Analyze factors related to a site’s location to explain climatic, oceanic and atmospheric circulation, volcanism and tectonic features of the area.

Midterm Assessment

Purpose: To write a research paper that serves to assess the student’s assimilation of the course material from Modules 1 (Atmosphere) and 2 (Geosphere). The paper primarily will be based on interpreting primary data sources for climatology and geology.

This paper will assess student performance under the following Student Learning Outcomes from the Syllabus:

2. Analyze factors related to a site’s location to explain climatic, oceanic and atmospheric circulation, volcanism and tectonic features of the area.

4. Analyze and discuss data presented in standard charts, maps and diagrams.

You will be studying the climate and geology of San Francisco. You will be graded on your breadth of knowledge of the course material, and your ability to apply it relevantly to the facts that you will be presented.

Data sources: These are some data sources that should get you started on the paper.

Climate:

Use the climograph and data table can be downloaded here (right click on the link, then save to your computer). This data is taken from the World Regional Climate Center data for the San Francisco Richmond (047767) climate center data. Here is a Google Earth Layer that locates the San Francisco Richmond station.
A table for determining the Köppen-Geiger classification can be downloaded here.
Geology:

Earth’s Tectonic Plates Google Earth Layer (right click on the link, then save to your computer).
Global Volcanism Project Google Earth Layer (right click on the link, then save to your computer). Note that the same information can be found on the Global Volcanism Project website.

Content: At a minimum, your paper should include the following information:

Climate:

A calculation of the Annual Temperature Range for this location. Discuss your calculation, including an identification of the month with the highest average maximum high temperature and the month with the lowest average minimum low temperature.
An analysis of the climograph, identifying the climate zone by name and Köppen-Geiger classification.
A discussion of the controls on the climate that produce this pattern.
A discussion of the dominant pressure and weather systems that contribute to this climate pattern. What air masses are involved, and what are the main global wind belts and pressure systems present during the predominant seasons?

Geology:

Tectonic plate that the San Francisco Richmond station is on.
Nearby plate boundaries (name and type of plate boundary).
Identification and description of 3 volcanic features within 300 miles of the San Francisco Richmond station. The description of the volcanic feature should describe what type of volcanic feature it is.
Paper formatting: Your paper should be at least 2 pages long, double spaced with standard margins (1 inch top and bottom, 1.25 inches left and right), and no larger than a 12-point standard font (Times New Roman or Arial are acceptable). Primary information should be gleaned from the information above, but you are encouraged to use other descriptive sources of information about the climate and geology of the San Francisco area. Cite your sources within the text, and list your references after the text of your paper (the references are not part of the minimum two pages).

Here is an online application that can help you format your citations and references.

Submitting: Perform the exercise as directed. Write your paper into a MS Word document (.doc), Rich Text Format file (.rtf), Open Office document (.obd) or an Adobe Acrobat file (.pdf). Submit it using the upload feature at the bottom of this page. Note that other file types, or files stored in the “cloud”, such as .gdoc files, will NOT be accepted.

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