Lesson 9: Geography and Climate

Getting Started

Weather is the variety of atmospheric conditions that you experience day to day. Climate is the long-term weather patterns of your area. Living near mountains, an ocean, or plains affects the kinds of events and activities you do. It also affects the weather that you have to plan for, and the climate in your region. In this lesson you will explore the connection between geography and climate, both around the world and in your local area.

Weather journal: Fill out your weather journal for today. What do you think the weather will be tonight or tomorrow?

Stuff You Need

  • Eyewitness Weather by Brian Cosgrove (revised edition)
  • colored pencils
  • glue stick or glue
  • markers
  • scissors
  • tape

Ideas to Think About

  • What affects the daily weather or climate in your environment?
  • How do air masses, wind currents, and geography determine the climate and weather cycles of an environment?
  • How does weather connect place on Earth that are far apart?

Things to Know

  • Weather is the day-to-day variety of atmospheric conditions in an environment.
  • Climate is the long-term weather patterns that affect a specific environment.
  • A sea breeze is a wind that blows off the sea onto the land.
  • Windward means the side of a mountain that faces the wind, and leeward is the side that does not face the wind.
  • The polar climate area is the one closest to the North and South Poles. It is has cool summers and extremely cold winters, and much of the land is covered in ice.
  • The subpolar climate area is found just below the polar zone. It has warm weather only a few months a year and has very cold winters. Forests of evergreen trees are common here.
  • The temperate climate area features four distinct season, with warm summers and cold winters. Corn, wheat, and soybeans are commonly grown here.
  • The subtropical climate area is located just above the tropical zone. This area is known for its mild winters and hot summers. Citrus fruits and avocados grow well here.
  • The tropical climate area is warm to hot all year long. It has distinct wet and dry seasons. Rainforests, forests, and dry grasslands can all be found here.
  • The equatorial climate area is always hot, humid, and wet. The heat and plentiful rainfall allow rainforests to thrive.


  • Analyze global wind, water, and air mass movements to determine their effects on local and global climate. (S)
  • Discuss and determine the influence of these factors on weather and climate: mountains, sea breezes, water bodies/oceans. (S)

Introducing the Lesson

In this lesson your child will learn about the effects of geography on weather and climate. He will explore how global cycles of winds, air pressure, and sunlight affect the climate and weather everywhere on Earth. He will also consider the climate of your environment and what geographical factors create that climate.
Reading and Questions
Materials: Eyewitness Weather by Brian Cosgrove (revised edition)
Read pages 52-57 in the book Eyewitness Weather by Brian Cosgrove. Answer the following questions.
  1. How does the weather on a mountain differ from the weather at sea level?
    Answers may include that the wind is much stronger, temperatures are lower, air pressure is lower, and it is often wet or misty.
  2. What difference does it make if you are on the windward side or leeward side of a mountain?
    Windward sides get more rain and clouds. As air goes over the top of the mountain, the air has usually lost most of the extra moisture, so the leeward side is drier. (Your child may also mention that the windward side gets more wind than the leeward side.)
  3. Why are plains usually very dry?
    Answers may include that they are far from the sea, their summers are often very hot, there is little rainfall, and dry winds blow strongly over them.
  4. What types of clouds tend to form over the plains?
    Lenticular clouds, which are formed on the leeward side of a mountain.
  5. What kinds of summers and winters do coastal areas have?
    Because it takes time for a large body of water to lose heat, summers are slightly cooler and winters are milder than in inland areas.