By the end of the chapter you should be able to:
- Explain the difference between weather and climate.
- Compare and contrast empirical, genetic and applied classification systems.
- Describe the major climate classes (A,B,C,D,E) of the Koeppen system of climate classification.
- List and describe the elements of climate.
- Describe the characteristics of global climates and locate them on a world map.
The climate of Earth is a mosaic of temperature and moisture patterns that affect the distribution of plants and animals and shapes the Earth's surface. Much is known about the present climate patterns of the Earth, yet our understanding of the cause of these distributions and change that occurs over time is ever unfolding. Not only do geoscientists like climatologists seek to unravel the interactions between natural phenomena that determine climate, but also seek to understand how human activity determines our climate.
- 9.3: Climate Classification
- When considering the Earth's climate, there is such an enormous amount of information that one has to break it down into areas of commonality to easily understand it. Climatologists have therefore created several ways to organize the wealth of information about Earth's climate to bring order and understanding to it.
- 9.7: Urban Climate
- Urbanization has a significant impact on all elements of the atmosphere. Replacing natural vegetation with artificial surfaces alters the heat balance and hydrology of the local environment. Urban canyons affect wind speed and increased particulate content enhances precipitation down wind of a city.
- 9.8: Future Geographies - The Evidence for Climate Change
- It is clear from past research that Earth's climate has varied significantly over time, the causes of which are many and complex. Even over the span of human history, the Earth has undergone significant periods of warming and cooling. Present day global warming however is not, to most scientists, a consequence of natural climate variability. Most recognize that the present change to a warmer climate is a product of human impact on the Earth system.