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Michael Rocha
G 355 Geosciences for Elementary Educators
Cape Lookout, Tillamook County, Oregon
But that’s a good thing, Fran the Frog!
But first…
What exactly is a micro-climate ?
Micro- meaning “very small”
Now Introducing…
Leonardo da Lizard
Northern Alligator Lizard
(Elgaria coerulea)
• Microclimates are small
atmospheric areas or zones
that are somewhat different
from the larger surrounding
• Microclimates can occur
anywhere on land, ocean,
glaciers, in a city, in a park &
small even to be in your back
They can be small enough to
be under a trees, in a stack of
rocks or even in the shadow
of your house.
• Microclimates can vary
in temperature,
humidity, precipitation,
evaporation and wind
One microclimate may be
wetter and colder while
another microclimate
could be drier and warmer.
Oregon Silver Falls
• There are three main factors that cause
Urban Areas
Bodies of water
Oregon Wallowa County - Eagle Cap Wilderness
Microclimates - Water
• Microclimates
particularly occur near
pools of water like
ponds and lakes where
they cool the
surrounding area and
increase humidity.
Photo Credit: John Reuter - Klamath
Microclimates - Topography
• Mountains and hills
block and change wind
currents creating cooler
temperatures and
increasing moisture in
the valleys below.
Since cold air is also
heavier than warm air,
colder air will sink into
the valleys of hills and
Microclimates - Topography
• Another factor that
causes microclimates on
a large scale is the south
facing slope of a
• The south side of the
mountain will be warmer
than the north side
because it is the south
side is being exposed to
more direct sunlight.
Microclimates – Urban Areas
• Microclimates also
occur in large urban city
areas during the day
when the sun’s energy
is absorbed by brick,
stone buildings,
concrete sidewalks and
asphalt roads.
At night the energy is
released into the air and
causes the city to be warmer
than the countryside. This is
called an urban heat island.
Microclimates – Urban Areas
• Buildings do however
provide protection from
winds that can cause
plants to dry out.
• Since buildings and
driveways absorb heat
that can also provide
warmth for small
animals and plants.
Microclimates – Weather
• Microclimates influence
the water cycle by
contributing the rate and
levels of precipitation.
• The interaction between
humidity, evaporation
and transpiration in these
environments are
influenced by
Microclimates - Rock and Soil Formation
• Microclimates create
weathering of rocks
which affect soil and
minerals distribution.
• The freezing of water in
the rocks causes them
to breakdown.
• Microclimates help
speed up or in some
cases slow down the
Microclimates – Agriculture & Food
• Many species live and depend on
• The conditions in these relatively
small environments create a
more suitable environment for
many species thrive.
• Soil, plants and animals are all
affected in these regions.
• Microclimates can also be useful
in growing crops and even a
garden in the backyard.
• You can move your plants to an
area where the microclimate
might benefit these plants.
• Microclimates can be created.
• A building or home that has air
conditioning creates a
microclimate inside the building.
• A greenhouse is a microclimate
that increases the temperature
and humidity for plants to grown.
References, Pictures and Clip Art
Thanks Leo!