Defining the Climate

By: Joshua Campbell & Nigel Torrez

Vocab words

  • Climatology - Study of Earth's climate & the factors that cause past, present, & future climatic changes.
  • Normals - Average monthly or annual basis for a period of at lease 30 years.
  • Tropics - The air between 23.5 degrees South & 23.5 degrees North of the Equator.
  • Temperate Zones - They lie between 23.5 degrees & 66.5 degrees North & South of the equator.
  • Polar Zones - They are located from 66.5 degrees North & South of the equator to the poles.

Annual Averages and Variations

Weather patterns are always changing in today's world. Climate is the use of long term weather patterns. Variables in temperature, wind & many more make up a Climate. Depending on where you live & how far the equator is can change your climate majorly.


When data is compiled together from a said area over the course of 30yrs it is known as the normal or normals. You can continuously gather data from different places around the world. This can be standard value's for the locations chosen.

Limitations of normals

Weather conditions vary differently depending on the location of where you are. Weather conditions can differ from the normals, which is why they must be used with caution. Meteorological data can be recorded at airports but must use up to date technology to have the most accurate information. Bodies of water & elevation changes can change climates.

Causes of Climate

You can watch daily weather reports & see climate changes yourself from your own home or your computer. Climate variations include differences from topography, latitude & longitude, and also how close you are to oceans or lakes, etc.


Locations around the world receive different amounts of radiation from the sun. Earth is tilted on its axis & the sun's rays can hit us at different angles. The area between North & South latitude is known as a tropics area. The tropics get the most sunlight on earth due to being close to the equator. The temperate zone is between the 23.5 degrees North & 66.5 degrees South near the equator. Polar zones are one of the coldest places on earth due to being 66.5 degrees North or South of the equator. The temperatures can get to below -20 degrees Celsius & can be 8 degrees Celsius year round.

Topographic effects

Water cools & heats up slower than land due to being a large body. Most coast areas are warmer during the winter & cool due to the location of them. Air rises from one side of the mountain & is known as orographic lifting. Mountain's are usually cooler than the ones at sea level. Climates of mountain's have drier air & it becomes warmer as it leaves. Deserts are known to be on the leeward side of the mountain.

Air masses

Weather has many causes but two of the most known are the movement & interaction of air masses. Climate can be affected by this as well. Air masses can be distinct depending on where you are in the world. Weather condition averages are similar to air masses themselves.