature

The thermosphere, mesosphere, stratosphere, and troposphere are regions based on the atmosphere's (composition, temperature, or function?)

thermosphere

A layer of the atmosphere (when classified by temperature) that roughly corresponds to the heterosphere (a compositional layer of the atmosphere).

kinetic energy

The energy of motion, the vibrational energy that we measure as temperature (helps explain the difference between temperature and heat).

sensible heat

Kinetic energy transmitted such that we can measure its temperature.

mesosphere

The highest atmopsheric temperature region of the three temperature regions that align with the homosphere.

stratosphere

The middle atmospheric temperature region of the three temperature regions that align with the homosphere. The location of the ozone layer.

troposphere

The final layer encountered by incoming solar radiation. Home of the biosphere, that atmospheric layer that supports life, and the region of principal weather activity.

troposphere

Which layer of the atmosphere contains about 90% of the total mass of the atmosphere, and the bulk of all water vapor, clouds, weather, air pollution, and life forms?

normal lapse rate

Temperatures decrease rapidly with increasing altitude at an average of 3.5 degrees per 1000 feet, a rate known as the ______ ______ ______.

environmental lapse rate

The actual lapse rate (rate of temperature decrease at increasing altitudes) at any particular time and place, which may deviate considerably because of local weather conditions.

function

the ionosphere and the ozonosphere (ozone layer) are regions based on the atmosphere's (composition, temperature, or function?)

ionosphere

The outer functional layer of the atmosphere. It absorbs cosmic rays, gamma rays, X-rays, and shorter wavelengths of ultraviolet radiation (it gets its name because it changes atoms to positively charged ions)

ionosphere

The auroral lights usually occur in this functional layer of the atmosphere.

ozonosphere

A functional layer of the atmosphere: the part of the stratosphere that contains an increased level of ozone (remember that ozone is has 3 oxygen atoms).

true

true / false: ozone is highly reactive.

false

true / false: ozone is bad because it doesn't filter most harmful ultraviolet radiation.

temperature inversion

This occurs when the normal temperature decrease with altitude (normal lapse rate) begins to increase at some altitude.

anthropogenic

human-caused

60%

In the U.S., approx. what percentage of anthropogenic air pollution is caused by automobiles?

photochemical smog

results from the interaction of sunlight and the combusiton products in automboile and truck exhaust. It is the major component of anthropogenic air pollution.

true

true / false: peroxyacetyl nitrates (PAN) produce no known health effect in humans, but are damaging to plants/crops/forests

industrial smog

The air pollution associated with coal-burning industries.

sulfate aersosols

Forms when sulfur dioxide forms sulfur trioxide and mixes with water or water vapor. Tiny particles.

particulate matter

A diverse mixture of fine particles, both solid and aerosol, that impact human health. Shortened term is "PM."

anthropogenic atmosphere

a tentative label for Earth's next (fifth) layer of atmosphere.

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