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“The Climate System”

by
Khairulmaini Bin Osman Salleh
Professor
Department of Geography
University of Malaya
Researcher
University of Malaya’s Center for Climate Affairs [UMCCA}
e-mail : khairulo@um.edu.my ; khairulmaini@gmail.com

Consultation Times : (1) Virtual (Anytime) (2) Formal (4-5pm after Lectures)
Contents
Earth’s Energy Balance
Energy Spectrum
Global Circulation
Generation of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Terrestrial Events
The Structure of the Sun – The Internal Structure
Core
1. The region where nuclear fusion takes
place to generate the solar energy.
2. T ~ 15 million degrees K.

Radiation Zone
1. Energy is transported outward primarily
by photons traveling through this region.
2. T ~ 10 million degrees K.
3. No nuclear fusion.

Convection Zone
1. Energy is transported through
convection: hot gas rises, irradiates their
energy, and becomes cold. Cold gas
sink to the bottom. Example at home:
Boiling water.
⇒ Solar Granulation is the surface
manifestation of the solar convection
zone.
Earth’s Radiation Budget
• The Earth's climate system constantly tries to maintain
a balance between the energy from the Sun that is
absorbed by the Earth, and the energy that goes from
Earth back out to space. This process is referred to as
the Earth's "radiation budget."
• This “radiation budget” allows the Earth to maintain
the moderate temperature range essential for life as we
know it.
• The components of the Earth system that are important
to the radiation budget are the planet's surface,
atmosphere, and clouds.
Energy Balance
Comparison -Earth & Sun Radiation
• Sun – more energy
& shorter wavelength
• Earth-lower energy
and longer wavelength
Energy Spectrum
Energy Spectrum

9% 41% 50%
Proportion of solar energy reaching Earth
Wavelength and Energy
Figure fromwww.geog.ucsb.edu/~joel/g110_w03/chapt02/sun_angle/agburt2_02_11.jpg
January Average Temperature Distribution
July Average Temperature Distribution
Seasonal Albedo Changes
Annual Radiation Surplus and Deficit as a Function of Latitude
Solar Radiation Received at Earth’s Surface
Global Energy Transport
Intense radiation at the
equator warms the air
Air cools as it
rises, moisture
condenses and
falls as rain

Warm air rises,


collecting moisture

Lots of rain in the tropics!


Rising air is now dry…

some of the rising some of the rising


air flows north air flows south

Dry air descends …and at around


at around 30º N 30º S

Deserts Deserts
The descending air flows N and S
Question These are called circulation
cells – the basic units of
Vertical atmospheric circulation
Circulation patterns
repeat at 30-60º and ? cells
60-90º…

Wet
Dry Dry

Wet ? cells (30 - 60º) Wet

? cells (60-90º)
Dry Dry
Air rises and falls
in Hadley, Ferrel, and
Polar cells
(vertical circulation)

Circulation cells
explain global
distribution of
rainfall

Earth’s rotation
determines
wind direction
(horizontal circulation,
Coriolis force)
Winds on a NON-rotating earth flow north-south

– single cell
– response to
differential
heating
– Pole wards
transport of
heat
– air rises at
Equator
– descends at
Poles
simple circulation prevented by “Coriolis” effect. Coriolis effect due to Earth’s spherical
shape and it’s rotation
– function of
latitude
• zero at
Equator
• maximum
at Poles
– Southern
Hemisphere
• objects
travelling
from
Equator to
Poles (or
vice versa)
deflected
to left
– Northern
Hemisphere
• objects
travelling
from
Equator to
Poles (or
vice versa)
deflected
to right
General Circulation
Global wind patterns generate Global Oceanic Circulation
The Global Water Cycle
Atmospheric, Oceanic and Terrestrial Systems