How mountain barriers affect climate
What are Mountain barriers?
Mountain barriers are a series of mountain ridges alike in form, direction, and origin. They affect climate and weather.
How do mountain barriers affect climate?
Mountain barriers cause wind on the windward side to blow up. As it rises up it cools. It creates clouds as the water vapor begins to condense. This leads to more rain and a wetter climate on the windward side. Since the cool air cannot hold moisture as well as the warm air the clouds dissipate. This means less rainfall on one side. Mountain barriers can also stop storms and large air masses. The windward side of the mountain usually has lots of vegetation while the leeward side is usually arid and a desert.
Mountain barriers are also responsible for the orographic effect. The orographic effect occurs when wind containing moisture hits the windward side of the mountain. The clouds are full of moisture and are too heavy to make it over the mountain. This causes precipitation
Sierra Nevada mountains
The Sierra Nevada are a example of a mountain barrier. On one side of the barrier the mountain is covered with snow. Yearly precipitation ranges from 20 to 80 inches per year. On the side with the rain shadow yearly precipitation is usually less than 25 inches per year. This side is much more arid and had little vegetation.
Climographs of mountain barriers
Below is a climate graph of Yosemite headquarters where the sierra nevada mountains are located. The dry, desert side of the mountain barrier recieves much less rain and snow then this climograph depicts. The wetter side receives this amount of precipitation.