Influence of Topography on Climate (shortened)
The distribution of land, seas, mountain ranges, valleys and other features influences regional climates.
- Large bodies of water will :
- Moderate temperatures extremes.
- Water is slow to warm up (cools hot air) and slow to cool off (warms cold air).
- Provide a source of moisture for the air, precipitation tends to be higher.
- Near the center of a land mass :
- Temperatures are more extreme (very hot or cold).
- Precipitation tends to be lower (no water sources).
- Elevation changes:
- Denser air can contain more heat energy.
- Temperatures decrease as elevation increase.
- Near mountains:
- As air approaches the mountains (windward side), it rises to go over them.
- As it rises, it expands and cools to the point where the air can not hold water vapor anymore.
- This is called the dew point and clouds form. Precipitation occurs.
- Most of the moisture is taken out of the air by the time it gets over the mountain summits.
- As the air descends down the mountain's leeward side it compresses and warms.
- The warming air absorbs moisture from the ground and dries the leeward side (rain shadow).