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Chapter 4: Global Climates & Biomes - Lesson 2: Air Currents

Chapter 4: Global Climates & Biomes - Lesson 2: Air Currents


Explain the forces that drive global circulation patterns and how those patterns determine weather and climate.

Global climate patterns are driven by a combination of unequal heating of Earth by the Sun, atmospheric convection currents, the rotation of Earth and the Coriolis effect, Earth's orbit around the Sun on a tilted axis, and ocean currents.  The unequal heating of Earth is the driver of atmospheric convection currents.  These air curculation patterns are further modified by the deflecting action of the Coriolis effect.  The tilt of Earth's axis of rotation causes seasonal changes in temperature and precipitation as Earth orbits the Sun.  Ocean currents are driven by a combination of temperature, gravity, prevailing winds, the Coriolis effect, and the locations of continents.  Together, prevailing winds and ocean currents distribute heat and precipitation around the globe.

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Chapter 4 Lesson 2 Sticky Note Video

Follow along and take sticky notes along with Mrs. Schaelling. Remember, you can always add more if you need more detail from the book. Also, if you're struggling with the material you can watch the supplemental videos below to ensure your understanding.

Bill Nye The Science Guy on Wind

Heat from the Sun and the spin of the Earth keep our air windy. Dig a lovely plexiglas demonstration chamber... of science. You can see the air get pushed around so does Bill.

Convection in the Atmosphere and Oceans

Addresses how both wind and ocean currents contribute to heating the Earth by distributing the heat provided by solar energy.

The Coriolis Effect

Why do storms spin in different directions depending on their location—and why do they spin in the first place?

Chapter 4 Lesson 2 WSQ

DOK Question Stems