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Chapter 2 Section 3 Notes (2.3)
Climate and Weather (P.40-47)
I. Weather or Climate
1. weather: Conditions of air and sky
precipitation: water that falls to the ground as rain, snow, sleet, etc….
temperature: how hot or cold the air is – measured in degrees C or F
climate: Average weather from year to year (over a long period of time)
II. Why Climates Vary
1. Climate depends on location
a) low latitudes (or tropics): hot all year long - due to direct sunlight
b) high latitudes (or polar regions): cold all year long – due to indirect sunlight
c) middle latitudes: (or temperate zone ) between the Tropic of Cancer and the
Arctic Circle, and between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle—
SEASONS. The Soo is in the Middle Latitudes.
d) Other factors that affect climate: landforms like mountains, large bodies of
water like oceans or very large lakes. (Lake Effect)
Water Cycle: 1. evaporation
2. condensation forms water droplets 3. rain
(precipitation) falls to Earth 4. water seeps into the ground or runs into streams.
Rain usually falls on the side of mountains facing the wind.
Air and Wind (The Earth would overheat without wind and water!)
a) Wind and air currents move heat and moisture between different parts of
the earth.
b) These currents follow patterns related to latitude.
c) Warm air rises, cold air sinks.
d) Regions where air rises have heavier (more) precipitation. Areas where air
sinks (like the Poles) have less precipitation.
Oceans help distribute Earth’s heat and shape climates.
Global wind patterns help crate ocean currents.
Generally, warm water flows away from the Equator while cold water flows
toward the Equator.
Oceans and Currents
a. Gulf Stream: Atlantic Ocean, warm current, flows Northeast from the tropics
b. Peru Current: Pacific Ocean, moves north from the Antarctica along the coast
of South America.
Oceans Cooling and Warming Effects
a. Bodies of water take longer to cool than land.
b. So in summer land along oceans (or very large lakes) will be cooler than land
further inland. (The opposite is also true—large bodies of water keep
temperatures warmer in the winter.)
c. For example San Francisco, CA & St. Louis, MO are both near 38 degrees
N latitude, but since San Francisco is close to the Ocean it is cooler in the
summer and warmer in the winter. And since St. Louis is not near the ocean it
has hotter summers and colder winters.
Weather Forecasting
a. Weather stations record local conditions
b. Weather forecasts warn about dangerous weather
Tropical cyclones: Intense wind/rain storms – mainly in the Pacific
Hurricanes: Intense wind/rain storms – mainly in the Atlantic (wind speeds 100+
Tornadoes: funnels of wind (wind speeds of 200+ mph)