Exposure (geography)

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Radiation angle and sun exposure of the earth's surface

In soil science and geography, exposure is the position of a slope in relation to the cardinal direction or the direction in which the midday sun rays fall. The direction of exposure can be specified numerically as the direction of the surface normal in degrees, based on the north direction:

  • Exposure = 0 ° means a slope that is oriented to the north (north slope, often also referred to as the "shady side")
  • Exposure = 90 °: east slope, slope with lots of morning sun
  • Exposure = 180 °: south slope, "sunny side"
  • Exposure = 270 °: western slope, slope with lots of evening sun (but most exposed to the weather in Central Europe).
  • Intermediate values ​​(rounded to 5 ° or 10 °) may be used. a. stored in pedological databases .

The word "exposed" is used as an adjective, e.g. E.g .: exposed to the south .

In topography and geomorphology , the slope and the direction of the fall line also play a role in exposure.

The exposure has a major influence on the local climate and the vegetation of the respective altitude level , especially on steep slopes (e.g. in the Alps ) . Therefore, the mountain farmers there, especially in the early and medieval times, mostly orientated themselves towards the exposure of the slopes: southern slopes were used for settlements and cultivation areas, northern slopes remained forested. Accordingly, place or reed names such as “sunny side” and “sunny mountain” or “shady side” can also be found in many areas.

Exposure also plays a role in assessing the avalanche danger .

Individual evidence

  1. Exposition, slope direction in the glossary on avalanches.org, accessed on November 5, 2014.