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How does the global system affect climates?

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Carl Trett 30th January 2004 How does the global system affect climates? The global pattern of climate is affected by: * latitude * land and sea * relief * ocean currents Latitude The Equator receives greater amounts of solar heating than latitudes further north or south. Places therefore nearer the Equator are much warmer than those closer to the Poles. Nearer the Poles precipitation will be more variable with lower temperatures. More will fall as snow, covering the ground for long periods in winter. The amount of solar energy received by each hemisphere varies because of the tilt of the Earth and its orbit around the sun. This gives summer and winter seasons. Places nearer the Poles have greater differences between summer and winter in temperature and precipitation. At the Equator air, warmed from below, becomes less dense and is forced to rise as strong convection currents, creating low pressure at the surface (ITCZ). ...read more.


Warm, moist Trade Winds from over the Atlantic Ocean bring heavy summer rains. In December when the overhead sun is south of the Equator the sub-tropical high pressure zone moves south over the Tropic of Cancer. The hot descending air gives a winter dry season. Around 60? north and south of the Equator the global circulation of air produces another zone of low pressure, where warm tropical air from the south west converges with cold polar air. Depressions form and at the fronts warm air is forced to rise over the cold denser air causing frontal rainfall. In the British Isles depressions can occur throughout the year providing a steady, reliable rainfall. Further south, in Rome, depressions are rare in summer, which is therefore drier and hotter than in the British Isles. High pressure over the Poles, creates cold polar deserts. ...read more.


Ocean currents In the northern hemisphere ocean currents flowing northwards carry warm water from the tropics towards the polar areas. The North Atlantic Drift or Gulf Stream keeps winters in the British Isles warmer and the summers cooler than those in Central Europe. Prevailing winds from the south west, passing over the ocean current are warmed and pick up large amounts of moisture. The precipitation, caused when the air is forced to rise over mountains or at fronts, provides the British Isles with a reliable precipitation all year. Cold ocean currents from colder polar waters have a contrasting effect. Those flowing south along coasts in the northern hemisphere keep summer temperatures cooler and the air drier than normal for that latitude. Coastal fogs occur when warmer air from over the land is cooled by the cold water. In tropical areas warm ocean currents, such as the Kuro Siwo which flows north towards Japan, are the source of the large amounts of energy and moisture that can result in the development of intense depressions or typhoons. ...read more.

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