Climate has been around for quite a while. It is describe as a weather pattern on a long-term in a particular area or in a composite area or for the most of region’s weather conditions, such as air pressure, cloudiness, temperature, sunshine, wind, humidity, and precipitation, consistently over the span of years. In short, the climate is “median weather”. The climate can also be estimated quantitatively by computing the long-term averages of various climate components, for example, rainfall and temperature. The climate of a particular region can also be explained by the extremes in the weather.
Climate can be studied on a range of land scales. At the smallest scale, local climates influence areas only on a few miles or tens of miles across. Examples of local climatic phenomena include ocean breezes and urban warming. At bigger scales, regional climates gives an image of specific patterns of weather within individual countries, or within climate zones that exist at various latitudes on the Earth. Climate zones include tropical, subtropical, desert, Savannah, temperate and polar climates. Different climate zones reveal variable examples of temperature and rainfall.
There are numerous influences on the climate of a specific place, the most critical of which is latitude. Places nearer the equator gets more sunlight and are much warmer than places nearer poles. This temperature contrast between low and high latitudes drives the general circulation of the atmosphere, transferring heat away from the equator towards the poles. The general circulation is split into a number of circulation cells which define separate pressure zones and belts of wind that are called the prevailing winds. They blow more east-west than north-south because they are deflected by the Coriolis force due to the Earth’s rotation. The wind belts shift with the seasons and also with the climate zones.
Other influences on climate include the oceans, land-sea distribution and mountain ranges. A significant effect can also be seen on regional and even global climate by ocean currents. Mild and humid maritime climates are experienced at coastal areas, whilst the interiors of large land masses have more continental climates, with warmer summers and colder winters. ?
2.0 Identify and discuss the factors that shape the climate at a place
2.1 Distance from the equator (latitude)
Picture 1.1 shows the effect of sunlight radiation from different latitude
The distance from the equator influences the climate of a place. Energy from the sun reaches the Earth’s surface at lower angles and passes through a thicker layer of atmosphere at the poles than at the equator. This implies that the further from equator climate is cooler. The summer and winter day lengths at the poles are different: in summer there is a period when the sun does not set at the poles; conversely, the poles also experience a period of total darkness during winter. In contrast, day length varies little at the equator. Places located at low latitudes (close to the equator) receive more sunlight than places at high latitudes (far from the equator). The types of plants and animals that can live in a place are affected by the amount of sunlight and the amount of precipitation received.
The collection of all the living things in a place, as well as the non-living resources, is called an ecosystem or biome. The most sunlight is received at the equator of our planet, making this area very warm. The biome that exists here is the savanna, deserts, and rainforests. The area between the warm tropics and the chilly poles is called the mid-latitudes. The biomes that exist here are shrub land, grasslands, and temperate forests. High latitudes receive the least sunlight, creating cold climates. The biomes that exist here are taiga and tundra.
2.2 Shape of the land (known as ‘relief’ or ‘topography’)
Picture 1.2 shows the temperature of land decrease with increasing altitude
The higher the place is above ocean level, the colder it will be. This happens because as altitude increases, air becomes thinner and is able to absorb less and retain heat. That is why you may see snow on the top of mountains throughout the entire year.
The physical face of the Earth and the lower atmosphere interact in many complex ways. Just as climate can impact topography, with ice sheets created during an ice age, for instance, eroding vast swaths of terrain, so too can topography engage with weather patterns. This is especially simple to recognize in mountainous tracts, where prevailing climate frameworks must deal with vertical swells.
Air pressure and air temperature decrease with altitude. The closer particles are packed together, the more likely they are to collide. Collisions between particles emits heat, which warms the air. At higher altitudes, the air is less dense and air particles are more spread out and less likely to collide. An area in the mountains has lower average temperatures than one at the base of the mountains.
2.3 Distance from the sea
The sea influences the climate of a place. The coastal areas are cooler and wetter than inland areas. Clouds form when warm air from inland areas meets cool air from the sea. The centre of landmasses are subject to a large range of temperatures. In the summer, temperatures can be extremely hot and dry as moisture from the sea evaporates before it reaches the centre of the land mass.
Landmasses heat up more rapidly than water bodies as it gets solar radiation from the sun, but also loses heat more rapidly than water. In this way, during the hot seasons, most particularly at daytime, the sea or ocean remains cooler than the landmass and therefore reduces the temperatures of adjacent lands . We can therefore say that the sea moderates the climate of the coastline regions by keeping the temperatures not too high and not too low, but instead on a medium temperature.
Picture 1.3 shows the sea breeze and land breeze phenomenon
On the other hand, the continental interiors are really hot during the hot season and during the day, but very cold during the cold season during the evening. We say that the temperatures there are at boundaries or the interior lands experience continentally. Additionally, places close to the sea experience land and sea breezes.
2.4 Ocean currents
Picture 1.4 shows the ocean current throughout the world
The world’s ocean is significant to warming the planet. Ocean currents can increase or reduce temperatures. While land regions and the atmosphere absorb some sunlight, most of the sun’s radiation is absorbed by the ocean. Especially in the tropical waters around the equator, the ocean acts as an enormous, heat-retaining solar panel. Earth’s atmosphere additionally has an impact in this process, helping to retain heat that would otherwise quickly radiate into space after dusk. The ocean doesn’t simply just store solar radiation; it also helps to disperses heat around the globe. When water particles are heated, they trade freely with the air in a process called evaporation. Ocean water is continually evaporating, increasing the temperature and humidity of the surrounding air to form rain and storms that are then carried by trade winds, often immense distances.
Outside of Earth tropical zones, climate designs are driven largely by ocean currents. Ocean currents act much like a conveyer belt, transporting warm water and precipitation from the equator toward the poles and cold water from the poles back to the tropics. Therefore, currents regulate global climate, neutralizing the uneven distribution of solar radiation reaching Earth’s surface. Without currents, regional temperatures would be more extreme, which is super-hot at the equator and super cold toward the poles, that would mean Earth’s land much less to be habitable.?
2.5 Direction of prevailing winds
Picture 1.5 shows the direction of prevailing winds
Prevailing winds are winds that blow consistently in a provided direction over a specific areas on Earth. Due to variable factors such as uneven heating from the Sun and the Earth’s rotation, these winds shift at various latitudes on Earth. Prevailing winds are essential for determining areas of wind farms in order to generate electricity. The amount of precipitation that distinctive regions receive can also be measured by prevailing winds. In Southeastern Asia, these breezes result in the formation of storms and deserts. The West coast of South and North America receives abundant rain during the winter because to these breezes as well.
The prevailing winds is known for their three different cell which is the Hadley cell . Low latitude air flow toward the equator that when heated, ascends vertically, with poleward movement in the upper atmosphere. This forms a convection cell that dominates tropical and sub-tropical climates. Next is the Ferrel cell, a mid-latitude mean atmospheric circulation cell for weather named by Ferrel in the nineteenth century. In this cell the wind move poleward and eastbound close to the surface and equatorward and westward at higher amounts. Lastly, the Polar cell where Air rises, separates, and goes toward the poles. Once over the poles, the air sinks, forming the polar highs. At the surface air diverges outward from the polar highs. Surface winds in the polar cell are easterly (polar easterlies).
Hot air, being less dense, rises and cold air, being more dense, sinks. Consequently, the rising warm air at the equator turns out to be even less dense as it rises and its pressure decreases. An region of low pressure, in this manner, exists over the equator. Warm air rises until it reaches a specific height at which it starts to spill over into surrounding areas. At the poles, the cold dense air sinks. Air from the upper levels of the environment flows over it expanding the weight and creating an area of high pressure at the poles.
The air that rises at the equator do not flow directly to the poles. Due to the rotation of the earth, there is a development of air at around 30° north latitude. (The same phenomenon occurs in the Southern Hemisphere). A portion of the air sinks, causing a belt of high-pressure at this latitude.
The sinking air reaches the surface and streams north and south. The air that flows south completely one cell of the earth’s circulation pattern. The air that flows north becomes part of another cell of circulation between 30° and 60° north latitude. In the meantime, the sinking air at the north pole flows south and collides with the air moving north from the 30° high pressure area. The colliding air is forced upward and an territory of low pressure is created near 60° north. The third cell circulation design is created between the north pole and 60° north.
Because of the rotation of the earth and the Coriolis force, air is deflected to the right in the Northern Hemisphere. Subsequently, the development of air in the polar cell circulation produces the polar easterlies. In the circulation cell that exists between 60° and 30° north, the movement of air produces the prevailing westerlies. In the tropic circulation cell, the northeast exchange winds are created. These are the alleged permanent wind systems of the each.
3.0 Explain greenhouse effect and how the increase in the greenhouse gases concentration impacts on climate.
3.1 Greenhouse effect
Picture 1.6 shows the process of greenhouse effect
The greenhouse effect is a natural process that warms the Earth’s surface. When the Sun’s energy reaches the Earth’s atmosphere, some of it is reflected back to space and the rest is retained and re-radiated by greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases include methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, some artificial chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), water vapour and carbon dioxide.
The ‘greenhouse effect’ is the warming of climate that results when the atmosphere traps heat transmitting from Earth toward space. Certain gases in the atmosphere resemble glass in a greenhouse, enabling sunlight to pass into the ‘greenhouse,’ but blocking Earth’s warmth from getting away into space. The gases that added to the greenhouse effect include methane, water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and nitrous oxides. The absorbed energy warms the atmosphere and the surface of the Earth. This process keeps the Earth’s temperature at around 33 degrees Celsius hotter than it would somehow be, enabling life on Earth to exist
3.2 How the increase in the greenhouse gases concentration impacts on climate
On Earth, human activities are changing the natural greenhouse. Over the last century the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil has increased the concentration of atmospheric CO2. This happens because the coal or oil burning process combines carbon (C) with oxygen (O2) in the air to make CO2. To a lesser extent, the clearing of land for farming, industry, and additional human activities have expanded the greenhouse gases concentrations like methane (CH4), and further increased (CO2).The outcomes of changing the common atmospheric greenhouse are hard to foresee, however certain impacts seem likely:
On average, Earth will end up hotter. Some areas may receive warmer temperatures, yet others may not. Hotter conditions will presumably prompt to more evaporation and precipitation overall, however individual regions will differ, some getting wetter and others drier. A stronger greenhouse effect will probably warm the seas and partially melt glaciers and other ice, increasing sea level. Ocean water also will expand if it warms, contributing to further sea level rise.
In the meantime, a few yields and other plants may react positively to increased atmospheric CO2, developing more vigorously and utilizing water more proficiently. Meanwhile, higher temperatures and shifting climate patterns may change the regions where crops grow best and influence the cosmetics of natural plant communities.
Even slight increases in average worldwide temperatures can have enormous effects. Perhaps the largest, most obvious effect is that glaciers and ice sheets melt quicker than usual. The meltwater channels into the oceans, causing ocean levels to rise. Glaciers and ice sheets cover about 10 percent of the world’s landmasses. They hold around 75 percent of the world’s freshwater. If majority of this ice melted, sea levels would rise by about 70 meters (230 feet). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expresses that the global sea level rose about 1.8 millimeters for every year from 1961 to 1993, and 3.1 millimeters per year since 1993.
Rising sea levels could surge coastal cities, displacing millions of people in low-lying areas such as Bangladesh, the U.S. state of Florida, and the Netherlands. Millions more individuals in nations like Bolivia, Peru, and India depend on glacial meltwater for drinking, irrigation, and hydroelectric power. Quick loss of these glaciers would obliterate those countries.
Greenhouse gas emissions influence more than just temperature. Another impact involves changes in precipitation, such as snow and rain. Over the span of the twentieth century, precipitation increased in eastern parts of North and South America, northern Europe, and northern and central Asia. However, however it has decreased in parts of Africa, the Mediterranean, and southern Asia.
As climates change, so do the habitats for living things. Animals that are adjusted to a particular climate may become threatened. Numerous human societies depend on specific harvest for food, clothing, and trade. If the climate of an area changes, the people who live there may never again have the capacity to grow the crops they depend on for survival. A few researchers also worry that tropical diseases will extend their reaches into more temperate regions if the temperatures of those areas increase.
Most climate researchers agree that we should lessen the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. There are bunches of approaches to do this, including:
• Drive less. Utilize public transportation, carpool, walk, or ride a bicycle.
• Travel by air less. Planes produce huge amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.
• Reduce, reuse, and recycle.
• Plant a tree. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, keeping it out of the atmosphere.
• Use less electricity.
• Eat less meat. Dairy animals are one of the biggest methane producers.
• Support alternative energy sources that consume renewable energy sources.
Climate is a phenomenon that occurs yearly for a specific long period of time. It affects the region of a place on several terms. There are many factors that shape the climate such as the latitude and the altitude, the sea currents, the distance from the sea and the shape of the land. These factors changes depending on the region of the places. The climate also shapes the ecosystem of the place which let different types of living things to live in different areas. Therefore, the climate is very important for living things to survive and live on earth.
The climate has also undergone rapid change because the greenhouse effect concentration has increased due to human activities. This is caused by the rapid population growth which makes the use of available resources to increase. Human activities such as using transportation, using air-conditioner and industrial activities have affected the greenhouse gases concentrations to increase every single day. The effect of these can be seen as glaciers at the pole are starting slowly to melt one by one.
Although natural processes often changed climate during Earth’s history, they cannot explain the present changes. The present change is caused primarily by an ever-increasing fossil fuel consumption and deforestation during the Industrial Era, which enhanced the greenhouse gases concentration in the atmosphere. Subsequently, the climate will be affected every day but humans can also take their responsibility to reduce their consumption. These will slowly but surely leave an impact to reduce the greenhouse gases concentration and maintaining a normal and suitable climate for living things to live.