Archive "Climat"
Desertification worldwide

In the Grip of a Dry Climate

The Sahara remains the preeminent example of a midlatitude desert formed as a result of the way in which heating at the equator drives the atmospheric circulation of the whole planet. Moist, heated air rises high into the atmosphere at the equator, which draws the steady flow of the trade winds in the midlatitudes. The […]

Spinning fiction out of Colombian climate

The fractured mix of coastline and mountain across northernmost Colombia and Venezuela is laced with small-scale weather regimes that violate the normal rules of climate. As the childhood home of novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, this land was fertile ground for the blend of magic and realism that permeates his writing. Garcia Marquez grew up in […]

What you can do about climate change

It's the biggest environment challenge our world has ever faced, but that doesn't mean global warming is insoluble. Here are a few ways you can make a difference. Calculate your carbon. Through a variety of online tools, you can determine how much carbon is produced by your daily activities – the perfect starting point for […]

A preview of next year’s climate

If you can't get next week's weather right, how can you claim to predict anything a year in advance? It's the difference between weather and climate that makes long-lead forecasts possible. Actual storms can't be predicted a year out, but the longer-term features that affect climate across a season can sometimes be foretold with surprising […]

This twenty-year analysis shows the average temperature for January across the globe.

Climate zones

Nobody really experiences climate per se. You can experience weather any time just by stepping outside, but climate is the average of sun, rain, snow, wind and other elements playing out over the long haul. This makes it an abstraction, built from the fragments of weather that caress or assault us. Even so, climate is […]

Weather vs climate

Science-fiction master Robert Heinlein once pointed out, “Climate is what you expect; weather is what you get'That, in a nutshell, is the difference between the two. Weather refers to the day-to-day vagaries of the atmosphere, the conditions that change from hour to hour and from day to day. Climate deals with the average of weather […]

Climate change

Climate change

Oil, coal and gas may be set to run out in the next century or so, but should we be using them in the first place? People have always known that fossil fuels present problems. Oil causes environmental damage when it leaks from pipelines or ships. Burning it produces a wide range of pollutants. The […]

Climate change deniers

What should we do with our growing awareness that we are altering the Earth's climate? Some think that innovation, especially in energy technology, will sort it all out, given some political will and an awareness that there is profit in it. This is more or less this author's line, although I also think that time […]

Life in a cold climate

How do animals and people manage to live in the Arctic? Ask Karl Georg Christian Bergmann (1814-65). This German medic and anatomist worked out that as conditions get colder, animals get bigger. In the US, a much-studied example of Bergmann's Rule is the Song Sparrow. Members of this widespread species that live by the sea […]


Longer-term climatic cycles

In addition to the annual cycle of the seasons, there are longer-term cycles at play which affect the amount of energy the Earth receives from the Sun, causing significant variations in the Earths climate. First, there have now been almost 400 years of routine observations of the Sun which show that sunspots appear on its surface […]

Australia’s Unique Life Forms

Southeast Asia, Oceania, and Antarctica: Climate and Vegetation

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE During the Vietnam War, American troops were sent to fight in unfamiliar Southeast Asia. Among the hardships they endured was the tropical climate. Few had ever lived in a place that had a monsoon season with constant rain. One soldier wrote to his wife, “We live in mud and rain. I'm so […]

Climate Comparison, East Asia and North America

East Asia: Climate and Vegetation

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Kublai Khan was the ruler of the Mongol Empire (which included China) in the 13th century. In 1281, the Great Khan sent a huge fleet against Japan. A typhoon—a tropical storm that occurs in the western Pacific—swept across the Sea of Japan and sank the Mongol ships or dashed them against the […]

Climate and Vegetation of South Asia

South Asia: Climate and Vegetation

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Every April and May, much of South Asia bakes in the heat. People endure temperatures that regularly top 100°F. Dust fills the air, and streams dry up. People walk for miles looking for water. Then—when it seems that no one can survive another day—the clouds roll in. The skies open up, and […]

Climates of Southwest Asia

Southwest Asia: Climate and Vegetation

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In the spring of 1999, three Canadian explorers retraced the steps of Sir Wilfred Thesiger's 1946 epic journey across the Rub al-Khali on the Arabian Peninsula. It is one of the most extreme deserts in the world. Like Sir Wilfred, they crossed using camels, not four-wheel drive vehicles. But unlike Sir Wilfred, […]

Climates of Africa

Africa: Climate and Vegetation

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In 1352, 48-year-old Ibn Battuta, a great traveler from Morocco, set out for the empire of Mali in West Africa. His most challenging obstacle was the Sahara, a desert nearly the same size as the continental United States. Battuta and his caravan set out in February. They traveled only in early morning […]

Vegetation Regions of Russia and the Republics

Russia and the Republics: Climate and Vegetation

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Large areas of Russia and the Republics are extremely cold during much of the year. For example, the Siberian town of Oymyakon has reportedly had temperatures as low as –95°F. At such temperatures, the cold can crack steel and cause tires to explode. When you exhale, your breath freezes into crystals that […]

Climographs: Fargo and Paris

Europe: Climate and Vegetation

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Because of Greece's mild climate, the ancient Greeks spent much time outdoors. Greek men liked to talk with their friends in the marketplace. They also enjoyed sports. Large crowds gathered for athletic contests that were held during religious festivals. The most important of these was a footrace held every four years in […]

Vegetation of Latin America

Latin America: Climate and Vegetation

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In the 17th century, missionaries and Indians in the area of present-day Paraguay were at times attacked by jaguars, the great cats of Latin America. In 1637, packs of jaguars roamed the countryside, attacking humans. The Indians built barricades for protection from the savage cats. But the jaguars remained a source of […]


The United States and Canada: Climate and Vegetation

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE A little gold and bitter cold—that is what thousands of prospectors found in Alaska and the Yukon Territory during the Klondike gold rushes of the 1890s. Most of these fortune hunters were unprepared for the harsh climate and inhospitable land of the far north. Winters were long and cold, the ground frozen. […]

Climate Regions

World Climate Regions

Types of Climates World climates are generally divided into five large regions: tropical, dry, mid-latitude, high latitude, and highland. The regions are divided into smaller subregions that are described below. TROPICAL WET This subregion has little variation in temperature over the year—it is always hot, with an average temperature of 80°F. The days begin sunny […]

Global Wind Currents


A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Nineteenth-century fishermen along the Peruvian coast called the event El Nino—the Spanish name for the infant Jesus—because the event occurred near Christmastime. Every two to seven years, the waters off the Peruvian coast became warmer than usual, resulting in poor fishing. Eventually, 20th-century scientists studying worldwide climate changes confirmed the truth of […]

Vegetation transects

Climate and Altitude Gradients

CLIMATE GRADIENTS AND BIOME TYPES As we have seen, biomes and formation classes change along with climate. Figure 9.34 shows three continental transects that illustrate this principle. The upper transect stretches from the Equator to the Tropic of Cancer in Africa. Across this region, climate ranges through all four low-latitude climates: wet equatorial, monsoon and trade-wind coastal, wet-dry tropical , […]

World map of the boreal forest climate

High-Latitude Climates (Group III)

By and large, the high-latitude climates are climates of the northern hemisphere, occupying the northern subarctic and arctic latitude zones. But they also extend southward into the midlatitude zone as far south as about the 47th parallel in eastern North America and eastern Asia. One of these, the ice sheet climate, is present in both hemispheres in the polar zones. The […]

World map of the moist continental climate

Midlatitude Climates (Group II)

The midlatitude climates almost fully occupy the land areas of the midlatitude zone and a large proportion of the subtropical latitude zone. They also extend into the subarctic latitude zone, along the western fringe of Europe, reaching to the 60th parallel. Unlike the lowlatitude climates, which are about equally distributed between northern and southern hemispheres, nearly all of the midlatitude climate area […]

World map of wet equatorial and monsoon and trade-wind coastal climates

Low-Latitude Climates (Group I)

The low-latitude climates lie for the most part between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, occupying all of the equatorial zone (10° N to 10° S), most of the tropical zone (10–15° N and S), and part of the subtropical zone. The low-latitude climate regions include the equatorial trough of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ), the belt of tropical easterlies (northeast and […]

Climate groups and air-mass regions

Climate Classification

Mean monthly values of air temperature and precipitation can describe the climate of a weather station and its nearby region quite accurately. To study climates from a global viewpoint, climatologists classify these values into distinct climate types. This classification requires developing a set of rules to use in examining monthly temperature and precipitation values. By applying the rules, a climatologist can use […]

Climate controls

Factors Controlling Climate

Climate is the average weather of a region. The primary driving force for weather is the flow of solar energy received by the Earth and atmosphere. Because that energy flow varies on daily cycles with the planet's rotation and on annual cycles with its revolution in orbit, temperature and precipitation also vary on daily and annual cycles. However, climate includes […]

Africa Climate


The diverse climates of Africa range from scorching deserts to icy glaciers, from steamy rainforests to grassy plains. Climate is a long-term weather pattern, the sum of features such as temperature, rainfall, and wind. The amount of heat from the sun plays a major role in determining climate. The equator receives more solar heat than any other part of the […]

Climate Change

Introduction Communities which cope with climatic hazards by im plicitly assuming a continuance of the status quo learn harsh lessons. Despite this, quite limited adaptation to known risks is often apparent in contemporary society. In the past, the catastrophe of harvest failure led to sometimes quite sophisticated coping responses and the shunning of areas of known high risk based on […]


MICROCLIMATES ARE climates of small areas, such as gardens, cities, lakes, valleys, and forests. A microclimate is an expression of the temperature, humidity, and wind within a few feet or meters of the ground. Such expressions exist because surfaces vary in their ability to absorb, store, or reflect the sun's energy, making some areas warmer […]

climate classification

CLIMATE IS an average or aggregate of daily weather conditions over a period of years. Latitude, distance from oceans, atmospheric and oceanic circulation pattern, elevation, and local geographical features control the climate of a place. The controls of climate result in a plethora of interrelated elements of climate, ranging from temperature, pressure, wind, humidity, clouds, […]


THE TERM climate refers to the long-term averages of insolation (solar radiation absorbed by Earth), temperature, precipitation, cloud cover, air masses, atmospheric pressure, winds, and cloud coverage. Of these, temperature and precipitation are the most important factors in establishing climate type. A place may have rain on one day, clear conditions for a week, and […]