THE EARTH'S CLIMATE SYSTEM

Wind and Ocean Currents

EFFECTS OF HEAT TRANSFER WITHIN THE HYDROSPHERE AND ATMOSPHERE

ENERGY TRANSFER:

The weather changes from hot to cold or cold to hot, it gets warmer in summer and colder in winter.The climate transports thermal energy from the regions that receive a lot of radiation to regions that receive less radiation, that is transferring energy from place to place. Energy transfer is the transfer of energy from one body to another.


ATMOSPHERE: The atmosphere is made of layers of gases (Argon, Oxygen, Nitrogen) surrounding Earth.

HYDROSPHERE: The hydrosphere includes liquid water in lakes and oceans, water vapour in the atmosphere, and ice in glaciers and at the poles.


The atmosphere and the hydrosphere are two essential parts of the climate system. Firstly, as they both are able to absorb and store thermal energy, so they act as heat sinks. Secondly, by absorbing the energy and storing it, it creates a big impact on the atmosphere. Therefore energy transfer by the atmosphere regulates the temperature of the earth.


HOW IS ENERGY TRANSFERRED IN THE ATMOSPHERE?


Energy is transferred in the atmosphere by:


  • Conduction: When heat gets transferred in solids and fluids by molecules bumping into each other.
  • Convection: When molecules (heat) moves throughout a liquid or gas.
  • Radiation: When particles or waves are transferred in a medium or space, in the form of electromagnetic waves.
Energy transfer in atmosphere and hydrosphere

EFFECTS OF HEAT TRANSFER ON AIR AND WATER CURRENTS

WIND CURRENTS AND CLIMATE:

When the wind travels across oceans, the clouds pick up water vapour, eventually bringing rain on land regions. Regions with prevailing winds, close to oceans, have a higher amount of precipitation. If wind is coming from a cold region, it brings coldness and vice versa.


OCEAN CURRENTS AND CLIMATE:

Warm ocean currents heat the air above when the air reaches land, it heats the land and produces precipitation.

Cold ocean currents cool the air above them. When the air reaches the land, it cools it and create desert areas.

INFLUENCES OF WATER IN ITS VARIOUS STATES ON CLIMATE PATTERNS

THE WATER CYCLE: The water cycle is the only way that Earth can be continually supplied with fresh water.The heat from the sun is the most important part of renewing the water supply. This heat soaks up water from the oceans, lakes, rivers, trees and plants in a process called evaporation.


This cycle is made up of a few main parts:

  • Evaporation (and transpiration)
  • Condensation
  • Precipitation
  • Collection


HOW THE WATER CYCLE WORKS?

  • Energy is absorbed when water evaporates from the oceans and lakes, this process has the effect of cooling its surroundings.
  • Energy is given off when water vapour (greenhouse gas) condenses into clouds in the atmosphere, this process warms the surrounding.

Greenhouse Gas: a gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect by absorbing infrared radiation, e.g., carbon dioxide and chlorofluorocarbons.



LARGE BODIES OF WATER AND CLIMATE ZONES:

Large bodies of water have an effect on the climate of nearby regions. Water absorbs and stores more thermal energy than land, it also heats up and cools down more slowly than land. Regions near an ocean or large lake tend to be cooler in the summer than inland locations (the water takes a long time to warm up as it absorbs thermal energy), they also tend to be warmer in the fall (as the water slowly emits stored thermal energy). Regions that are downward from a large body of water have more snowfall in the winter.


ICE AND THE CLIMATE ZONES:

  • Ice increases the albedo of Earth's surface.
ALBEDO: the proportion of the incident light or radiation that is reflected by a surface, typically that of a planet or moon.


About 2% of all Earth’s water is frozen. Most of this ice located at the two poles. Sea ice or pack ice, only a few meters thick, formed from frozen sea water, floats in the ocean near the North and South Poles. Ice sheets are enormous areas of permanent ice several kilometres thick, stretching over land of the Antarctic and Greenland. Surfaces covered in ice and snow reflect more radiant energy than surfaces covered in soil, rock, or vegetation. Most of the Earth’s polar regions are covered in ice, these regions reflect back a great deal of the Sun’s energy, which is why the polar regions are so cold.

THE PRINCIPAL COMPONENTS OF EARTH'S CLIMATE SYSTEM

There are 4 main components in the Earth’s Climate System:


  1. The Atmosphere: The layers of gases surrounding Earth. These gases reach more than 100 km above the Earth’s surface; beyond this height they are present in very low concentrations. Air: 78% - Nitrogen Gas 21% - Oxygen Gas 1% - Other (i.e. Argon, Carbon Dioxide, and traces of Helium, Hydrogen, and Ozone). This proportion of gases changes at different levels in the atmosphere. The atmosphere reflects some of the Sun’s energy, absorbs and radiates some of the energy, and transmits some of it to the Earth’s surface. Once the energy of the Sun reaches Earth’s surface, the atmosphere traps much of it, warming Earth.
  2. The Hydrosphere: The part of the climate system that includes all water on and around Earth. Includes liquid water, water vapour, and ice. (Describes the water cycle and how the large bodies of water and ice effect the climate zones, as already described in the last paragraphs of the last heading).
  3. The Lithosphere: Part of the climate system made up of the solid rock, soil, and minerals of Earth’s crust. Together with the hydrosphere, the exposed lithosphere absorbs higher-energy radiation from the Sun, coverts it into thermal energy, and then emits the energy back as lower-energy infrared radiation.
  4. Living things: Plants and animals change the relative amounts of gases in the atmosphere. Through photosynthesis, plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Through cellular respiration, plants, animals, and other organisms take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Some organisms produce methane. Some gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide and methane, absorb infrared radiation emitted by Earth.
How does the climate system work?

REFERENCES

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION