What Affects Weather and Climate?

Factors affecting Climate.

The earth can be separated into different climatic zones. The zones are shown on the map below.


We are going to look at the reasons why these climate zones exist.

Task 1)

a) Insert the diagram below into your notes. It shows why temperatures decrease as you travel north or south from the equator. This is the effect of Latitude or distance from the equator. Once you have inserted the diagram, read the information from the link.

b) Describe how temperature changes as you move away from the equator.
The Angle of the Sun's Rays affects temperature. Can you explain why it will be warmer at b than a?

c) Explain in your own words why it gets colder as you move away from the equator.

Task 2) Altitude

We will now look at the other factors affecting climate.

We start with Altitude or height above sea level
The Tux Valley, Austria. The snow line shows us that temperature decreases with Altitude. Why is the snow line higher on one side of the valley than the other.

a) Insert the photograph above and diagram below on Altitude into your notes . Then use the links above to describe in your own words how altitude can affect the temperature. Write your descriptions next to the diagram.

Extension: Aspect
b) Look again at the photograph above. You will notice that the snowline is different in different parts of the valley. This is due to the Aspect of the mountain side. The aspect is the the direction the slope faces. Try to explain in your own words how the Aspect can affect the temperature. Refer to the photograph in your answer.

Altitude and Distance from Sea.png


Task 3: Distance From the Sea

Compare these two weather forecasts. Now look at the diagram above that shows how the distance from the sea can affect temperatures in winter and summer. This link will explain how Distance from the sea affects the climate. Insert the diagram above and then use the link to make notes in your word document.

b) Explain why the ocean or sea effects temperature.

Task 3:

The next to factors we will look at are Ocean currents and the Prevailing wind.

Ocean currents.gif

a) Go back to the top of the page and look at the map of the page. What climate zones are the UK and Newfoundland in Canada.

Can you find Davis Inlet on Google Maps.?

b) Use the diagram above to explain why the UK is warmer than Newfoundland.

c) Copy this paragraph into your notes.

The prevailing wind is the most frequent wind direction a location experiences. In Europe the prevailing wind is usually from the south west, which brings warm, moist air from the Atlantic Ocean. This contributes to the frequent rainfall. When prevailing winds blow over land areas, it can contribute to creating desert climates.

Extension: Prevailing Wind, The Föhn

d) Use this link and other websites to explain what the Föhn Wind is, how it is formed and the effect it has on the weather of Switzerland.

Task 4: Summary

a) Click on the brainstorm diagram below and save a copy to your documents. Now use the links and information from above to complete the brainstorm. Try to add a brief explanation for each factor.

Factors affecting climate brainstrom.png
Click on the image to open the document.

b) Look at the map below that shows the capital cities of Europe. Now use the information above to answer the following questions.

i) Why is Oslo colder than Monaco?

ii) Why does it rain more in Lisbon than Madrid?

iii) Why is the winter much colder in Kiev than in London?


Task 5: Types of Rainfall

First of all, a quick revision of the water cycle.


Convection Rainfall

Convection rainfall.png

Convection Rainfall is associated with the formation of Cumulonimbus clouds. Watch the clouds form in the video below.

Orographic Rainfall:

relief rainfall.png

1) Insert the image above into your notes under the title, Orographic/Relief Rainfall. Once you have done this, use the diagram to explain why the climate on the south side of the Alps (The Ticino) is much drier than the northern side.

2) Find photographs of the Ticino and areas on the north side of the alps. Use Google maps to help you.

Frontal Rainfall:

frontal rainfall.png

3) Complete the worksheet below. If you are in an extra English class, do the ESL worksheet first.

Frontal Rainfall Worksheets

Rainfall Summary

4) Complete the 3 types of rainfall worksheet using the information above.

Task 6: Air Pressure

What causes high and low pressure?

High Pressure: Anticylones

brighton beach.jpg

frosty trees.jpg

1) Insert the two images above into your notes under the heading, "Air Pressure."

2) You are now going to play a game of spot the difference. Try to find the similarities and differences between the two photographs. Annotate (label) the diagrams to show the similarities and differences you spot.

Both photographs were taken during periods of high pressure known as 'Anticyclones.' The air is cold and sinking. Cold air cannot hold very much water and therefore there are very few clouds. As the air sinks, it warms and therefore condensation doesn't take place. No condensation means no clouds and therefore no rain.

Anticyclones tend to give fine settled weather which may last several days. They can cover huge areas. In summer they bring hot and sunny weather. In winter they bring clear skies, low temperatures and a risk of fog and frost.

3) Use this page to help you complete the worksheet below.

Low Pressure: Depressions

Low Pressure means bad weather.jpg

click here to see a simulation of a warm and cold front.

4) Now do the activity on this webpage.

Air Masses:

Unit Summary and Learning Goals

This document can be used as a check list for your revision.


BBC Bitesize weather and climate pages with test. This is an excellent revision page. Although the emphasis is on British weather, the information is the same for most of western Europe.