Geo Chapter 2 Quiz 2.8-2.13

Terms in this set (57)

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2.1 Earth-Sun Geometry

Energy travels through space as radiation.
The amount of radiation or solar energy intercepted by a particular area of Earth, or insolation, depends on two factors:
The intensity of solar radiation, and
The number of hours during the day that the solar radiation is striking.
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Daily and seasonal differences in intensity are caused by variations in the angle of incidence—the angle at which solar radiation strikes a particular place at any point in time.
The intensity of solar radiation at a given place and time depends on its latitude and season of the year.
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Angle of Incidence Varies with Seasons

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Day Length

Variations in the length of day from place to place result from the 23.5° tilt of Earth's axis away from a perpendicular relation to the Sun.
Places on the equator always receive 12 hours of sunlight and 12 hours of night.
But in higher latitudes, the amount of daylight varies considerably with the seasons.
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Earth's Orbit Around the Sun

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2.2 Energy Exchange Mechanisms

Once solar energy enters Earth's atmosphere, a wide variety of energy exchange processes take place, redistributing this energy vertically and around the globe.
By constructing a budget of energy exchanges, we can see the relative importance of different parts of this complex system.
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Energy Exchange Mechanism

The most important process of heat transfer, a type of energy exchange, in the environment is radiation.
Energy transmitted by electromagnetic waves, including radio, television, light, and heat, is radiation, or radiant energy.
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Heat Transfer

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The wavelength is the distance between successive waves, like waves in a pond.
Wavelength affects the behavior of the energy when it strikes matter; some waves are reflected, and some are absorbed.
Most energy arriving from the Sun is shortwave, while all energy reradiated by Earth is longwave.
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Radiation in the Atmosphere

As energy from the Sun passes through the atmosphere, some wavelengths are absorbed, warming the atmosphere, while others pass through or are reflected, either to be absorbed elsewhere or to travel back into space.
Clouds play a major role in reflecting energy back to space and in this way atmospheric moisture and weather processes can significantly affect the energy budget.
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Greenhouse Gases

Gases that allow much of the incoming shortwave solar energy to pass through but still absorb most outgoing longwave radiation are called greenhouse gases.
Among the most important ones are water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), ozone (O3), and methane (CH4).
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Greenhouse Gases

Although these gases together constitute a small fraction of 1 percent of the atmosphere, they are the most important in atmospheric heating.
Water vapor contributes the most to atmospheric heating.
Human activities are increasing the amount of greenhouse gases, which is believed to be the chief cause of global warming.
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Earth's Energy Budget

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Greenhouse Gas Effects on Atmospheric Heating

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2.3 Latent Heat

Water plays a central role in Earth's energy budget, through a process called latent heat exchange.
This process transfers tremendous amounts of energy from Earth's surface to the atmosphere, from low latitudes to high ones, and it is also the mechanism most influential in causing precipitation.
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Two Types of Heat

We can distinguish between two types of heat:
Sensible heat is detectable by your sense of touch, and you can measure it with a thermometer.
Latent heat, on the other hand, is "in storage" in water and water vapor. Latent describes the heat that controls the state of water.
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Water Vapor

Air contains water in gaseous form, known as water vapor.
Air may hold very little water vapor, as in dry desert air, or it may be filled with water vapor, as in a steamy jungle.
Warmer air temperatures can hold more moisture than cooler air.
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Relative Humidity

Relative humidity is the actual water content of the air compared to how much water the air could potentially hold, expressed as a percentage.
When air is cooled to the point of 100 percent relative humidity, then condensation occurs and latent heat is released.
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Latent Energy Transfers

When water evaporates heat is taken up in the evaporating water and the surface is cooled.
The water vapor condenses in the atmosphere to form clouds and precipitation, and this release of heat from condensation is a major factor in warming the atmosphere.
The amount of energy involved in latent heat transfers in the atmosphere is vast, especially for major weather systems and hurricanes.
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