The role of climate Ecology unit 3 lecture 1 What is climate? • Climate: average, year-round conditions in a region • Weather: the day-to-day conditions of the atmosphere Greenhouse effect • Heat from the sun warms the earth, then is reflected away at night. • Gases in the atmosphere (CO2 , CH4, H2O vapor) maintain the earth’s temperature by reflecting heat back towards the surface Latitude and climate • The tilt of the earth causes uneven heating • Tropical , temperate, and arctic climate zones radiate from the equator to the poles Heat transport • Heated air rises, then descends as it cools, creating winds • Prevailing winds bring warm or cold air to a region Ocean currents • Wind blowing over the oceans and different water temps. within an ocean create oceanic currents. Land masses • Continents or mountain ranges can block air or water movement • Rain shadows form on the downwind side of mountain ranges, creating deserts • Why are there different climate zones on the earth? • How do the atmosphere and the oceans transport heat from the equator to other regions? • How do the gases in our atmosphere warm our planet?