Geophysiology - Course Description

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The focus of this block is on the geophysiology of the earth.  From Hadley Cells, the Coriolis Effect and ocean currents, to the pressure gradient force, jet streams and global climate change, we look at many of the complex phenomena that make up the biosphere of this planet.

Faculty:                      Michael Holdrege, High School Sciences Teacher
Class Dates:             February 24-March 21, 2014
Curriculum Area:    Morning Lesson Block
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This course description page introduces an area of the website that is a communications and resource bulletin for the faculty to share details about their classes and special subjects. This message board is a resource for the teacher to post information and impressions about the progress of the class and the students' activities. Ranging from a broad analysis of the learning goals of the year, to the specifics of a deadline for a homework assignment, you will find information about the activities of this class in these periodically updated posts.



26 FEB.  Maps & your observations about the shapes of the continents and land/water distribution.   Diagram of ITCZ with Hadley Cells.  Explain how the convection loops around the ITCZ arise and what causes the band of deserts at 30 degrees N & S of the equator?

27 FEB.  The angle of the sun at different latitudes and how this affects its intensity (+ drawing). Drawing of the earth's 23.5 degree tilt and how that affects the sun's force in Chicago throughout the year.  Drawing of sun’s changing arc over Chicago. 

28 FEB. Factors that affect local climate.  Latent heat diagram. How latent heat manifests in everyday examples like ice cubes in drinks and sweating.

3 MAR.  The Three-Cell Model: drawing that includes highs and lows, doldrums and horse latitudes. The Coriolus Effect.  Don't forget to record your daily weather data that you find online.

4 MAR.  The make-up of air. Air Pressure: the column of air at sea level--what it weighs and examples of how it varies with elevation changes. Pressure Gradient Force (PGF): winds blow from H to L (w. drawing).   Formula (∆ P / d). 

5 MAR.  The three primary factors influencing winds.  Geostrophic winds: with less air density and less friction, how do they flow differently from surface winds (with formula: 1/p x ∆ P / d).  Diagrams of Highs and Lows with and without friction.  Diagram of the way winds curve out of a H into a L due to the interaction of these three forces. Geostrophic winds flow parallel to isobars due to lack of friction.   How can we tell where the high and low pressure areas are by looking up at the cloud movements?  Two handouts to which explanations should be added.  

6 MAR.  Weather maps with analysis.  Circulation.  The Biosphere defined. Circulation and spirals in humans, in plants.  The three trophic levels.

7 MAR. Weather map with analysis. Meandering rivers and spirals flowing within.  Explanation and sketchs of jetstreams.  

10 MAR. Describe how today's weather map relates to our observations of the geostrophic winds at the lake.

11 MAR . Weather map with analysis.  Warmth distribution in oceans.  Horizontal not vertical circulation.  Sketch of ocean gyres with explanation.  Cause of surface currents.  Map of the surface ocean currents. 

12 MAR.  The importance of the Gulf Stream for Europe. The importance of vertical circulation in the oceans. The Thermohaline Current.

 13 MAR. Warm and Cold Fronts, with drawings.

19 MAR.  A few words about Tornados & Hurricanes.  The Breathing of the Biosphere: the Keeling Curve (three handouts).  What are the two main causes of the CO2 increases?  Reading on Global Warming.