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Climate:
What is it and why is it Changing?

Introduction

The one thing that affects just about every aspect of our lives, from the clothes we wear, the sports we play to the moods we're in, is our climate.  What is climate and what causes Chicopee to have a climate different from that of Disney World? In what ways has climate changed and who or what is responsible for this change? In this activity, you will be traveling to different web sites to answer these questions:



 
 
 
 
 
 
  • What is climate?
  • What factors cause climate?
  • What factors are causing climate to change?

Task One
Lets start with what you know.  Go to the following web site, Climate questions, and try to answer the 20 questions on climate . Make sure you make notes to assist you in answering the questions listed above. At the end of this task you should have several written notes on the definition of climate and the factors that affect climate.


Task Two
One of the factors affecting the climate of an area is the global address of a place.  For example, Chicopee's location on the Earth is described in terms of it's longitude and latitude. Refer to the definition of these terms in your book or notes. Now, go to this web site to find the global address of Chicopee (world climate data). Write this address down on your notes and go to the globe in the room and locate this latitude and longitude.  Find a place on the globe that has zero degrees latitude.  What kind of climate would you expect to find here?  Write down your answer.


Task Three
Now it's time to investigate all the factors that can influence climate. A trip to this next site will help (climate system).  How does each of the following affect climate:
Atmosphere
Ocean
Ice
Biosphere (plants, animals, humans)

Don't stop here. Go to this site for even better answers to your questions: factors affecting climate.



 

Task Four
By now you are well aware that climate is influenced by temperature.  So what factors influence temperature?  In this next site, you will learn learn about the natural and human factors that affect temperature.  You will learn two new terms, global warming and ozone.

Task Five
What would happen to our environment if our climate did change? In this next site,  What happens if climate changes, you will read about
the possible changes that may occur in our natural environment.  Read through the entire page.  Write down specific examples of how climate change may affect people, plants, and the sea level.
 


 CONGRATULATIONS!

You have successfully completed the on-line component of this unit.


This is what I will be evaluating for your grade: In class test.  For this test you may use any of the notes you took from the on-line resources. You will be given four different events which will have some dramatic impact on our climate. Your goal is to explain how each event will affect the climate.  Here's an example:

Event:  The Earth's wobble has caused
the axis to change so that Chicopee is
     now located at a latitude of 23 degrees.
Explain two ways in which this change
will affect our climate.

Answer: The temperature would be warmer because we would be tilted more directly towards the sun.  We would also have more hours of sunlight.  This would cause different types of plants to grow.  It would allow us to grow more vegetables throughout the year.  Warmer temperatures would mean greater evaporation which could result in more rainfall.


 


On Line Resources for this web page

world climate data - Longitude and Latitude
climate questions - 20 questions about climate
climate systems - Describes several factors affecting climate. Third in a series of sites.
Global warming/ozone impact on climate  cartoon simulation
What happens if climate changes - description on environmental impact resulting from climate change
Interactive cartoon on factors affecting temp.- interactive page on factors affecting climate
factors affecting climate - lists descriptions of many factors