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Welcome to Climate Types for Kids

Weather and climate are different.  Weather is a short term description of the air in an area measured by temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind, and other factors. Climate is usually defined as the weather conditions in an area over a long period of time.  Climate is determined by 1 or more of the 5 causes of climate.  There are 12 different types of climate found on Earth.  Sometimes climate types are called climate zones. Each of the 12 climate types are grouped into 5 categories, except 1 (Highland).  Climates in the same category share characteristics and usually are found in the same area.  Climates change over time, usually the change is very slow.  The Earth has experienced many different climates over its 4.54 billion years.  There are many different factors that cause climates to shift and change.

Globe showing Direct Sunlight Southern Hemisphere

Original image by Przemyslaw "Blueshade" Idzkiewicz. Adapted for direct/indirect sunlight.

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

The Earth maintains the same angle of it's tilt as it revolves around the sun, so at times the northern hemisphere tilts toward the sun (summer), other times it tilts away from the sun (winter). This tilt changes the amount of direct sunlight different parts of the Earth get. The picture above show the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere (December Solstice), which is the Summer Solstice for the southern hemisphere. A solstice is a day of either the shortest or the longest day of light for the year, depending on which hemisphere you are in. So in the picture above, the sun might only be up for 10 hours in New York, but during the June Solstice, the sun will be up for nearly 16 hours in New York. This change in direct and indirect sunlight throughout the year is the primary driver of climate around the world. 

Average Monthly Temperatures

globe showing monthly temp animation
Globe showing Precipitation montly animation

Average Monthly Precipitation

The map animation above shows monthly temperatures around the world and how they change each month. You can see summer and winter happening in the north and south hemispheres. This occurs because the Earth revolves around the sun at a tilted angle, which changes the amount of direct and indirect sunlight different for parts of the Earth. 

The map animation above shows monthly precipitation around the world and how it changes each month. You can see the precipitation gets heavier during the warmer months because the warmth evaporates water and begins the water cycle. Also notice the areas that are dark blue throughout the year. These are likely areas that have a Tropical Wet Climate.

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