Selasa, 20 Juli 2010

How Does the Shape of the Earth Affect Climate?

Because the Earth is spherical in shape, the areas between the Poles and the Equator benefit from solar energy to different extents over the year. Those areas on the Equator receive the highest levels of solar energy, and that energy declines towards the Poles. The temperatures of atmospheric masses thus differ as one moves from the Equator to the Poles.
Those regions between the Equator and the Tropics receive more solar energy over the course of the year, and are therefore hotter, thus giving rise to the “Warm Tropical Belt”. Those areas between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn and the Poles are cooler because they receive less solar energy, and these are known as the “Moderate Belt”. Those areas around the Poles have a larger surface area to warm because they lie at a sharper angle than other zones, and this gives rise to polar climatic conditions.
If the Earth did not have such a shape, there would not be so many different climatic regions, and each would not have its own life forms and human beings with unique life styles. Indeed, one can see how climate affects human beings in everything, from the food they eat to the shelters they erect. In the Poles, where Eskimos live, people live in homes called igloos and wear clothes made from thick fur. In the continent of Africa these are replaced by dwellings made from tree branches and leaves and very thin clothing.
Why Is the Earth’s Orbit around the Sun and Its Angle So Important?
The Earth’s orbit around the Sun and its angle of inclination to it of 23.5 degrees have a major impact on climate.
- Were it not for the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, there would be no seasons. One side of the world would live in permanent summer, and the other in endless winter.
- Were it not for this angle of 23.5 degrees, the Equator would heat up excessively because the Sun’s rays would always arrive at the same angle, and the Polar Regions would be in constant darkness. That means the Equator would be very hot and bright, and the Poles very dark and cold. There could be no diversity of life under either condition, and those animals and plants living at the Poles could never increase due to the cold since no animal offspring could ever withstand the harsh conditions and constant winter darkness and cold. In short, the world would look very different, and might even not be able to sustain any life at all.
A number of automatic systems regulate the temperature in the Earth’s atmosphere. For example, when a region heats up, water vapour levels rise and clouds form. These clouds reflect some of the rays from the Sun and thus prevent further heating of the ground and air beneath them.
The rich climatic features on Earth, the ice-covered continent of Antarctica is home to living beings such as polar bears and penguins, the continent of Africa is home to lions and huge elephants, Australia is inhabited by kangaroos and koala bears, while creatures such as lamas and jaguars live in South America. The same variety of life also applies to plants. Polar Regions have the tundra, home to seaweeds and lichens, while the equatorial belt is full of rain forests that are home to thousands upon thousands of different species.
Different Pressure Belts Enrich Climate Types
There are two low and two high pressure centres in the northern and summer hemispheres. These pressure belts have a significant effect on the local climate. The most important effect of pressure is the winds. The moist air masses forming over the seas produce plentiful rainfall as they move with ease to low pressure areas. In contrast, since there are no air currents operating from the seas (low pressure centres) to high pressure areas in interior regions, these regions receive little rainfall. This characteristic regulates regions’ rainfall and relative humidity factors.
If the pressure systems were not different to one another, winds would not form and it would be impossible for wet and dry air masses to move. In the lack of even the slightest air movement, regions would either be very dry or else receive huge amounts of rain.
If the pressure centre in the land and sea were always low, then moisture laden air masses would always move inland and constant rainfall, floods and landslides would be inevitable.
If the pressure over the land were always high, then land masses would receive no rain at all, and the land would become covered in desert. By the will of Almighty Allah, however, the wind, rain and the pressure centres over the land and sea are so balanced as to benefit all living things.

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