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Climates at (Very) Small Scales ENVS 110 10-15-2008 Influences on micro climate Proximity to ground Vegetation cover (e.g. grass, forest, shading) Proximity to water Vegetation height (e.g., surface roughness  wind speed) Local climates Forest climates

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Climates at very small scales l.jpg

Climates at (Very) Small Scales

ENVS 110 10-15-2008


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Influences on micro climate

  • Proximity to ground

  • Vegetation cover (e.g. grass, forest, shading)

  • Proximity to water

  • Vegetation height

    (e.g., surface roughness  wind speed)


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Local climates

  • Forest climates

    • Shading, trapping of solar energy within canopy, lower windspeeds

    • Influence on soil moisture, lower evaporation rates

    • Seasonal changes


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Urban climates

  • Albedo

    • Natural vegetation  concrete asphalt

  • Shading

    • Vegetation  buildings of various sizes

  • Effect on surface winds

    • Surface roughness, channeling of air currents

  • Aerosols (pollution)

  • Import of thermal energy (AC’s furnaces, etc.)


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Moisture in urban environments

Rural

  • Large storage of moisture in soil, vegetation, lakes etc.

  • Limited release through streams, groundwater etc.

  • Higher relative humidity

Urban

  • Very little moisture storage

  • Efficient drainage

  • Lower relative humidity


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Climate change due to urbanization

  • Less sunshine due to various forms of pollution

  • More abundant clouds

  • Higher air temperatures due to albedo changes, heat retention and release, combustion etc.

  • More turbulent winds

  • Lower humidity

  • More intense storms due to stronger convection over built-up areas


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Mesoscale (regional) climates

  • Often identified with distinctive geographic region (e.g., New England, California, the Mediterranean etc.)

  • Can approach from local (surface) conditions up to regional level, or from global scale down to regional level.


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Climate Classification

  • Greek: polar, temperate, tropical

  • Classifications based on distribution of temperature and moisture

  • Correlations between plant life and climate

  • Mix of climatological and botanical terms (e.g., tundra, prairie, savanna climate)

  • Empiric classification schemes: similar climates based on effect of climatic conditions on humans, vegetation etc.

  • Numeric classification: based on large databases, statistical parameters


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Köppen Classification

Five major climate types:

  • A – Tropical rainy climates

  • B – Dry climates

  • C – Mid-latitude rainy climates, mild winter

  • D – Mid-latitude rainy climates, cold winter

  • E – Polar climates


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others

  • Thornthwaite

    • Based on moisture and temperature “efficiency”

  • Köppen in all it’s modifications and amendments

  • Genetic systems

    • Might address underlying causes of climate conditions

    • Based on airmass dominance


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Influence on vegetation

  • Vegetation depends crucially on moisture and temperature regimes

  • Vegetation and climate maps should be rather similar

    e.g., distribution of deserts, rainforests, prairies etc.


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Examples:

  • Forests:

    • Require sufficient moisture, warmth  tropical, temperate, boreal forests

  • Grasslands:

    • Dominated by herbs and shrubs, drier regions

  • Savannaa:

    • Mixture of grassland and trees depending on local climate conditions

  • Deserts:

    • Very little moisture available

  • Tundra:

    • Very cold, often dry


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