Weather changes from day to day. However, the weather tends to follow a pattern throughout the year. For example, Fairbanks, Alaska has long, cold winter and very short summers. Miami, Florida has very long, not summers and very mild winters. When you make descriptions such as these it is describing the climate of an area. Climate is the average weather pattern of a specific region.

Climates are described in a variety of ways. One way is by using temperature-precipitation graphs. Other ways are by using such factors as wind speed, distance from the coast, mountain ranges, and ocean currents. Still another way is by studying the plants that grow in an area, such as grasslands, rain forests, or forests. Each kind of plant needs its own conditions to grow such as sunlight, rain, temperature, and soil. When all of these factors are taken into account, climate zones are forecasted and established for specific regions.

There are several things that affect the climate over periods of time. Latitude is a measure of how far north or south a place is from the equator and places its location. Places further away from the equator are colder and temperature affects the climate. Bodies of water affect the climate. Most of the globe is covered with water, yet there are places on land that are 1,000 miles from the nearest water. Because the sun warms the land faster than it does the water those areas furthest from water have a higher temperature climate because the air temperature is higher over land. Trade winds affect the climate. These are not the day-to-day winds, but those winds that blow continually. They are westerly or easterly winds. These winds bring warm or cool air into areas cause the climate to change. These winds also move water across the surface of the ocean. As ocean water moves, warm or cool air moves with it. Altitude is the measure of how high above sea level a place is. The higher a place is above sea level the cooler its climate is. Mountain ranges affect climate too. The higher mountains protect areas from polar winds causing the climates to remain warmer. And rain patterns are affected by the mountains. Rain clouds may form and drop moisture on that side of the mountain. One side of a mountain may get plenty of rain while the other side may get very little. As air passes over a mountain it cools causing the other side to get that cool air. The air reaching the other side may also be dry changing the climate. For many reasons, the climate on one side of a mountain may differ from that on the other side.

Weather changes from day to day and from place to place. Because of those changes the climates change as well. Some climates remain warm while others remain cool. Some receive rain while others remain dry. Global conditions such as wind, temperature, latitude, altitude, mountain ranges, bodies of water, ocean currents, and wind patterns all play a vital role in the climate of that area. While Fairbanks, Alaska is very cold, Miami, Florida will be very warm. This weather pattern is established over a long period of time and once averaged out becomes the climate in that area.

A: Climate
B: Temperature
C: Latitude
D: Altitude

A: Winds
B: Barometer
C: Distance from the coast
D: Mountain ranges

A: Altitude
B: Latitude
C: Longitude
D: Forecast

A: Longitude
B: Latitude
C: Altitude
D: Forecast

A: Polar winds
B: Trade winds
C: Winter winds
D: Summer winds

A: Warmer
B: Cooler
C: Dry
D: Moist

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