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Climate Definition

Climate is the long-term average of weather in an area. For example, climate provides general information about what to expect in a particular region but it does not provide specific details about a given day.

View Lesson on Climate Zones & Ocean Currents
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Climate Zones & Ocean Currents

Fun Facts

  • Different climate zones result from the angle at which the Sun's light strikes the Earth and are also affected by the oceans.
  • Three different climate zones include Tropical, Temperate, and Polar.
  • Long-term averages of precipitation and temperature over 30 years or more are considered when describing the climate of a particular region.

Why Do We Need To Know About Climate

Learning about the climate helps us understand how ocean currents affect sea life. It’s important for marine biologists because it helps them see how climate changes impact ocean animals and plants. For example, when the ocean’s water changes temperature or saltiness, it can bring food up from deep water to feed lots of different marine creatures.

Climate knowledge is also key for scientists studying the air to keep track of pollution and how it moves around the world. This is really important for keeping the air clean and protecting the layer high up in the atmosphere that keeps us safe from the sun’s harmful rays. Knowing about climate is useful for making smart choices to look after our earth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Describe the relationship between the Sun and climate zones.
The angle of the Sun causes its light to strike different latitudes with different intensities. For example, the Sun’s rays strike the Equator with greater intensity than they do the North Pole. Additionally, the sun is always directly over the Equator, as a result, this area is always much warmer than the North Pole.
What are three climate zones and where do they occur?
The Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn are found at 23.5° N latitude and 23.5° S latitude. The Equator lies in the middle of these two latitudes, in the area known as the Tropical Zone. The Temperate Zones cover the area between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle and the area between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle. The Polar Zones are the areas from the Arctic or Antarctic Circles to the North and South Poles.
How do ocean and air currents help regulate the temperature of Earth?
Ocean and air currents work together to distribute heat and moisture around Earth. Less-dense air and water rise; denser air and water sink. This creates a series of circulation systems that span the globe. These systems typically flow clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
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