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Weather and Climate Study Guide
I can explain the parts of the water cycle, and explain how water can be a gas, a liquid, or a
solid and go back and forth from one state to another.
Students should be able to identify and explain each phase of the water cycle, including
evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and run-off. Students should be able to explain
the phases using the vocabulary and showing understanding of the vocabulary.
Evaporation - the sun heats the water on Earth and causes it to evaporate.
Condensation - the water vapor (evaporated water) rises in the atmosphere where it cools and
turns back into a liquid.
Precipitation - the water droplets (condensation) combine forming larger drops of water and
then clouds. When the clouds are too heavy to hold the water precipitation falls.
Run-Off - Water that runs off of Earth’s surfaces and back into the ocean.
I can recognize how air temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, wind speed and direction,
and precipitation determine weather in a particular place and time.
Air Temperature is measured with a thermometer. The higher the temperature, the warmer the
air. The lower the temperature, the colder the air.
Barometric (air) pressure is measured with a barometer. When the air pressure drops, bad
weather is predicted. When the air pressure goes up, good weather is predicted.
Humidity is measured using a hygrometer. The higher the humidity, the greater the chance of
rain. Higher temperatures cause more water to evaporate which causes a higher percentage of
Wind Speed is measured using an anemometer. Wind Direction is measured using a wind
vane. When wind is coming from a direction where the air temperature is colder, it will bring that
cold air. When it is coming from a direction where the air temperature is warmer, it will bring
warmer air.
Precipitation can be measured using a rain gauge. Precipitation can cause hazardous
I can distinguish among the forms of precipitation (rain, snow, sleet, hail)
Rain - Temperatures are above freezing (in the atmosphere and at Earth’s surface)
Snow - Temperatures are below freezing (in the atmosphere and at Earth’s surface)
Sleet - Temperature is right at or near the freezing point, usually indicates a warm front is
moving through. (freezing hight in the atmosphere, warms as it is falling to Earth’s surface, then
freezes again as it reaches Earth’s surface).
Hail - Occurs during thunderstorms, temperature is above freezing. Hail forms in the clouds
(tossed around collecting layers of ice) and falls to the ground with the winds can no longer hold
it in the clouds.
I can recognize that different environments have different weather:
Tundra - Very low temperatures, little precipitation (polar climate zone)
Rain Forest - Lots of Rain (Tropical Climate Zone)
Desert - Hot and Dry, hot during the day, very cold at night (no clouds to keep heat in at night)
Grasslands - Usually located between deserts and Forests, moderate amount of rain
Wetlands - (swamps) standing water covers soil, ground is very wet, found along bodies of
I can describe characteristics of different climate zones as they relate to latitude, elevation, and
proximity to bodies of water.
Polar - Far from Equator, very cold, very little precipitation, little vegetation, sunny for 24 hours
in summer and dark for 24 hours in winter.
Temperate - Located between Polar and Tropical Zones, Experiences all 4 seasons, Warm
summers and cold winters, Temperature varies depending on elevation and proximity to large
bodies of water.
**Higher elevations are cooler, areas closer to larger bodies of water will be somewhat warmer
in the winter than areas at the same latitude near by that are further away. These same areas
will be cooler in the summer than areas at the same latitude that are nearby.
Tropical - Very close to the equator, hot and humid, Lots of rain, close to 12 hours of sunlight a