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Unit 2 – Climate Regions and Human Activity

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1 Unit 2 – Climate Regions and Human Activity
Physical Geography Unit 2 – Climate Regions and Human Activity

2 CLIMATIC REGIONS (p. 74) A given climate region is set apart from other climatic areas by a particular set of characteristics. These characteristics include: Temperature range Precipitation levels Patterns of sunniness or cloudiness Wind conditions Length of seasons The way seasons vary Places we consider to be very different geographically can be similar climatically. For example, the following places experience very similar climates: Newfoundland and central Russia Western California and New Zealand Brazil and Nigeria There are six general climatic regions and each can be divided into two or three subregions:


4 USING CLIMATE DATA (p. 74) Climatologists use a range of data to identify climatic regions. A common way of representing this information is through a climograph (climate graph): a combined line and bar graph showing average monthly temperatures and precipitation levels for a site.  On a climograph, the temperature scale is shown along the right side and is usually drawn as a red line on the graph. The precipitation scale is shown along the left side and is usually drawn as a blue bar graph.

5 Climographs can indicate a range of useful information, such as:
Variations in temperature (in some places temperature is high all year long, while in others it can vary widely). Climographs with a “bell-shaped” temperature line indicate places in the Northern Hemisphere. “V-shaped” line graphs indicate places in the Southern Hemisphere. Precipitation can also vary greatly (it can be constant all year, or vary between dry and wet conditions depending on the season). This helps determine whether a monsoon occurs. Climograph Term Description of Climate Tropical Monthly temperatures are always above 18°C. Seasonal There is a wide range between summer and winter temperatures. Monsoonal There are two yearly seasons: extremely dry and extremely wet. Dry Total precipitation is less than 500 mm. Cold winter Temperature in coldest month is below –3°C. Mild winter Temperature in coldest month is above –3°C. Hot summer Temperature in warmest month is above 22°C. Mild summer Temperature in warmest month is below 22°C. Moderate precipitation Monthly precipitation falls in a narrow range above 60 mm.

6 *Complete Questions 1-4, pp. 74-77*

*Complete Climatic Regions Summary Actvity* Tropical Climates Average monthly temperatures always over 18°C (due to low latitude, warm ocean currents, and prevailing winds). Subregion: Tropical Wet: heavy rain all year due to hot temperatures, resulting in convectional rainfall. Subregion: Tropical Wet and Dry: very heavy rain in summer and very dry in winter due to seasonal shift in prevailing winds (monsoon).

8 Dry Climates Dry climates receive < 500 mm of precipitation annually. Relative high temperatures result in a high rate of evaporation, sometimes greater than total precipitation. Little vegetation results and is often windy. Subregion: Semi-arid or Steppe: mm of precipitation annually. A transition zone between desert and temperate forests. Enough rain to support grasslands, not forests. Subregion: Arid or Desert: mm of precipitation annually. Usually occur between 10-30°N or 10-30°S latitude.

9 Temperate Climates Temperate climates occur in mid-latitude regions (30-60° latitude) and show seasonal variations in temperature (curved temperature line on a climograph). Subregion: Temperate Mild Winter Climate: Occur in both Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Summer temperatures vary, but winters are warmer than –3°C. Include Mediterranean, subtropical, and Marine west coast regions. Subregion: Temperate Cold Winter Climate : Occur only in the Northern Hemisphere. Summer temperatures vary, but winter temperatures are colder than –3°C.

10 Polar Climates Polar climates occur at high latitudes (60-90° latitude) and display variations in temperature, but winters are extremely cold and summer temperatures are low. Subregion: Tundra: average summer temperatures never rise above 10°C. Low levels of precipitation due to cold air masses and high latitude. Summer temperatures are high enough to support a short, 2-3 month growing season. Subregion: Ice Caps: average summer temperatures never rise above 0°C. Very dry conditions due to cold air masses.

11 Highland Climates These climates are characterized by differences in local relief and decreased temperature that occurs at higher elevations. Some variation can occur based on the latitude of the mountain, closeness to the ocean, and temperature of air masses. Changes in elevation and temperature in alpine regions are similar to those that occur as latitude increases: Warmer temperatures near the base of a mountain bring more rainfall and larger vegetation. Colder temperatures near the peak of mountains bring low precipitation levels and tundra/ice cap conditions.

Climatic conditions can have an incredible impact on such human activities as: Leisure Work Transportation Meet our needs and wants Economies Psychological wellbeing Survival Your text provides case studies that detail examples of such impacts: Read “Growing Coffee in Brazil” (p. 82) and complete the activity sheet. Read “Tornado Kills 400 in Bangladesh” (p. 87), and complete question #12 on p. 88.

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