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distance measured in degrees east or west of the prime meridian


line running north south around the earth that marks the defree of longitude

prime meridian

meridian running through the royal observatory at greenwich england that marks 0 longitude

time zones

division of the earth into 24 equal segments (15 degrees longitude) marking increments of one hour

international date line

meridian 180 degrees east adn 180 degrees west marking teh change of date by one day from the east x to west x plus


distance measured in degrees norh or south on a line parallel to the equaotr


line running east adn west around teh eart marking teh degree of latitude


parallel of latitude running around the middle of the globe at 0 degrees latitude

northern hemisphere

the half of the eart locatednorht of teh equator

northern hemisphere

te half of theearth located north of the equaotr

north pole

the northernmost point of the nrothern hemisphere (90 degrees north latutide)

southern hemisphere

the half of the eart located south fo teh equaotr

south pole

the southernmost point of the soutehrn hemisphere (90 degrees south latitide)


spinnign of teh earth of its axis, one complete rotation takes 24 hours


motion of earth in orbit around the sun one complete revolution takes 365 1/4 or one year

plane of the ecliptic

plane on which the earth's orbit lies

axis tilt

earth is tileted 66 1/2 deg to the plane of the eclipltic and remains the same orientation throughout its rbit, so that the north pole points toward the sun ni northern summer and away from teh sun in northern winter

summer soltice

date on which one of teh earths poles is tiled most directly toward sun june 22 in northern hemisphere dec 22 in southern hemi

winter solsitce

date on which one of the earths poles is tiled most directly away from the sun dec 22 in north


june 22 in southern hemisphere

tropic of cancer

northernmost latitude (23.5 north) at which the sun's noontime rays strick the earth vertically occurs on june 22

tropic of capricon

southernmost lattude (23.5 south) at which the sun's noontime rays strike the earth vertically occurs on december 22

artic circle

latittude 66.5 norht marking the southern boundary of that portion of the norhtern hemisphere that receives a 24 hhour period of sunlight once each year occurs on june 22

antarctic circle

latitude 66.5 soth, marking the northern boundary of that portion of teh south hemisphere that reveives a 24 hour period of sunlight once each year occurs on dec 22


date on which the noon sun is directly overhead at the equator and the periods of sunlight and darkness are of equal duration at all points on the earth

vernal equinox

in nothern hemisphere march 21 in south hemisphere sep 23

autumnal equinox

in norht hemisphere sept 23 in southern hemisphere march 21


thin outer shell of the earth omposed primarily of igneous rock


layer beneath th crust, composed of partially molten magma


extremely hot center of the earth


portion of eaths crust composed of think (40km) layer of light granie (sial or silicon and aluminum) that floats on top of the heavier sima

ocean floor

portion of earths crust composed of thin (7km) layer of heavy bassat (sima or silicon and magnesium) that sinks below sial

tectonic plate

one of approximately 20 large sections of te earth's crust that diverge collightwith and move relative to one another

mid-coeanic ridge

ridge of igenous rock formed by hot magma (lava or basalt) that penetrated through craks oin te suboceanic crust of teh atlantic pacific and other o ceans

seafloor spreading

process by which lava and newly formed basaltic rock press outward from the mid oceanic ridge, causing the spearation o adjacent tectonic plates

continetal drift

movement of continents that are located on spearate tectonic plate


ancient land mass that broke apart, beginning 160 million years ago, to form contnents as we find them today


process by which a light contental plate overrides a heaveir oceanic plate, wpushing the latter down and causing earthquakes volcanoes and mountain building-west coat of norht and south america

contientnal collision

process bu which tow contnetns collife, creating a buildup of light (sialic) material to form mountains-ex is collision of asia and india to form the himalaya mountains

lateral contact

process by which two tectonic plates slide past on another causing eathquakes -ex is the san andreasfault california

ring of fire

boudnary of teh pacific plate which is the site of numberous and sever earthquaes and volcanoes

solar radiation

transmission of energy fromt he sun ni the form of electromagnetic waves

atmosphereic pressure

the weight of a column of air at a given location

high pressure

the effect produced by relatively colder heavier air

low pressure

the effect produced by relatively warmer light air

pressure gradient

the different in pressure between two locations ausing air to move as wind form areas of high pressure to low pressure

subtropical high

a belt of high pressure located at apprxomiately 30 deg nroth and 30 deg south which psuhes heavy subsiding air outward toward both north and south

coriolis force

the force that owning to the rotation (spin) of teh earth defelctes objects to the rich ((lcokwise) in the northenr hemand to the left (counter) in thesouthern hemis

trade winds

easterly winds, located betwen the equato and 30deg norht (northeast trades) or south (south east rades) that are procued when air oving from th subtropical high in borht hemisphere tw toward the equator is deflected by the ciolis force toward the west

iinter tropical convergence zone (ITCZ)

a low pressure belt of air rising ir along the equator fed by the convergence of north east and southeast trade winds


belts of prevaling westely winds, lcaoted between 30deg and 60 norht and south of equator that are procued when air moving to subtropical igh in both emisphere towards the poles, is deflected by the coriolis force toward the east

westerlies and trade winds

occur in broht hemisphere they are prouced by the same forces they miror one another

liberian high

large semi permanent high pressure cell froemd over siberia during nrothern hemisphere winter (january)


seasonal windflows onto and off a cetain lanmass

monsoon i

is derived from arabic word mawsim, season

dry monsoon

dry offshore winds of winter rpcuded by pressure gradient between hgh prssure zone of cold dry air over landmass and low pressure zone of warm air over ocea

wet monsoon

moist onshore winds of summer, prduced by pressure gradient between high pressure zone of cold most air over coean and low pressure zone of warm air over landmass

solar radiation

emission of energy from te sun in the form of shortwave electromagnetic waves most terreestial raditation is produced when the earth is warmed by absorption of soalr radiation

earths atmosphre

composed of nitrogen (78) osgen (210 adn very samall amounts of water vapor carbon diox and otehr trade gases . Ozone (03) methane (CH4) nitrous oxide (N20)

atmosphere absorption

the earth's atmosphere, like other bodies , heated by absorbing radiation. Most increase of atmosphre tiemp comes from absorpton of terrestial long-eave (rather than solar shortwaves) ardiation, and this radiation is absobed mostly by tthe trace gases (rather than by nirogenn or oxygen)

greenhouse effect

trace gases (CO , ozone, methan, nitroen oxides) that absorb terrestial radiaiton, thus contribution to gloval warming

carbon dioxide

the most abundant and improtance greenoue gas which is prouced both naturally and antropgenically by the burning or decacy (oxidation) of organiz (contains carbon materisl)

carbon cycl

the natural or background produced and absoption of carbon and carbon dioxide


chemical reaction by which plants manufacture fod, by extracting carbon dioxide and water from teh environemtn to make the simple sugar, glucose . the reactio is written 6CO2 + 6 H20 ---> c6H1206 plus 6 O2

fossil fuels

carbon rich compounds including coal petroleon and natural gas, prduced by the accumulation of organic materials under pressure and for long periods of time


the chemical combination fo oxygen and carbon to produce energy ((heat and light) and the byproduces, carbon dioxide and water. the reaction for the burning (or combution) of the simplet hydrocarbon, methane, is written CH4 + 2O2-->C02 plus 2H20


a molecule containing hydrogen adn carbon. carbons form chains of varing length, from the shortest one carbon compound, methane or natural gas, though mid length chains that make up crude oil or petroleum ot very long chains suh as are found in coal or tar

intergovenrmental panel on climate change (IPCC)

a panel of scientists from all over the wrold created by the united nations to evaluate the risk of claimate change caused by human activity.

earth summit

first conference of world leaders covened by the un to address the problem of cliimate change. eastabied the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC)

kytoto protocol

firs tattempt adoped in 1997 to restrict greenhouse gas emission y wmeans of an international agreement

copenhagen summit

meeting of world leaders helf in copehnagen in decement 2009, toupdate and extend the comitments made under the kytoto protocol


mechanism to reduce the emission of pollutants by establishing a market for emission permits

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