October 6, 2013

Heat transport to the arctic and the corresponding changes

Put a cold spoon in a hot cup of coffee, and what happens? The handle of the spoon gets warm. The same holds true for soups, and indeed, any warm substance, including air, will slowly impart its heat to a cooler one. Heat energy always moves from a warm place to a cool place.

The Earth behaves in the same way. The equator and the latitudes immediately above and below it do exactly the same thing. See the diagrams labeled “A” and “B” of the Earth’s surface that illustrate this. Since most of the sun’s energy comes into this tropical region, a process was found that distributes this energy. The name given to the first part of the process is called the Hadley Cell. Air currents then transfer this heat to the Ferrel Cell and then on to the Polar Cell.

The two diagrams show how the warm air above the tropic region is moved toward the poles. The “A” illustration is three-dimensional and shows the “cells of air” that encircle the globe. The “B” illustration is a side view of three cells of air that carry heat northward from the equator.

Another diagram of the globe further illustrates this and names all six of these “air cells.” Three of them encircle the globe below the equator and three north of the equator. This image also shows the trade winds from zero to 30 degrees latitude that carried European explorers to the Americas, and the westerlies above 30 degrees that brought them back to Europe.

The significance here is that the normal incoming solar energy together with the extra energy in the atmosphere, which is a result of additional greenhouse gases, is being spread to all areas of the globe. The effects are particularly strong in the North Polar regions, and the impacts here have been profound.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Big shift in Quebec vote

    Being a man of science, Philippe Couillard, premier-designate of Quebec, chose to use a geological term (though his field is actually medicine) to describe what happened in Monday's election, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg A monastery in the Hebrides, after 1,000 years

    Before Father Seraphim Aldea can build a monastery on Scotland's Mull Island, he needs to have a working septic system, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tobias_Sue_012914.jpg Old movies offer more than entertaining TV

    Columnist Susan Tobias and her husband, Toby, are reminded of simple childhood memories while watching an old black-and-white movie.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension
Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns
Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time