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6.1: Getting Ready for Chapter 6

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    In Chapter 5 we learned that the temperature at any place is a function radiant energy (e.g., solar and terrestrial longwave radiation) and heat (e.g., sensible heat). The amount of energy and heat may be controlled by local factors such as cloudiness, proximity to large bodies of water, and  the presence of different air masses. The change in temperature from one location to another, the temperature gradient, is a function of the variation in the energy/heat content of the air from one location to the next. In other words, an energy gradient creates a temperature gradient.

    Temperature affects many of the other elements weather and climate, like air pressure and humidity. Warm air has a tendency to rise and thus can promote lower pressure at the surface. Cold and dense air has a tendency to sink and promote higher pressure at the surface. Warm air is more likely to evaporate more water than cold air. Humid air rising from the surface may ultimately condense to form clouds which promote precipitation formation. 

    As we venture further, the role of temperature in determining the patterns in the earth system will become increasingly apparent and important. Plants and animals have particular temperature and moisture requirements for them to live, and thus the biogeography of Earth is closely correlated with patterns of temperature. Chemical reactions are controlled by temperature (and moisture), and thus the weathering and shaping of earth materials is affected. Temperature is important because if our climate continues to warm, the changing pattern of global temperatures will directly impact the future physical geography of Earth.

    What you should already know...

    Chapter 6 examines air pressure, wind and the circulation of the atmosphere and ocean. As you come to find out, air pressure, wind and atmospheric circulation is strangly influenced by the heating and cooling of the earth. Be sure you have a good understanding of the heating and cooling of the earth's surface discussed in Chapter 4 "Energy and Radiation" and Chapter 5 "Air Temperature". A quick review of Chapter 3 "The Atmosphere", and "Isolines" from Chapter 1 will prove helpful.

    Review Questions \(\PageIndex{1}\)

    1. Latitudinal temperature gradients 
      1. are steeper in the winter
      2. are generally steeper in summer
      3. show little difference between seasons
    2. Heat transfer by circulation of a fluid is called
      1. radiation
      2. convection
      3. latent heat
      4. conduction
    3. Closely spaced isolines indicate
      1. a gentle gradient
      2. a steep gradient
    4. The layer of the atmosphere closest to the surface is the
      1. troposphere
      2. stratosphere
      3. mesosphere
      4. thermosphere
    5. The earth rotates in a ___ direction when viewed from above the North Pole
      1. clockwise
      2. counterclockwise
    6. When comparing the temperature of nearby land and water
      1. water temperature tend to rise more quickly than land during the day
      2. land temperature tends to rise more quickly than water during the day
      3. water and land temperature tends to rise and fall at the same rate
    7. Subsidence inversions 
      1. only occur at night
      2. are associated with low pressure
      3. form along coastlines
      4. none of the above
    8. A change in temperature without a physical exchange of heat is called
      1. adiabatic temperature change
      2. diabatic temperature change
    9. _____ heat is released from water molecules and converted to ____ heat during condensation.
      1. sensible; latent
      2. latent; sensible
    10. Latitudinal temperature gradients are steepest in which one of the following?
      1. The equatorial zone
      2. The tropical zone
      3. The subtropical zone
      4. The midlatitude zone
    1. A
    2. B
    3. B
    4. A
    5. B
    6. B
    7. D
    8. A
    9. B
    10. D

    About your score ....

    If you scored 80% or above, Great! ... start reading the chapter.

    If you scored 70% to 80% you should consider reviewing the previous chapter.

    If you scored less than 70% you should consider reviewing the previous chapter and seeking help from your instructor.






















    This page titled 6.1: Getting Ready for Chapter 6 is shared under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Michael E. Ritter (The Physical Environment) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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