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Climate Study Guide
Test Date: 11/12/14
Textbook Pages: 106-141
ISN Pages: 9-36

Chapter 4 Section 1: What Causes Climate?
Key Terms: Climate, Microclimate, Tropical Zone, Polar Zone, Temperate Zone, Marine Climate, Continental
Climate, Windward, Leeward, Monsoon
1. What is the difference between weather and climate?
 Weather is the conditions of the atmosphere at a particular time and place. Climate is the
patterns of weather in a region over a long period of time.
2. Describe the factors that influence temperature.
 Latitude – The farther from the equator, the lower the temperature (This is because of the curve
of the Earth. Near the poles, land receives less direct sunlight)
 Altitude – The higher the altitude (distance above sea level) the colder the temperature
 Distance from a large body of water – Water changes temperature more slowly than land.
Therefore, temperatures in cities that are closer to large bodies of water are regulated by the
water. Marine climates have warmer winters and cooler summer than continental climates.
 Ocean Currents – Warm currents bring warm temperatures with them. Cold currents bring cold
temperatures with them.
3. Describe the factors that influence precipitation.
 Prevailing Winds – Prevailing winds push humid air masses onto land, causing rain.
 Mountain Ranges – As humid air moves up a mountain, the temperature cools, causing the air
to hold less water. That water condenses and forms clouds. There is more rain on the windward
side of the mountain. On the leeward side of the mountain, the air has no moisture in it, so it is
 Seasonal Winds – Summer monsoons bring heavy rains. Winter monsoons bring dry weather.
4. Explain what causes the seasons.
 The seasons are caused by the tilt of Earth’s axis as it rotates around the sun. The direction of
the tilt does not change, so the northern and southern hemisphere get more direct sunlight
(summer) at different times of year. When the hemisphere faces away from the sun, it is winter.

Chapter 4 Section 2: Climate Regions
Key Terms: Rain Forest, Savanna, Desert, Humid Subtropical, Tundra, Permafrost
1. What factors are used to classify climates?

 Average annual Temperature and Precipitation
2. Describe each of the 6 main climate regions. (Be able to differentiate between examples and identify
examples of each)
 Check graphic organizer in “Classwork”
Chapter 4 Section 3: Long-Term Changes in Climate
Key Terms: Ice Age, Sunspot
1. Describe the principle that scientists follow to determine the ancient climate of a region. How does this
 If plants and animals today need certain conditions to live, than similar plants and animals who
lived in the past needed the same or similar conditions to live.
 This helps because you can determine what climate conditions an ancient species needed to
survive in the location they were found. This will show how the ancient climate is different from
the current climate.
2. What changes occur on Earth’s surface during an Ice Age?
 The average global temperature drops and glaciers (large sheets of ice) cover a majority of land.
As the glaciers move across land they may carve large grooves into rock.
3. Describe the natural factors that may cause long term climate change.
 Earth’s Position – Earth’s position changes gradually over 23,000 years
 Solar Energy – Short term changes in climate are linked to sunspots. The more sunspots there
are, the more solar energy is released
 Volcanic Activity – Volcanic explosions may release gases and ash into the atmosphere that
stays there for many years. This may block solar radiation from reaching Earth’s surface.
 Movement of Continents – As continents shift, they change patterns of winds and ocean
currents which may affect climate.
Chapter 4 Section 4: Global Changes in the Atmosphere
Key Terms: El Niño, La Niña, Global Warming, Greenhouse Gas, Chlorofluorocarbon
1. How do El Niño and La Niña affect the global short term climate?
 El Nino and La Nina are oscillating changes in the temperature of the equatorial pacific.
 El Nino pushes warm water towards the western coast of South America. This causes heavy
rains and warm weather there, and dry weather in Australia.
 La Nina is a cooler equatorial Pacific. Currents push toward Australia, bringing warm weather
and heavy rains there, and leaving cold droughts in western South America.
 El Nino and La Nina also affect weather patterns globally.
2. Describe how human activities are affecting the temperature of Earth’s atmosphere.
 Humans are adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, which is intensifying the greenhouse
effect. This is leading to an increase in global temperatures.
3. Describe how human activities have affected the ozone layer.
 The use of CFCs have created an area of diminished ozone over Antarctica.