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C limate. What is Climate?. Climatology - study of earth’s surface climate and the factors that affect the past, present and future climate changes. Climate describes . Average Precipitation Patterns. U.S. Precipitation Patterns. Normals.

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C limate


What is climate

What is Climate?

  • Climatology - study of earth’s surface climate and the factors that affect the past, present and future climate changes.

Climate describes

Climate describes

Average precipitation patterns

Average Precipitation Patterns

U s precipitation patterns

U.S. Precipitation Patterns



  • Data is collected at 1000’s of locations is compiled for over 30 years to establish Normalsor standard values

  • Must be used with caution Why?

  • 1) Weather conditions may differ from Normals

  • 2) Normals not intended to describe usual weather condition

  • 3) Normals only apply to specific areas

What causes climate

What causes Climate?

Three main factors

Three main factors



  • Amount of solar radiation varies place to place. Why? Earth is tilted on its axis and it affects how the sun’s rays strike the earth

  • 23.5 S to 23.5 N - Tropics - receives the most sun . Temperature warm year round

  • 23.5 N- 66.5 N

  • 23.5 S- 66.5 S

  •  Temperate Zone - Temperature Moderate

Temperate zone 23 5 n 66 5 n and 23 5 s 66 5 n

Temperate Zone23.5 N – 66.5 N and 23.5 S – 66.5 N

Latitudes cont 66 5 n and 66 5 s polar zone sun strikes at low angles cold temperatures

Latitudes cont……. 66.5 N and 66.5 S - polar Zone Sun strikes at low angles/Cold temperatures.

Topography effects

Topography Effects

  • H2O heats up and cools down more slowly than land. Coastal regions are warmer in winter and cooler in the summer than inland areas of similar latitudes.

  • Temperature in lower atmosphere decreases with altitude.

  • Orographic lifting - air rises over mountain, rising air cools and condenses then drops moisture.

Topography effect

Topography Effect

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  • Air Masses

  • 2 courses of weather movement interactions of air masses - air masses affect climate tool

Air masses of n america

Air masses of N. America

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  • Region and Origin

  • Caused by difference in the amount of solar radiation. Average weather conditions in or near air masses are fairly similar to conditions. Exhibited by air masses.

Sun rays hitting the earth

Sun Rays Hitting the earth

Sun rays in relationship to latitude

Sun Rays in relationship to Latitude

Climate classification

Climate Classification

  • How are climates classified?

  • Based on the climate and precipitation and vegetation

  • Continental

  • Polar

  • High elevations

World climates

World Climates

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  • Tropical Climate - 600 cm of rainfall

  • Heat + rain = rainforest under the influence of maritime tropical air

  • Transition zones border the rainy tropics

  • Tropical wet distinct African Savannas

  • Tropical dry dry season

Dry climates

Dry Climates

  • Dry Climates - cover 30 % or earth - largest climate zone - where most of the deserts are located: Sahara, Gobies, Australian

  • Continental Tropical dominates

  • -low precipitation

  • -vegetation scarce

  • -intense solar radiation

  • -high rate of evaporation - few clouds

  • -2 subtypes: arid region (deserts)

  • Semi and steppes

Mild climates

Mild Climates

  • 3 subtypes

  • - Humid subtropical climate - influenced by subtropical high pressure systems over oceans Southeast of the U.S.

  • -Marine west coast - dominated by the constant inland flow of

  • air from ocean- mild winters and cool summers

  • -Mediterranean - Italy, Spain - summers warm - lack of cool ocean currents in the Mediterranean Sea

Polar climates

Polar Climates

  • Coldest regions on earth -

  • mean temperature of warmest month is lest than 10°C -

  • precipitation is low -

  • cold air does not hold cold moisture.

  • Amount of heat radiates from earth is low thus there are no convection currents necessary to release precipitation.

  • Variations - high elevations, includes parts of Andes Mountains of South America

Micro climate localized climate within a main regional one

Micro Climate- localized climate within a main regional one.



Heat islands climate is warmer than the surrounding rural areas

Heat Islands-climate is warmer than the surrounding rural areas.

climate is warmer than the surrounding rural areas.

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  • Ice Ages - Earth surface was totally covered by vast sheets of ice. Average global temperature decreased by 5°C sparked the advancement of ice sheets. Interglacial Intervals = alternating of cold/warm periods.

  • We are now in a interglacial period. Glaciers covered from east to west and as far south as Indiana.

  • Retreat - scoured the Finger Lakes of New York / Great Lakes - Michigan

North america ice age coverage

North America Ice Age coverage

Ice age coverage of the world

Ice Age coverage of the world

Europe ice age coverage

Europe Ice Age Coverage



  • Seasons - short term climate changes caused by regular variations in daylight, temperature and weather patterns. Summer - North Pole titled toward sun - Northern Hemisphere / Southern Hemisphere - winter

Why do we have seasons

Why do we Have SEASONS?

Degree of incoming solar energy


Seasons in the latitudes


El nino cont

El Nino Cont…….

  • Warm currents that occasionally develops off the western coast of South America normally.

  • No reason - Trade winds weaken - allows warm winters from the Western Pacific surge eastward towards the South American coast

  • Convection currents strengthen - Northwest coast of South America becomes warm and wetter.

  • Jet Stream moves south. Weather system take a southern track - storms in California and Gulf Coast

El nino

El Nino

El nino cont1

El Nino Cont……

  • + positive effect - strong upper winds keep the tropical disturbances down

  • Change can be Natural Past climate changes - found studying tree rings, ice core samples, fossils and radioactive carbon.

La nina characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the equatorial pacific

La Nina- Characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific

  • a. La Niña often causes drought conditions in the western Pacific; flooding in northern South America; mild wet summers in northern North America, and drought in the southeastern United States.

La nina

La Nina

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  • Changes in the earth’s climate is caused by:

  • 1) Solar activity

  • 2) Changes in the earth’s tilt

  • 3) Earth’s orbit

  • 4) Volcanic eruptions

Solar activity sunspots

Solar Activity- Sunspots

  • Low sunspot activity - Maunder Minimum (“Little Ice Age”) cold dramatic conditions.

  • High sunspot activity - Temperatures are warmer - Earth’s orbit - shape of the earth’s elliptical orbit changes and becomes more elliptical than circular.

  • If the orbit elongates the earth is closer to the sun. Temperature is cooler.

  • The earth’s tilt is 25.3° and it tends to vary from 22.1° to 24.5° every 41,000 years.

  • Changes in the tilt causes seasons to be more severe - winters-warmer, summers cooler. Colder weather causes ice sheets to expand causes ice age

Sun spots

Sun Spots

Earth wobble

Earth Wobble

  • Earth wobbles as it spins - axis point towards North Star “Polaris”. When earth wobbles, axis tilts towards star “Vega” when winter extends.

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  • The Northern Hemisphere is the farthest from the sun while the Southern Hemisphere is the closest and enjoying summer.

Volcanic a ctivity


  • Tiggers climatic change

  • Dust suspended in the atmosphere for several years blocking out the incoming solar radiation.

  • Lowering global temperatures

  • High active periods of volcanos, the planet tends to have cooler temperatures

Human factor to climate change

Human Factor to Climate Change

  • Greenhouse Effect

  • Retention of heat by the atmosphere by the accumulation atmospheric gases called Greenhouse gases

  • water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone.

  • Greenhouse gases greatly affect the temperature of the Earth; without them, Earth's surface would average about 33°C colder than the present average of 14 °C (57 °F).[

  • Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the burning of fossil fuels has contributed to a 40% increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from 280 ppm to 397 ppm, despite the uptake of a large portion of the emissions by various natural "sinks" involved in the carbon cycle.

  • Anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (i.e., emissions produced by human activities) come from combustion of carbon based fuels, principally wood, coal, oil, and natural gas.[7]

Global warming

Global warming

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