First, a quick look… Now, what controls these temps?

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  • First, a quick look…

  • Now, what controls these temps?

    • Insolation

    • Albedo

    • Latitude

    • elevation

    • Continentality

    • Ocean current

    • Aspect


  • Amount of Sun!

  • What can alter it?

  • Distance from Sun (minor, but can influence)

  • Sunspot activity

  • Convective bubbles on Sun surface

  • 11 – 22 year cycle

  • Low sunpot activity associated w/ “Little Ice Age” (1450-1880) ???


  • Earth? ~ 30% overall

  • Test case; cloudy day/nite vs. clear day/nite

  • Emissivity – measure of ability to absorb and radiate energy

  • Surfaces with high albedo absorb less insolation

  • So, polar ice stays intact (even with long days in summer) in part from high albedo


  • High latitudes = lower temps

  • Low latitudes = higher temps

  • Why? Sun angle, day length

  • Equator? 12 hrs day/nite


  • Colder with higher elevation

  • Why?

  • Farther from heat source (earth)

  • Heat escapes easy in thin atmosphere

  • Thus, high temps at low elevations (Death Valley)

  • Low temps at high elevations (Flagstaff, Estes Park)

  • But, mountains provide an elevated heat source in summer, so many mtn. T-storms


  • Proximity to water body (large lake, sea, ocean)

  • Water moderates temps of coastal locations

  • Why? Heating characteristics of water and land

Ocean currents/wind

  • Water moderates coastal temps, but water temps (and wind direction) also play role

  • East coast vs. west coast


  • Slope facing direction

  • North vs south-facing slope

  • East vs. west facing slope

  • In N. hemisphere

Global water balance

  • Most water stored in oceans (97%)

  • Why fresh? salt (ex. salt on roads)

  • Put water in atmosphere in perspective

  • 1 week in July in AZ = water in Colorado river in 1 year

  • Cold winter day, more water evaporates from L. Michigan than Chicago use in a year

  • North America least precipitated continent (normalized)

  • South America most precipitated

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