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Changing climates - Why is our climate like this?

Changing climates

This section explores our climate system and the influences on it.

Key questions

  • What is the climate system?
  • What are the main influences on climate?

Key Concepts

  • Place
  • Scale
  • Physical Processes

The climate system is influenced by complex interactions between the atmosphere, oceans, land, ice, and biosphere.

What are the main influences on climate?

Key to this is the huge temperature gradient between the poles (-35C) and the equator (+30C) The excess heat from the tropics is redistributed by oceans and atmosphere in currents and winds - the global circulation system. This is the engine or powerhouse behind our weather and creates a dynamic or energetic climate which is susceptible to change.

The climate of a place is determined by

  • Latitude
  • Location, relative to continents and oceans
  • Situation in relation to large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns
  • Altitude
  • Local geographical features, such as topography or the nature of the built-up area

Interactive

Downloads

  • Word version of the climate system interactive PDF | MSWORD

Dots

Starter

The climate system includes and is influenced by complex interactions between the atmosphere, oceans, land, ice and biosphere.

Look at the Climate Systems interactive to learn about why the world has different climatic zones.

You can also view the word document of this interactive if you prefer.

Dots

Main

From the interactive you should now know more about the influences on the World's climate:

  • Latitude
  • Location relative to continents and oceans
  • Situation in relation to large scale atmospheric circulation patterns
  • Altitude
  • Local geographical features such as topography (hills and mountains) or the nature of a built up area

How would you explain each process to a young audience of 10 year olds? What are the key words you would use?

In pairs, write a five minute presentation that explains each of the processes and present this to your class.

Use the rest of your lesson to present these to the rest of your group- what will they think about your presentation?

Dots

Plenary

As a class, make a criteria for judging each pair’s presentation. 

Which pair made the best presentation and why?

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