world climates

continental climates

Continental climates are found in inland areas. They are too far from oceans to experience the effects of ocean water. Continental climates are common between 40 and 70 north latitude. There are no continental climates in the Southern Hemisphere. Can you guess why? The southern continents at this latitude are too narrow. All of their inland areas are close enough to a coast to be affected by the ocean! Humid continental climates are found between 40 and 60 north latitude. The northeastern U.S. has this type of climate. Summers are warm to hot, and winters are cold. Precipitation is moderate, and it falls year round. Deciduous trees grow in this climate. They lose their leaves in the fall and grow new ones in the spring. Subarctic climates are found between 60 and 70 north latitude. Much of Canada and Alaska have this type of climate. Summers are cool and short. Winters are very cold and long. Little precipitation falls, and most of it falls during the summer. Conifer forests grow in this climate (see Figure 17.13).

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polar climates

Polar climates are found near the North and South Poles. They also occur on high mountains at lower latitudes. The summers are very cool, and the winters are frigid. Precipitation is very low because its so cold. You can see examples of polar climates in Figure 17.14. Polar tundra climates occur near the poles. Tundra climates have permafrost. Permafrost is layer of ground below the surface that is always frozen, even in the summer. Only small plants, such as mosses, can grow in this climate. Alpine tundra climates occur at high altitudes at any latitude. They are also called highland climates. These regions are very cold because they are so far above sea level. The alpine tundra climate is very similar to the polar tundra climate. Ice caps are areas covered with thick ice year round. Ice caps are found only in Greenland and Antarctica. Temperatures and precipitation are both very low. What little snow falls usually stays on the ground. It doesnt melt because its too cold.

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dry climates

Dry climates receive very little rainfall. They also have high rates of evaporation. This makes them even drier. The driest climates are deserts. Most occur between about 15 and 30 latitude. This is where dry air sinks to the surface in the global circulation cells. Deserts receive less than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of rain per year. They may be covered with sand dunes or be home to sparse but hardy plants (see Figure 17.11). With few clouds, deserts have hot days and cool nights. Other dry climates get a little more precipitation. They are called steppes. These regions have short grasses and low bushes (see Figure 17.11). Steppes occur at higher latitudes than deserts. They are dry because they are in continental interiors or rain shadows.

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temperate climates

Temperate climates have moderate temperatures. These climates vary in how much rain they get and when the rain falls. You can see different types of temperate climates in Figure 17.12. Mediterranean climates are found on the western coasts of continents. The latitudes are between 30 and 45. The coast of California has a Mediterranean climate. Temperatures are mild and rainfall is moderate. Most of the rain falls in the winter, and summers are dry. To make it through the dry summers, short woody plants are common. Marine west coast climates are also found on the western coasts of continents. They occur between 45 and 60 latitude. The coast of Washington State has this type of climate. Temperatures are mild and theres plenty of rainfall all year round. Dense fir forests grow in this climate. Humid subtropical climates are found on the eastern sides of continents between about 20 and 40 latitude. The southeastern U.S. has this type of climate. Summers are hot and humid, but winters are chilly. There is moderate rainfall throughout the year. Pine and oak forests grow in this climate.

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major climate types

Major climate types are based on temperature and precipitation. These two factors determine what types of plants can grow in an area. Animals and other living things depend on plants. So each climate is associated with certain types of living things. A major type of climate and its living things make up a biome. As you read about the major climate types below, find them on the map in Figure 17.9.

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tropical climates

Tropical climates are found around the equator. As youd expect, these climates have warm temperatures year round. Tropical climates may be very wet or wet and dry. Tropical wet climates occur at or very near the equator. They have high rainfall year round. Tropical rainforests grow in this type of climate. Tropical wet and dry climates occur between 5 and 20 latitude and receive less rainfall. Most of the rain falls in a single season. The rest of the year is dry. Few trees can withstand the long dry season, so the main plants are grasses (see Figure 17.10).

microclimates

A place might have a different climate than the major climate type around it. This is called a microclimate. Look at Figure 17.15. The south-facing side of the hill gets more direct sunlight than the north side of a hill. This gives the south side a warmer microclimate. A microclimate can be due to a place being deeper. Since cold air sinks, a depression in the land can be a lot colder than the land around it.

instructional diagrams

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questions

driest of all climates

a. alpine tundra

b. subarctic climate

c. continental climate

-->  d. desert

e. Mediterranean climate

f. steppe

g. temperate climate

To figure out which climate zone you are in you should

-->  a. look at the plants

b. monitor the temperature of the region

c. monitor the precipitation of the region

d. understand the seasons of the region

climate found at very high altitudes

-->  a. alpine tundra

b. subarctic climate

c. continental climate

d. desert

e. Mediterranean climate

f. steppe

g. temperate climate

Small areas with climates that differ from the surrounding area are known as?

a. small climates

b. micro areas

-->  c. microclimates

d. abnormalities

climate that has short grasses and low bushes

a. alpine tundra

b. subarctic climate

c. continental climate

d. desert

e. Mediterranean climate

-->  f. steppe

g. temperate climate

In what latitude zone are most of Earths deserts between?

a. 0 and 15

-->  b. 15 and 30

c. 30 and 45

d. 45 and 60

Dry climate zones

a. receive no rainfall

-->  b. experience more evaporation than precipitation

c. are all desert biomes

d. all of these

climate that has conifer forests

a. alpine tundra

-->  b. subarctic climate

c. continental climate

d. desert

e. Mediterranean climate

f. steppe

g. temperate climate

climate type that includes marine west coast climates

a. alpine tundra

b. subarctic climate

c. continental climate

d. desert

e. Mediterranean climate

f. steppe

-->  g. temperate climate

Where it is dark and bitterly cold in winter,

a. it is a polar climate

b. the ground is permanently frozen

c. there may be so little precipitation, it is a desert

-->  d. all of these

climate found on the coast of California

a. alpine tundra

b. subarctic climate

c. continental climate

d. desert

-->  e. Mediterranean climate

f. steppe

g. temperate climate

climate type that is found in inland areas of the Northern Hemisphere

a. alpine tundra

b. subarctic climate

-->  c. continental climate

d. desert

e. Mediterranean climate

f. steppe

g. temperate climate

Right around the equator is the one latitude with no glaciers.

a. true

-->  b. false

A valley could have a different microclimate from a hillside because cold air sinks.

-->  a. true

b. false

The Southern Hemisphere has no lands with a continental climate.

-->  a. true

b. false

Coastal California has a Mediterranean climate with woody plants to survive dry summers.

-->  a. true

b. false

The Sonoran Desert has only a few sparse plants.

a. true

-->  b. false

Each type of climate is associated with certain types of living things.

-->  a. true

b. false

All tropical climates have high rainfall year round.

a. true

-->  b. false

A desert is any area that receives less than 50 cm of rainfall per year.

a. true

-->  b. false

Steppes are dry because they occur between 15 and 30 degrees latitude.

a. true

-->  b. false

Temperate climates vary in the amount and timing of precipitation they receive.

-->  a. true

b. false

The southeastern United States has a Mediterranean climate.

a. true

-->  b. false

Subarctic climates have low precipitation, especially during the winter.

-->  a. true

b. false

Ice caps are found in Alaska, Canada, and Greenland.

a. true

-->  b. false

Tundra climates occur only near the poles.

a. true

-->  b. false

Continental climates include humid continental and humid subtropical climates.

a. true

-->  b. false

Which of the following is a major climate type?

a. desert

b. steppe

-->  c. temperate climate

d. Mediterranean climate

Which climate type occurs between 5 and 20 degrees latitude?

-->  a. tropical wet and dry climate

b. humid subtropical climate

c. marine west coast climate

d. tropical wet climate

Arid climates are dry because they have

a. low rates of precipitation.

b. high rates of evaporation.

c. high rates of condensation.

-->  d. two of the above

Which type of climate is found on the western coasts of continents between 45 and 60 degrees latitude?

a. Mediterranean climate

-->  b. marine west coast climate

c. humid subtropical climate

d. humid continental climate

A humid subtropical climate is characterized by

-->  a. hot summers.

b. warm winters.

c. wet summers and dry winters.

d. two of the above

Which type of forests grow in a humid continental climate?

a. rainforests

b. pine forests

c. conifer forests

-->  d. deciduous forests

Which climate is most similar to a polar tundra climate?

-->  a. highland climate

b. subarctic climate

c. semiarid climate

d. continental climate

diagram questions

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