November 5, 2012


Climate is the average pattern of weather and temperature in a particular area over a long period of time. Similar types of climate are found in different places around the world. For example, there are regions of hot, dry desert in Africa and North America, as well as across central Australia. It is a region’s climate, together with its physical landscape, that determines the kind of vegetation, or plant life, that is usually found there. Cold areas near the poles and icy mountain peaks support little, or no, vegetation. Hot, wet rain forests near the equator, however, encourage the fast growth of a variety of plants


As the Earth travels around the Sun, the tilt on its axis means that each place leans gradually nearer the Sun, and then farther away from it. This causes the seasons. When the northern hemisphere leans toward the Sun it has summer. When it tilts away it has winter. In the southern hemisphere this is reversed. Between the warm days of summer and the cold days of winter come spring and fall. The Earth also spins on its axis, turning once every 24 hours to give us day and night. The side facing the Sun has day, while the other side has night.

Changes in world climate. The world’s climate can be changed by both natural as well as human events. When Mt. Pinatubo, a volcano in the Philippines, erupted in 1991, it threw ash and dust high into the atmosphere. Locally, this caused dark skies, heavy rainfall, and high winds. Equally, events such as the massive oil fires in Kuwait, started during the Gulf War, can have a damaging effect on climate.

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