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Chapter 9

by: Larresa Kelpin

Chapter 9 GEOG 104

Marketplace > Kansas > Geography > GEOG 104 > Chapter 9
Larresa Kelpin
GPA 3.0

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About this Document

These notes cover chapter 9.
Principles of Physical Geography
Johnson, William
Class Notes
geography, KU, Johnson
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Larresa Kelpin on Friday April 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to GEOG 104 at Kansas taught by Johnson, William in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 35 views. For similar materials see Principles of Physical Geography in Geography at Kansas.


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Date Created: 04/01/16
CHAPTER 9 |1 CLIMATE AND THE FACTORS THAT AFFECT IT • “Climate” and “weather” are not synonymous • Weather is the day-to-day changes that occur in temperature and precipitation. • Climate is the average precipitation and temperature characteristics for a region that are based on long-term records. • These averages are based on a 30-year time period. • The concept of climate can be viewed geographically because Earth exhibits distinct climate patterns. • The study of this geographic distribution and the character of Earth’s climates is a subfield of geography called climatology, not to be confused with meteorology, which studies short-term atmospheric phenomena that constitute day-to-day weather. • Climatologists’ research is important to many disciplines outside the field of geography because climate is a factor that influences human behavior and natural processes in a variety of ways. • Factors on long-term weather patterns for a region: 1. Latitude--intensity of radiation and length of day 2. Seasonality--critical for two reasons related to Sun angle: a) How many hours of sunlight in a day changes in many places over the course of a year b) Insolation and temperature can be highly variable between the winter and summer seasons. 3. Air mass circulation--air flow and position of high- and low-pressure systems 4. Marine vs. continental relationships--large bodies of water moderate temperature, influence airflow and supply water vapor. CHAPTER 9 |2 5. Topographic effects--influences air flow, the windward side of a mountain range often has heavy precipitation because air cools adiabatically there, rain shadows often form on the leeward side of a mountain range due to descent of air and adiabatic warming. KÖPPEN CLIMATE CLASSIFICATION • The purpose of climate classification is to identify certain characteristics, such as temperature and precipitation, which have observable regional patterns. • It is often difficult to classify many climate zones because their geography depends on a number of variables. CHAPTER 9 |3 • It is also difficult to classify climate zones because they form a spatial continuum, rarely forming sharp breaks from one climate to another. • The most widely used classification system is the Köppen Clime Classification System. • Developed by German botanist and climatologist Wladimir Köppen, who recognize the relationship between major vegetation regions on Earth and regional climate characteristics. • The system describes world climates based on average monthly temperature, average monthly precipitation, and total annual precipitation. • Although the system is great for characterizing regional climate conditions, it ignore more local factors such as wind speed and cloud cover, which influences conditions drastically in specific areas. • The Köppen system is best viewed and understood as a hierarchal classification with categories and subcategories. • There are six major climate groups (A, B, C, D, E, H), ranging from low latitudes near the Equator (A) to high latitudes as the poles (E) and cover huge geographical areas. Climate group H is the designation for high-altitude regions, regardless of latitude. • Each category is distinguished based on temperature except for category B, which is based on moisture characteristics. • These 6 major climate groups are sufficient to note fundamental climate characteristics over broad areas, but geographers take interest in the more specific attributes of smaller regions. • To accomplish this, the major Köppen groups are subdivided on the basis of temperature and moisture with the use of a second letter and sometimes a third. CHAPTER 9 |4


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