1. Oceans and mountains have effect on the climate of the areas they are located. Coastal regions tend to be windier because the land and the ocean operate at a high-low atmospheric system. During the night, water in the ocean loses heat slower than land hence the air above the land cools faster than the air above the ocean. Since the air above the ocean is warmer, it creates a high-pressure zone. The air above the land is cooler, hence denser, thus creating a low-pressure zone. To strike equilibrium, it moves from the point of low pressure to high pressure hence moves towards the ocean. The lighter air above the ocean moves towards the land to fill the void. This process goes on and on hence making the coastal region windy. Mountainous regions, on the other hand, are windier because mountains are an obstacle to air movement and passing of the wind through mountains makes it accelerate. Climate of areas around mountains is also affected since at the side of the mountain facing the direction of the wind, the air rises, cools and drops its moisture. The air heats up and descends on the other side creating desert conditions due to drying up of the land. Coastal regions tend to be cooler during the summer period and warmer in winter since water cools down and heats up slower than land. Ocean currents also have its effects on the coastal region climate. Warm currents warm the region and vice versa (Lutgens & Tarbuck, 1996).
2. For thunderstorms to occur, moist air, atmospheric instability and convectional rise of air into the atmosphere are necessary. Most thunderstorms in the U.S. occur in parts of Colorado and New Mexico. This is because of presence of conditions necessary for thunderstorm formation. The Gulf of Mexico provides maritime tropical air that is moist and unstable forming cumulonimbus clouds in the presence of intense surface heating. Areas around mountains absorb direct solar radiation fast, become warm and form cumulus clouds. Presence of winds from the east cause orographic lifting of the cumulus clouds that become thunderstorms. The high rate of lightening fatality in Colorado is due to the timing of the thunderstorms. The unique features of this area are that most thunderstorms occur during the day when most people are not indoors making them very dangerous. According to Colorado’s topography, it is very easy for people to be caught on ‘high spots’ prone to the frequent lightning strikes. The lightning forms extremely fast often with no warning and hence mastering of the weather are crucial. Ironically, thunderstorms in Colorado are beneficial since they are the source of summer rain. Chemical reactions during lightning formation releases nitrogen, which is a plant nutrient (Lutgens & Tarbuck, 1996).
3. Stellar evolution is a process of radical changes undergone by a star in its lifetime that ranges from a few million years to trillion of years which is considered longer than the life of the universe. The life of a star is determined by its mass. Nebulae (molecular clouds) which are collapsing clouds of dust and gas are the source of all stars. The chemical composition and the material in this cloud condense into a star and determine the life of the star. Stellar evolution initial step is the collapse of a giant molecular cloud (GMC) due to gravity. It breaks into small pieces releasing heat when they collide. As temperature and pressure rise, the pieces condense into a whirl of super hot gas called a protostar. Protostars that never reach high temperature for hydrogen fusion are known as brown dwarfs. When the protostar mass reaches temperature high enough for thermonuclear reactions, hydrogen fusion occurs, energy is released exerting ‘radiation pressure’ that balances weight of the star mass preventing further collapse. Eventually the hydrogen supply to the core is exhausted thus hydrogen fusion cannot occur as earlier. The fate of the star after this depends on its mass. There are low-mass stars, mid-sized massive and extremely massive stars. The life of a star is a battle between the opposing forces of gravity and pressure (Lutgens & Tarbuck, 1996).
4. Terrestrial planets are the innermost four planets namely, Earth, Mercury, Venus and Mars while the jovian planets comprise of Neptune, Uranus, Jupiter, Saturn, which are the larger outer planets. Terrestrial planets are close to each other and close to the sun. Jovian worlds are large, they are gaseous mainly composed of hydrogen and helium which are the lightest elements and rare on the inner planets. The terrestrial worlds on the other hand are much smaller, rocky and dense. Terrestrial worlds are composed of solid surfaces unlike jovian worlds whose deep atmospheres thicken as you go deeper and merge with the liquid interiors. There is weak magnetic field in terrestrial planets while the magnetic field in jovian planets is strong. Terrestrial worlds only have three moons among them. Jovian worlds have many moons each, none similar to another and none similar to ours. They also have rings around the planets and have dense and large ‘terrestrial’ cores that are the reason for increasing planet mass as one moves away from the sun. Their similarities are their circulation around the sun, presence of gravitational pull and magnetic fields in both, gaseous atmosphere, their spherical shapes and they are both part of the solar system. The differences in the two types of planets are due to the discussed reasons (Lutgens & Tarbuck, 1996).
John F. Mongillo, Linda Zierdt-Warshaw (2000). Encyclopedia of environmental science university Rochester press p81. Retrieved from http://books.google.co.ke/books/about/Encyclopedia_of_Environmental_Science.html?id=ozAN5vLbssgC&redir_esc=y
Lutgens, F. K., & Tarbuck, E. J. (1996). Foundations of earth science. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Prentice Hall.
Michael Pidwirny (July 18 2007). Atmospheric science. Encyclopedia of Earth. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/article/Thunderstorm