Essential Question:


Weather vs Climate Video

3 Major Climate Zones on the Earth

bio ch15-2 quiz

Tropical Zone (Low latitudes)= Between 23 1/2 °N and 23 1/2 °S latitude. This zone is closer to the sun and experiences more hours of daylight and heat throughout the year so there are 2 types of climates that will be found in this zone. See your chart for help on these two climate types.

Temperate Zone (Mid-latitudes)= Between 23 1/2°N and 66 1/2°N and 23 1/2°S and 66 1/2°S latitude. This zone experiences seasonal changes due to the lack of sunlight during some times of the year. There are 4 temperate climate types found in this zone. See your chart for help to determine which of the 4 climate types a location with this latitude may have based upon the precipitation and the temperatures as well as ocean currents and prevailing wind patterns on the Earth.

Polar Zone (High Latitudes) = Between 66 1/2°N and 90°N and 66 1/2°S and 90°S latitude. This zone experiences the least amount of sunlight on the Earth because it is furthest from the sun’s light annually. There are 3 types of Polar Climates within this zone. See your chart for help to determine which of the 3 climate types a location with this latitude may have. Also check the amount of precipitation and the temperature of the location to determine the specific climate type.

5 Main Factors that Determine Climate

(1) Latitude: The closer you are to the equator (low-latitudes), the warmer the climate. The closer you are to the poles (high latitudes), the cooler the climate. The mid-latitudes have climates with seasonal change between warm and cool.

(2) Nearness to bodies of water or Ocean Currents: Large bodies of water like oceans, seas, or very large lakes can cause temperature changes in air and also cause changes in precipitation for a climate.

(3) Elevation: The higher above sea level a location on the Earth is, the cooler the climate will be.

(4) Rainfall or Precipitation: If there is precipitation consistently throughout the year, check to see which climate type it matches up with. If there is a lack of precipitation (less than 3 inches per year) then the location may be a dry climate type. If the precipitation falls in months where there are cold temperatures, there is snow and therefore must show that the location has seasonal changes or a polar climate type. 

(5) Temperature: If there is a wide change in temperatures throughout the year, the location may have a midlatitude climate type with seasonal changes. If there is not a wide range of temperatures throughout the year, then the location may have a polar or tropical climate type. 


Prevailing Winds & Ocean Currents on the Earth

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Climate Types for Kids Link

  World Climate Types- we used this link for your group presentation

Temperature & Rainfall Lookup

                Search for your city and then click for the monthly climate averages- click the icon that looks like the bar graph below to find the average monthly precipitation and temperature. Convert to °F from °C if you need to like we practiced in class!

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National Geographic Climate Connections 

University of California Climate for Kids 

US Climate Regions

© Sarah Kopplin 2011