32 terms


What is the difference between weather and climate
Weather is the short-term state of the atmosphere, while climate is the average weather conditions in an area over a long period of time.
What are the two major factors that define an areas climate
temp. and precipitation
How does latitude affect climate
The higher the latitude the less direct sun the Earth's surface receives, causing lower temperatures
How does elevation affect climate
As elevation increases, temperature decreases
What other factors create climate differences within the same climate zone
Geographical differences - mountains, large bodies of water, ocean currents and prevailing winds
What causes differences in climate conditions from one side of a mountain to the other
Mountains cause air to rise and cool, which causes condensation and precipitation on one side of the mountain and dryness on the other
How do large bodies of water influence an area's climate
Large bodies of water stabilize temperatures and keep them moderate. They also increase moisture content in the air.
How do ocean currents influence an area's climate
The surface temperature of water affects the air above it. Warm currents bring warm temperatures to the area they flow past and cold currents bring cold temperatures.
How do prevailing winds influence an area's climate
Winds from warm areas bring higher temperatures and moisture; winds from cool areas bring cooler temperatures and drier air. Winds that blow across water create wetter climates and winds that blow across land bring drier climates.
What are the 3 major climate zones
Tropical, Temperate and Polar
Why are the tropics hotter than other parts of the Earth?
Latitudes closest to the equator receive the most direct solar radiation.
What causes changes in seasons in the Temperate and Polar zones
The tilt of the Earth on its axis causes the seasons to change.
What is a biome
A large region characterized by a specific type of climate and certain types of plant and animal communities.
What are the three major biomes of the tropical zone?
Tropical rainforests, Tropical savannas and Tropical deserts
Which biome has the greatest number of plants and animal species of any biome
Tropical rainforests
Why are the soils in the tropical rain forest so poor?
Nutrients are quickly absorbed by plants or washed away heavy rains
Which tropical biome is influenced by fire, and how is fire beneficial to it
Fire in tropical savannas enrich the soils and allow fire adapted plants to drop or open their seeds
Which biome has the hottest, driest climate on earth
Tropical deserts
What are the four major biomes of the temperate zone?
Temperate forests, Temperate grasslands, Chaparrals and Temperate deserts
Why are the soils in the temperate forest so fertile
Decaying leaves on the forest floor return nutrients to the soil
What is the difference between a deciduous tree and an evergreen tree?
Deciduous trees drop their leaves at the end of the growing season while evergreens do not.
Which biome has the most fertile soils of all the biomes?
Temperate grasslands
Which temperate biome is characterized by evergreen shrubs that have adapted to fire?
Why do the day-time and night-time temperatures vary so much in the temperate desert
The temperate desert has low humidity and no cloud cover, so heat absorbed during the day escapes quickly
What are the two major biomes of the polar zone
Tundra and Taiga
Which of the polar biomes is found at the highest latitude
How do these high latitudes affect the length of winter nights and summer days
Winter nights are 24 hours long and Summer days are 24 hours long
What is one characteristic of the tundra that affects bird migration?
Poor soil drainage causes muddy areas where insects breed in large numbers
Which of the polar biomes is known for its evergreen needle-leaved trees? What are they called
The Taiga, Conifers
Why is there no vegetation on the forest floor beneath these trees
Needle trees cause acidic soils that make it difficult for other plants to grow
What is a microclimate
The climate of a small area, like a mountain or a city
What is the major cause of the microclimates in cities
Buildings and dark pavements cause the absorption of solar radiation instead of its reflection. Building and pavement have replaced the area's natural vegetation, which would normally reflect solar radiation and shade the Earth's surface.