Block 1

Incoming Solar Radiation
1st day of Summer & Winter seasons, June 21 and December 21. They have the most tilt. The sun is shining on the Tropic of Cancer/Capricorn
Specific Heat
The amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of a substance by 1° C
Subsolar Point
The location on the Earth where the Sun is directly overhead
the 2 days during the year when the declination of the Sun is at the equator. March Equinox(Vernal) -> March 20 or 21; September Equinox(Autumnal) -> September 22 or 23; all locations but poles recieve 12 hrs daylight
Greenhouse Effect
Causes Earth’s atmosphere to trap more heat energy at the Earth’s surface & within the Atmosphere by absorbing and re-emitting long-wave energy. Of the long-wave energy emitted back to space, 90% is intercepted & absorbed by greenhouse gasses (GhG). Without the Greenhouse Effect Earth’s average global temp would be -18°C. There has been an increase in GhG in the past few centuries, warming the planet

Environmental Lapse Rate


Rate which air temp increases or decreases as altitude changes. Average ELR in the trophosphere is an air temp decrease of 6.5°C per each 1000 meters increase in elevation

Earth and Sun

Rotation, Revolution, Tilt

Rotation- occurs every 24 hrs. Earth spins on its Polar Axis, the line which bisects the Earth. Creates North and South Poles

Revolution- occurs every 365 days. Earth’s orbit is elliptical, not circular

Tilt- 23.5°




– transfer of heat from molecule to molecule

-Vertical transfer of heat

-Horizontal transfer of heat

Adiabatic Cooling/Warming

Cooling occurs by expansion and spreading of molecules

Warming occurs by compression and condensing molecules

Latent Heat

Energy stored and released

-Evaporation is the transfer of liquid to gas; condensation is the transfer of gas to liquid

Land & Water

Heating and Cooling

Heating: Land heats much faster that water b/c it has a lower specific heat

Cooling: Land cools much quicker than water same reason ^

Moderate each other:

Atmospheric Circulation- Air Movement

Ocean Circulation- Currents

Environmental Lapse Rate

Trend of change in atmospheric temp due to lower altitude

Average Lapse Rate: Average vertical gradient within the atmosphere

Temperature Controls

1. Altitude

2. Latitude

3. Land/Water

4. Ocean Currents

Terminator Line
Divide between day and night

Reflectivity of anything

High or low


[image]    An atmospheric pressure system consisting of an area of high pressure and outward circular surface wind flow. In the Northern Hemisphere winds from an anticyclone blow clockwise, while Southern Hemisphere systems blow counterclockwise.


Area of low pressure in the atmosphere that displays circular inward movement of air. In the Northern Hemisphere circulation is counterclockwise, while Southern Hemisphere cyclones have clockwise wind patterns.


A regional scale wind system that predictably change direction with the passing of the seasons. Monsoon winds blow from land to sea in the winter, and from sea to land in the summer. Summer monsoons are often accompanied with precipitation.

Hadley Cell

[image]      Three-dimensional atmospheric circulation cell located at roughly 0 to 30° North and South of the equator. The Hadley cell consists of rising air (Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone) at the equator and descending air (subtropical highs) at 30° North and South.

Polar Front

Weather front located typically in the mid-latitudes that separates arctic and polar air masses from tropical air masses. Along the polar front we get the development of the mid-latitude cyclone. Above the polar front exists the polar jet stream


Dominant winds of the mid-latitudes. These winds move from the subtropical highs to the Sub-Polar from west to east

Global Circulation

Atmospheric Pressure

-Force exerted on Earth by gas molecules, weight of the atmosphere on us
Dynamic Infuence

Dynamic High- Strong, sinking air

Dynamic Low- strong, rising air

Thermal High- Very Cold Surface


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