The sun, location, wind, water, and mountains affect weather and climate.
What is weather? What is climate? While weather is short term, climate is a region’s average weather over a long period of time.
4 Factors that Affect Climate Sun and Location on Earth – Creates seasons Earth’s tilt Movement of Earth Shape Wind – Moves the sun’s heat around Water – Moves the sun’s heat around Mountains – affects temperature & precipitation
Energy from sun heats the earth. Different locations receive different amounts of sunlight. Earth’s tilt Seasons Movement Rotation around the sun Shape Earth is a sphere
Earth’s Tilt As the Earth revolves around the sun, the part of the Earth that is tilted toward the sun changes during the year. This process creates the seasons.
Earth’s Shape The sphere shape affects the amount of sunlight different locations receive. The sun’s rays directly strike the equator but only somewhat strike at the poles.
The farther from the equator, or higher the latitude, the colder the climate. Higher Latitudes Area near the poles Cold year round Middle Latitudes Areas halfway between the equator and poles More seasonal changes Lower Latitudes Areas near the equator Hot year round
Wind and Water Heat from the sun moves across Earth’s surface. Air and water warmed by the sun are constantly on the move. Wind and water carry heat from place to place.
Global Winds Wind, or the sideways movement of air blows in great streams. Air has weight that changes with temperature.
At the equator, hot air rises and flows towards the poles. At the poles, cold air sinks and flows towards the equator.
Earth’s rotation causes prevailing winds to curve east or west. Winds that form from warm air or pass over lots of water, carry moisture Winds that form from cold air or pass over lots of land are often dry.
Gulf Stream US East Coast Warm current that flows east North Atlantic Drift Across the Atlantic into Europe Westerlies Northwestern Europe Warmed air blown across Europe
Large Bodies of Water Water heats and cools more slowly than land does. Large bodies of water make the temperature of the land nearby milder.
The state of Michigan is largely surrounded by the Great Lakes The lakes make temperatures in the state milder than other places as far north.
Wind, Water, and Storms: Most storms occur when two air masses collide. Air masses frequently collide in regions like the United States, where the westerlies meet the polar easterlies. Fronts can produce rain or snow as well as thunderstorms and icy blizzards. Hurricanes produce drenching rain and strong winds that can reach speeds of 155 mph or more. They can form tall walls of water called storm surges. When it smashes into land, it can wipe out an entire coastal area.
DetailsWhen Most Likely to Occur Thunderstorms Rain, lightning, thunder Spring and Summer Blizzards Strong winds, large amounts of snow Winter Tornadoes Small, rapidly twisting funnel of air that touches the ground; highly destructive Spring and summer Hurricanes Largest and most destructive storm; forms over tropical waters in Atlantic Ocean Summer to late fall Typhoons Hurricanes that form in the Pacific OceanSummer to late fall
Mountains Mountains can influence an area’s climate by affecting both temperature and precipitation. Many high mountains are located in warm areas yet have snow at the top all year. The reason is that temperature decreases with elevation. Mountains also create wet and dry areas. What is a rain shadow? A dry area on the mountainside facing away from the direction of the wind.
There are 5 general climate zones. They are tropical, temperate, polar, dry, and highland. In addition, geographers divide some climate zones into more specific climate regions.
How does climate affect vegetation? How does climate affect agriculture?
Tropical Climate Humid Tropical & Tropical Savanna Humid Tropical On and near the equator Warm and high amounts of rain year round Monsoons create extreme wet seasons Tropical rain forest
Tropical Climate Tropical Savanna Higher latitudes in the tropics Warm all year; distinct raining and dry seasons; at least 20 inches of rain during summer Tall grasses, scattered trees
Dry Climate Desert & Steppe Desert Mainly center on 30* latitude; also in middle of continents, on west coasts, or in rain shadows Sunny and dry; less than 10 inches of rain a year; hot in the tropics; cooler with the wide daytime temperature ranges in middle latitudes A few hardy plants, cacti
Dry Climate Desert & Steppe Steppe Mainly bordering deserts and interiors of large continents About 10-20 inches of participation a year; hot summers and cooler winters with wide temperature ranges during the day Shorter grasses, some trees and shrubs by water
Temperate Climate Mediterranean, Humid Subtropical, Marine West Coast, & Humid Continental Mediterranean West coasts in middle latitudes Dry, sunny, warm summer; mild, wetter winters; rain averages 15-20 Scrub woodland and grassland
Temperate Climate Mediterranean, Humid Subtropical, Marine West Coast, & Humid Continental Humid Subtropical East coasts in middle latitudes Humid with hot summers and mild winters; rain year- round, in paths of hurricanes and typhoons Mixed forest
Temperate Climate Mediterranean, Humid Subtropical, Marine West Coast, & Humid Continental Marine West Coast West coasts in the upper-middle latitudes A cloudy, mild summers and cool, rainy winters; strong ocean influence Evergreen forests
Temperate Climate Mediterranean, Humid Subtropical, Marine West Coast, & Humid Continental Humid Continental East coasts and interiors of upper-middle latitudes Four distinct seasons; long, cold winters and short, warm summers; average precipitation ILLINOIS Mixed forests
Polar Climate Subarctic, Tundra, & Ice Cap Subarctic Higher latitudes of the interior and east coasts of continents Extremes of temperature; long, cold winters and short, warm summers; little precipitation Northern evergreen forests
Polar Climate Subarctic, Tundra, & Ice Cap Tundra Coasts in high latitudes Cold all year; very long, cold winters and very short, cool summers; little precipitation; permafrost Moss, lichens, low shrubs
Polar Climate Subarctic, Tundra, & Ice Cap Ice Cap Higher latitudes of the interior and east coasts of continents Extremes of temperature; long, cold winters and short, warm summers; little precipitation Northern evergreen forests
Highland Climate High mountain regions Wide range of temperatures and precipitation amounts, depending on elevation and location Ranges from forest to tundra
Plants, animals, and the environment, including soil, interact and affect one another.
ecosystem A group of plants and animals that depend on each other for survival and the environment in which they live habitat The place where a plant or animal lives desertification The spread of desertlike conditions
The Environment and Life Limits on Life: The environment limits life. Factors such as temperature, rainfall, and soil conditions limit where plants and animals can live. All plants and animals are adapted to specific environments.
Connections in Nature: The interconnections between living things and the environment form ecosystems. They can be any size and can occur wherever air, water, and soil support life. Each part of an ecosystem fills a certain role
Sunlight is the source of energy for most living things Plants use the energy in sunlight to make food. They serve as the basis for other life in the ecosystem Animals such as rabbits eat plants and gain some of their energy. Predators, such as hawks and wolves, eat rabbits and other prey for energy Larger predators, such as mountain lions, compete for the prey that is available.
Changes to Environments: The interconnect parts of an ecosystem exist in a fragile balance. A small change to one part can affect the whole system. Many actions can affect ecosystems. Actions such as clearing land and polluting can destroy habitats. Our most diverse habitats on Earth are tropical rain forests. Extreme changes in ecosystems can cause species to become extinct.
Soil and the Environment Plants are the basis for all food that animals eat. Soils help determine what plants will grow and how well. Soils play an important role in the environment because they support plant life. Fertile soils are rich in minerals and humus.
These soils support abundant plant life. Soils can lose fertility in several ways. Erosion through wind or water can sweep soil away. Planting the same crops over and over can also rob soil of its fertility. When soil becomes worn out, it cannot support as many plants. This can lead to desertification in fragile dry environments.
Earth’s natural resources have many valuable uses and their availability affects people in many ways.
Vocabulary from Section 4 Renewable resources Resources Earth replaces naturally Non-renewable resources Resources that cannot be replaced Fossil fuels Non-renewable resources that formed from the remains of ancient plants and animals Hydroelectric power The production of electricity from waterpower Natural resource Any material in nature that people use and value
Earth’s Valuable Resources Using Natural Resources: Trees, oil, and metals are all examples of natural resources. Earth’s most important natural resources include air, water, soils, forests, and minerals. We use some resources as they are, like wind. Usually we change natural resources to make something new.
Types of Natural Resources: We group our natural resources into two groups: those we can replace naturally, called renewable resources and those we will run out of one day, or non-renewable resources. Once we use those up, it is gone.
Managing Natural Resources: Although forests are renewable, we can cut down trees faster than they can grow, which causes deforestation. Reforestation is the planting of trees to replace lost forestland.
Energy Resources Energy resources power vehicles, produce heat, and generate electricity. They are some of our most important and valuable natural resources.
Nonrenewable Energy: Most of the energy we use comes from fossil fuels. The most important fossil fuels are coal, petroleum, and natural gas.
Coal has been a source of heat, however it pollutes the air and can harm the land. Today we use coal mainly to create electricity at power plants, not to heat single buildings. People are trying to find cleaner ways to burn coal
Petroleum, or oil, is a dark liquid used to make oil and other products. When first removed from the ground, petroleum is called crude oil.
Fuels made from oil include gasoline, diesel fuel, and jet fuel. Oil is also used to make plastics and cosmetics. Oil-based fuels can pollute the air and land. Oil spills can harm wildlife. But, because we are so dependent on oil for energy, it is an extremely valuable resource.
Natural gas is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel. We use it for heating and cooking. Some vehicles run on natural gas as well. These vehicles cause less pollution than those that run on gasoline.
Renewable Energy Resources: Unlike fossil fuels, renewable energy resources will not run out. The main alternative is hydroelectric power that can be obtained from moving water by damming rivers. These dams harness the power of moving water in order to generate electricity.
While hydroelectric can produce power without polluting and lessons our use of fossil fuels, the dams create lakes that replace existing resources and disrupt wildlife habitats.
Wind is another renewable energy. Windmills have been used in the past, but today we use powerful wind turbines. At wind farms, hundreds of turbines create electricity in windy places.
Solar power is a third source. We use the power of the sun to heat water or homes. We can also use solar panels to turn solar energy into electricity. We can also use geothermal energy, or heat from within Earth. Geothermal power plants use steam and hot water located with Earth to create electricity.
Nuclear Energy: We obtain this energy by splitting atoms. This process uses the metal uranium. While nuclear power does not pollute the air, it does produce dangerous wastes. These wastes must be stored for thousands of years before they are safe. Accidents at nuclear power plants are extremely dangerous for the people and environment nearby.
Mineral Resources Mineral resources are valuable. These resources include metals, salt, rocks, and gemstones. Minerals are nonrenewable. Recycling items such as aluminum cans will make the supply of these resources last longer.
Resources and People Resources and Daily Life: In the United States, we have many different kinds of natural resources. We can choose different ways to dress, eat, live, travel, and entertain ourselves. People in places with fewer natural resources will likely have fewer choices and different needs than Americans.
Resources and Wealth: The many natural resources in the United States have helped it become one of the world’s wealthiest countries. In contrast, countries with few natural resources often have weak economies.