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conditions in the atmosphere that change from day to day


1. average weather conditions in an area over a long period of time
2. Earth's climate used to be much colder


1. distance north or south from the equator
2. as latitude gets further north, climate gets colder; going south, climate gets warmer

prevailing winds

1. winds that blow mainly from one direction
2. they affect the amount of precipitation an area gets


1. height of a surface landform above sea level (such as mountains)
2. elevation of mountains affects their climate - the windward side gets much precipitation while the other side stays drier

surface current

movement of ocean water on the surface that is caused by wind


large region with specific type of climate and certain types of plants/animals

tropical zone

1. 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south
2. surrounds equator so climate is always warm because sun is always hitting it at same angle

tropical rain forest

1. climate: warm/wet
2. soil: thin and poor quality

tropical savanna

1. climate: warm/dry season and short periods of rain
2. soil: poor quality, plants need fires to open seeds

tropical desert

1. climate: hot/dry
2. soil: poor quality

temperate zone

1. 23.5 degrees to 66.5 degrees latitude
2. has seasons

temperate forests

1. climate: deciduous - seasons - leaves change color and fall off when cold
2. soil: good because of decaying leaves

temperate grasslands

1. climate: warm summers/ cold winters
2. soil: best quality of all biomes for growing things


1. climate: cool,wet winters/hot, dry summers
2. soil: rocky; poor quality

temperate desert

1. climate: very hot days/very cold nights
2. soil: poor quality

polar zone

1. north or south of 66.5 degrees latitude
2. cold climate


1. climate: long, cold winters/short, cool summers
2. soil: frozen layer


1. climate: long, cold winters/short, warm summers
2. soil: acidic: evergreens can grow (flexible branches and needles are good for shedding snow)


1. climate of a small area
2. examples: city, alpine biome

ice age

1. long period of climate cooling
2. one theory suggests that the ice age ended when Pangaea broka apart and the continents moved toward the equator

Milankovitch theory

explains the cause of the ice age

Causes of change in climate

1. asteroid hits earth or volcano erupts, debris blocks sun = cooler climate
2. sun at solar maximum = warmer winds

global warming

1. a gradual increase of the average global temperature
2. caused by burning forests, burning fossil fuels for transportation, cutting down trees

greenhouse effect

gases in the atmosphere absorb and trap heat energy

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