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Ecology - Essay Example

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Warm air has the capability of containing more moisture than cool air hence the less dense air which is low in atmosphere would rise, expand and then cool at 100C for every 1000m as observed by Molles. The cooled air loses the ability to hold any more moisture and condenses to water droplets forming clouds. …
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Introduction to Ecology Warm air has the capability of containing more moisture than cool air hence the less dense air which is low in atmosphere would rise, expand and then cool at 100C for every 1000m as observed by Molles (2009). The cooled air loses the ability to hold any more moisture and condenses to water droplets forming clouds. On the other hand, when it descends, the air warms and dries. The heat from the sun is distributed unevenly across the surface of the earth with tropical and equatorial regions receiving more solar than the polar and mid-latitude regions. Near the equator, the incoming sunlight tends to be vertically inclined to the ground causing greater heating than near the poles where the inclination is almost horizontal. Similarly, the Polar Regions emit heat radiation more than they gain whereas the tropics gain more than they emit. Near the equator, the heated air would expand and rise while near the poles, the cooled air would contract and sink. Without the transfer of heat from the tropical to the Polar Regions, the tropics get hotter while the poles get colder. It is this latitudinal heat imbalance that causes circulation of the atmosphere. The constant motion of the earth’s atmosphere would be explained by the observation of changing cloud patterns, winds and weather. With wind patterns covering large earth surface sections, the result would be a global circulation shaped by rotation of the earth and solar heating.
Tropics’ high precipitation is a result of the atmosphere saturating with water vapor, then condensing, being gravitated down and deposited on the surface of the earth. North and south of equator are trade winds that blow from northeast and southeast respectively. These two converge near the equator causing the rising of warm air. In the process of rising, the air cools forming clouds and eventually rain. According to Molles, this cycle, referred to as Hadley cell creates temperate latitudes (2009). The cold air masses from Polar Regions interact with the warm air at the temperate latitudes creating boundaries called fronts. There is large difference in temperature of the masses of air that prevail in the temperate latitudes. Cyclones and alternate cold and warm air move towards the east from the west causing high precipitation. Low precipitation would be due to air temperature. The warmer tropic air carries more moisture and loses it on interaction with cold air, normally at mountains where cold air would be forced up and interacts with hot air on the mountain sides.
2. Tropical forests occur near the equator and savanna in subequatorial and equatorial regions. The tropical savanna, a grassland biome ranges from semiarid to semi-humid climate, with warm and wet seasons (Molles, 2009). In tropical dry forests, the temperatures would be quite high before the onset of rains. When the dry air masses originating from sub-tropical high belt converge with moist air from inter-tropical convergence zone, the warm moist air rises and then cools to precipitate as rainfall, resulting in rainy season. Thereafter, the cold dense air descends with increase in temperature and dries up. Tropical savanna has tall grass and occasional trees. In this biome, warm seasons would result to warm air which contains more moisture and its less density causes it to rise higher, expand and consequently cool, forming clouds and fall as rains. During cooler months, the dense air descends and dries up hence no precipitation.
Reference
Molles, M. C. (2009). Ecology: Concepts and Applications (5th Ed.). New York, America: McGraw-Hill. Read More
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