Influence of Topography on Climate (shortened)

The distribution of land, seas, mountain ranges, valleys and other features influences regional climates.

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