Look at the map below. Circle any patterns of rainfall that you see.
3. What is the type of land is below these rainfall patterns? (Green is forest, brown is desert).
4. In what latitude bands are these rainfall patterns?
Use these terms to fill in the blanks below for Questions 5-8: Hadley, cloud,humid, Sun, cloud, rainfall, low, ground, Ferrel, fronts, Equator, Hadley, poles, rainfall.
5. Rainfall occurs when ______ air cools down. Air cools when it rises, or when it moves away from the _______.
6. The Atmospheric Circulation is driven by the _____. In the Tropics, the Sun warms the _____ which in turn warms the air above. hot air rises, leading to _____ and _______. This drives the ________ cells.
7. Colder air sinks at the poleward edge of the _______ cells and over the __________. Sinking air has no _______ or __________.
8. In the _______ Cells, rainfall is mainly associated with ____ pressure systems (depressions). Rainfall is mainly on the ________.
9. Complete the following table (Look at the map for help):
Rain (or snow)-fall
10. Sketch what you think the Hadley Cell looks like in December and June by the images of the Earth below. Hint: the Equator and Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn are shown on the map.
11. In the Tropics, how does the latitude of highest rainfall change between January and July? ___________________________________
12. How does this relate to the sketches you drew above? ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Extension question: Why do you think you are asked to look at rainfall in January and July, rather than December and June? ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Our planet has several climatic zones; their classification is based on the temperature and precipitation over the seasons. The climatic zones can be simplified into:
Polar and Mountains – very cold and dry all year
Cool Temperate – cold winters and mild summers
Warm Temperate – mild winters, dry hot summers
Arid or Desert – dry, hot all year
Tropical – hot and wet all year
The climate of an area is affected by several factors: latitude (distance to the Equator), terrain, altitude (height) and how far from the sea or ocean it is.
Plasticine (white, blue, green and black)
A small ball
Discuss the idea of different regions of the world experiencing different climates. Make a mind map using ideas from pupils about climate zones and the factors that may affect the climate of a region.
Colour in the climate map below and colour it in according to the key.
N.B. Pupils may find the subsequent tasks easier if a logical colouring code is used like the one shown. Where hotter regions are highlighted in warm colours and cooler regions in cool colours, for simplicity the polar & mountain climate zones can stay white.
With the map coloured, pupils should look for patterns in the locations of the climate zones. Start by looking at the proximity to the equator and altitude with younger pupils. Explain that climate is in part affected by the absorption of heat from the sun. Different objects absorb heat at different rates (water is slower to heat and cool, land is much faster).
Climates of the World: (Climate Zones) – detailed climate information for individual countries and areas within countries.
1. Modelling the Earth
You will need:
– Blue plasticine
– A small ball
– A heat lamp
Method: Make a model of the earth by covering a small ball with plasticine. Put the heat lamp a fair distance away from the ball – maybe 1m. Shine the heat lamp on the plasticine for a few minutes. Feel the difference in temperature between the ‘equator’ and the ‘poles’.
Results: The areas of the ball facing the lamp should feel much warmer than the areas pointing away – either the ‘poles’ or the ‘night’ side of the ball. When the surface of the Earth isn’t at right angles to the Sun, the Sun’s energy is spread over a wider area and it doesn’t heat up as much. This is the cause of much of the Earth’s weather. As the Earth orbits around the Sun, the Sun moves from being at right angles to the Tropic of Cancer to be overhead at the Tropic of Capricorn. This gives us seasons.
2. Modelling the Earth
You will need:
– White, blue and dark green plasticine [Hint: Mixing some black with the green plasticine makes a dark green that gives really good results]
– A small ball
– A sunny day
Method: Make a flat model of the earth by covering a piece of cardboard with white (Polar regions), blue (sea) and dark green (land) plasticine. Leave the map out in the Sun for 10 minutes. Feel the difference in temperature between the white and dark green areas.
Results: The darker areas should feel much warmer than the white poles. The colour of the area of land affects the ability to absorb light. Whiter regions (like the poles and mountains) reflect light and darker regions (like vast areas of tropical rainforest) absorb light and get warmer.
Lesson overview: In this lesson we look at the characteristics and locations of hot deserts and the adaptations of animals and vegetation found there.
Hot deserts have less than 250mm precipitation per year and daytime temperatures that may approach 50oC. Hot deserts cover 14.2% of the Earth’s surface, their distribution largely determined by the global atmospheric circulation. Physical factors such as altitude or latitude determine deserts with the most extreme values of precipitation/temperature. Their characteristics and distribution will change over long periods of time due to the Milankovitch cycles and Continental Drift. Climate change is projected to have complex effects and the size of arid regions is expected to grow. The plants and animals that live in the deserts around the world have adapted to cope with the extreme climate.
To be able to describe the characteristics and location of at least one hot desert.
To understand why hot deserts are hot and dry.
To be able to draw and interpret a climate graph of a hot desert.
To understand animal and plant adaptations to the hot desert climate.
Lesson overview: In this lesson we investigate why polar climates are so extreme and how it can be too cold to snow in Antarctica.
The extremes of Polar weather – the lowest temperatures on Earth and little precipitation – vary significantly throughout the year. Antarctica has the harshest conditions, recording an annual mean low of nearly -60oC due to its elevation and distance from the sea. Low levels of precipitation define Polar regions as deserts and it can be too dry to snow. The effects of climate change are amplified in these regions through feedback mechanisms which in turn affect global climate.
To understand why it is cold in Polar regions.
To understand why our Polar regions are classified as deserts.
To be able to calculate mean temperature and total precipitation and interpret a climate graph
Lesson overview: In this lesson we explore the main climate zones, their link to the global atmospheric circulation and the influence of the oceans.
Climate zones describe parts of the Earth that have similar climate – the characteristics of the seasonal variations in weather. These relate to physical factors such as latitude and altitude, in association with their position relative to the global atmospheric and oceanic circulation. Although there are only five top-level categories – Tropical, Dry, Continental, Temperate and Polar – it is possible to define a total of 30 categories using the Köppen-Geiger classification system. This sytem considers a range of data that includes typical weather data such as temperature and precipitation and supplements this with evaluation of other variables such as soil temperature and the frequency of specific weather phenomena. These data allow climatologists to differentiate between similar climates and describe the characteristics of specific climates very precisely. Projections of climate change suggest climate zones show significant, though complex, change.
To be able to describe the major world climate types.
To know where the world’s major climate types are found.
To understand what happens to precipitation and temperature with increasing distance from the sea.
Urban Heat Islands: a three lesson fieldwork resource, using a class set of simple digital thermometers to make a temperature map of the school’s catchment area. The lessons cover Urban Heat Island background information, fieldwork planning and data collection, display and analysis. Teachers notes and PowerPoints 1, 2 and 3.
Unit 3: The Difference between Weather and Climate
On this map of the world , ask the students to write on the following country names in green: UK, New Zealand, North Carolina (USA) and Uruguay; the following countries in yellow Arizona (USA), Namibia, Mali, Saudi Arabia and Western Australia; and the following countries in red Indonesia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia and Hawaii– what pattern can they see? [according to the standard Köppen classification, the green countries have a temperate or cold climate without a dry season, the yellow countries a Dry (desert or semi-arid climate) and the red countries a Tropical climate]
Isotherm and Isobar drawing exercise based on a depression: student worksheet. A simpler version of the T/ isotherm map can be found here or the full version including solutions may be found on the A level page.