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CLIMATE REGIONS OF
THE WORLD
Text Book
page # 482 491
THE BIG IDEA
What factors are used to
classify climates?
What are the six main
climate regions?
CLIMATE REGIONS
Scientists classify climates
according to two major factors:
Temperature
Precipitation
CLIMATE REGIONS
There are six main climate
regions:
Tropical rainy
Dry
Temperate marine
Temperate continental
Polar
Highlands
WORLD CLIMATES
TROPICAL RAINY CLIMATES
The tropics have two types of rainy
climates:
Tropical wet
Tropical wet-and-dry
TROPICAL WET CLIMATES
Are found in low-lying lands near the equator
Many days are rainy, often with afternoon
thunderstorms
Thunderstorms triggered by mid-day heating
In many areas with a tropical-wet climate the
trade winds bring moisture from the oceans
TROPICAL WET CLIMATES
With year round heat and heavy rainfall,
vegetation grows lush and green
Dense rain forests grow in these climates
In the United States, only the windward sides
of Hawaiian islands have a tropical wet
climate
TROPICAL WET-AND-DRY CLIMATES
 Areas that have tropical wet-and-dry climates receive
slightly less rain than tropical climates
 Have distinct dry and rainy seasons
 Instead of rainforests, tropical grasslands called
savannas grow
 In the United States only the southern tip of Florida
has a tropical wet-and-dry climate
DRY CLIMATES
A climate is dry if the amount of precipitation
that falls is less than the amount of water that
could potentially evaporate
It does NOT mean that it doesn’t ever rain…
DRY CLIMATES
Dry climates include arid
and semiarid climates
DRY CLIMATES
Dry regions often lie inland
Far from the oceans that are the source
of humid air masses
ARID CLIMATES
 Also known as deserts
 On average, arid regions receive less than 25 cm of
rain per year
 Only specializes plants and animals can survive
 Much of California’s southeast, including Death
Valley and the Mojave Desert, has an arid climate
SEMIARID CLIMATES
 Semiarid regions are usually located on the edges of
deserts
 These semiarid area are called steppes
 May also be called a prairie or a grassland
 The Great Plains are the major steppe region of the
United States
 Portions of southeastern California are considered
semiarid
TEMPERATE MARINE CLIMATES
There are three types of temperate
marine climates:
Marine west coast
Mediterranean
Humid subtropical
TEMPERATE MARINE CLIMATES
Because of the moderating influence of
oceans, all three temperate marine
climates are humid and have mild
winters
MARINE WEST COAST
The coolest temperate marine climates are
found on the west coasts of continents north
of 40 degrees north latitude and south of 40
degrees south latitude
Humid ocean air brings mild, rainy winters
Summer precipitation can greatly vary
MARINE WEST COAST
In North America, the marine west coast
climate extends from northern California to
southern Alaska
Because of heavy precipitation, think forests
of tall trees grow in this region
One of the major industries of this region is
harvesting and processing wood for lumber,
paper, and furniture
MEDITERRANEAN
 A coastal climate that is drier and warmer than west
coast marine is known as Mediterranean
 Most areas with this climate are found around the
Mediterranean Sea
 In the United States, much of coastal California has
a Mediterranean climate
 Mild, with two seasons
 Winter – marine air masses bring cool, rainy weather
 Summer – somewhat warmer, with little rain
MEDITERRANEAN CLIMATES
Mediterranean climates have two main
vegetation types:
Chaparral (dense shrubs and small tress)
Grasses with a few large trees
HUMID SUBTROPICAL
The warmest temperate marine climates are
along the edges of the tropics
Humid subtropical climates are wet and warm
 Not as constantly hot as the tropics
The southeastern United States has a humid
subtropical climate
 Summers are hot, with more rainfall than winters
 Winters are cool to mild, with more rain than snow
TEMPERATE CONTINENTAL CLIMATES
Are not influences very much by oceans
Have extremes of temperature
TEMPERATE CONTINENTAL CLIMATES
Temperate continental climates are
only found on continents in the
Northern Hemisphere
Include:
Continental
Subartic
HUMID CONTINENTAL
 Shifting tropical and polar air masses bring
constantly changing weather to humid continental
climates
 Winter – continental polar air masses move south,
bringing bitterly cold weather
 Summer – tropical air masses move north, bringing
heat and humidity
 The northeastern region of the United States, as well
as the Midwest, have humid continental climates
SUBARCTIC CLIMATE
Subarctic climates lie north of the humid
continental climates
Summers in the subarctic are short and
cool
Winters are long and bitterly cold
POLAR CLIMATES
The polar climate is the coldest
climate region, and includes the
ice cap and tundra climates.
POLAR CLIMATES
Ice cap and tundra climates are found
only in the far north and south, near the
North and South poles
Most polar climates are relatively dry
Cold air holds little moisture
ICE CAP CLIMATE
 Found mainly on Greenland and Antarctica
 Average temperatures always at or below freezing
 The land in this region is always covered with ice and
snow
 Intense cold makes the air dry
 Lichens and a few low plants may grow on the rocks
TUNDRA CLIMATE
 Stretches across northern Alaska, Canada, and
Russia
 Short, cool summers
 Bitter, cold winters
 Some layers of the tundra are always frozen
 Permanently frozen soil is called permafrost
 Water cannot drain away, so the soil is wet and boggy in
summer
TUNDRA CLIMATE
It is too cold in the tundra for trees to grow
During the short summers the tundra is filled
with life
 Mosquitos and other insects
 Mosses, grasses, lichens
 Caribou
 birds
HIGHLANDS
Temperature falls as altitude
increases, so highland regions are
colder than the regions that
surround them
HIGHLANDS
Increasing altitude produces climate changes
you would expect with increasing latitude
Precipitation also increase as air masses
carrying moisture pass over highland area
Climate on the lower slopes of a mountain
range is like that of the surrounding
countryside
HIGHLANDS
 As you go higher up the mountains, temperature
becomes lower and precipitation increases
 Climate higher on the mountain is like that of the
subarctic
 Above a certain elevation, called the tree line,
temperatures are too low for trees to grow
 Climate above the tree line is like that of the tundra
 Only low plants, mosses, and lichens can grow there