Section 5: Global Temperatures

SLOs: temperature scales, maritime and continental effects, global and local temperatures.


Lesson 1:

Instruction

Kelvin (K), Celsius (C), and Fahrenheit (F) all have different scales and different uses.  The Kelvin scale starts with 0 Kelvin, the temperature at which motion in matter stops (-273 degrees C and -459.4 degrees F).  The Celsius scale starts with 0 degrees Celsius, the melting point of ice (32 degrees F and 273 K).  The Fahrenheit scales starts with 0 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature that is really not very useful at all.  Therefore, the adoption of the Celsius scale, based on utility, is the most prominent of the three.  Also, thermometers (the devices that measure temperature) are generally mercury or alcohol filled.         

Photos and Images
(K, F, and C scales)  

Quiz

Using a thermometer that reads Kelvin, Celsius, or Fahrenheit, check the current temperature outside.  What is the temperature?  Which scale do you prefer and why?

 


Lesson 2:

Instruction

Temperature is controlled by latitude, altitude (or elevation), cloud cover, and more.  In Ventura County, temperature near the Pacific Ocean is moderated by the maritime effects.  The maritime, or marine, effects is a term used to describe the moderating influences of large water bodies (usually oceans) on land masses and atmospheres nearby.  These landmasses are usually in the form of coastlines and islands.  The opposite term, continental effects, is used to describe a condition of the continent mass and atmospheres far away from the large water bodies.  Locations that exhibit continental effects have a larger range in temperature than those that exhibit maritime effects.  Interestingly enough, some locations in Ventura County display either maritime effects, or continental effects, or even both at different times.    

Photos and Images

 
 (maritime effects, fog, at Mugu Rock) (continental effects, sunshine, in the Los Padres National Forest)

Quiz

Where in Ventura County are you most likely to notice maritime effects?  Where in the V.C. will you find continental effects?  Name three places for each.  Use Google Earth for looking up specific locations, place names, topography, and so on.

 


Lesson 3:

Instruction

Global mean temperatures vary significantly between January and July.  Remember that in January, the northern hemisphere of the globe is in winter, but the southern hemisphere of the globe is in summer.  Likewise in July, the northern hemisphere of the globe is in summer, while the southern hemisphere of the globe is in winter.  However, temperatures on both sides of the equator have some similarities.  Temperatures near the equator are very hot, temperatures at mid-latitudes are considered moderate, and temperatures at the poles are quite cold.  This can vary because of oceanic and atmospheric circulations, but it generally holds true.  At any location within the latitudinal ranges, high elevations or altitudes have larger temperature range extremes.  And for any set of conditions: the more sunlight, the more warmth; the less sunlight, the less warmth.  Ventura County is in the northern hemisphere, at a mid-latitude, with significant elevation changes from below sea level to about 8,800 feet, and dynamic atmospheric conditions from maritime and continental effects, climatic events such as El Ninos, and weather patterns characteristic of the east-Pacific Ocean.

Photos and Images
    (low winter temperatures)       (moderate maritime temperatures)  (high summer temperatures)    

Quiz

Find an Earth-temperature profile for Ventura County and determine what the general range of temperatures are within our area.  You can use the Christopherson text along with the National Weather Service website and the County of Ventura government for information.   


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2006 Jessica Douglas