Climate is determined by The temperature of an area The precipitation of an area
There are temperature differences on earth. It is colder at the North Pole than in Georgia. It is warmer in the Amazon Rainforest than it is in Georgia. It is hotter in Florida than in Canada. Why ?
http:// www.math.nus.edu.sg / http://www.weatherscouts.org Latitude is the cause of most temperature differences. Remember that the equator is 0 ° latitude and the poles are 90 °. The closer a location is to the equator, the more direct sunlight the area will receive. More direct sunlight = more heat!
http://www.astronomy.org Latitude Causes the angle of the sunlight hitting the earth to effect the amount of heat energy an area receives.
Latitude This causes three general climate zone patterns: Tropical Temperate Polar Can you explain how are they different? http://members.aol.com/pakulda/emstyg2.htm
http://www.astro.virginia.edu The angle of sunlight determines the climate we have. Because the earth is tilted, the angle of sunlight on earth changes as we go around the sun. Because the angle changes during the year, we have seasons too!
Climate can also be affected by altitude and ocean currents.
Altitude http://www.daytrails.com/Paradise.html This picture of Mount Rainier (Washington) was taken in August. Look at the mountain! Because it is so high, it has a different climate that the area where the flowers are blooming. The top is snow covered all year. Sometimes referred to as ELEVATION Why?
Sometimes an entire area is at a high altitude. Look at Mt. Everest and its surrounding area. http://everytrail.net/ Altitude
You can even find snow at the equator if the altitude is high enough. This is a mountain in Ecuador (South American) on the equator! Altitude www.surtrek.org
Remember this map? Notice that the lines between climate zones are straight! Ocean currents Because of the different temperatures of the ocean currents, this is not how they really are on Earth . http://members.aol.com/pakulda/emstyg2.htm
Look closely at this map! Ocean currents Notice the coastal areas of the USA. Water temperature does affect climate! http://www.waterencyclopedia.com/
Prevailing winds These are winds that blow the same direction most of the time. http://www.pbs.org If the wind is coming from a moist air mass, it will bring precipitation. If the wind is coming from a dry air mass, it will not bring precipitation.
Rainforests Wet climate zones are often caused by prevailing winds that are very high in moisture. http://concise.britannica.com
Mountain ranges Prevailing winds that hit high mountain ranges lose their moisture on the side where they hit first. This is called a rain shadow. http://staffwww.fullcoll.edu/
An example One of the driest deserts on Earth is found right next to the Pacific Ocean. Why? The prevailing winds bring moisture to the Amazon Rainforest. When the wet wind hits the Andes Mountains, all the moisture is left on the east side. The west side is a desert! http://images.encarta.msn.com
Review! What are the two things that determine the climate for an area? What causes places on earth to have different temperatures? What causes places to have different precipitation?