Sunday, November 15, 2009

Phy Science- Temperature Controls

Temperature controls on Earth are influenced by three factors: altitude, location and heat capacity. If you have had the opportunity to visit the Rocky Mountains in the summer you may see snow on the tops of mountains. This is due to the fact that temperature decreases with altitude. We have discussed in class that water takes a long time to heat up and a long time to cool down, whereas the land heats up and cools down quickly. This ability to absorb heat by an object is referred to as heat capacity. Omaha Nebraska (top graph) is located in the interior of the United States not near a large body of water. Omaha will have extremes in temperatures during the year due to the fact that the land will not retain its heat. The graph below of London, near the ocean will have smaller temperature ranges because of the moderating influence of the ocean. We see this effect in Michigan with temperatures on the Lake Michigan shoreline versus those cities inland.

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