Climate Around the World

Cindy Shellito
,
Earth Sciences, University of Northern Colorado
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Summary

This exercise is designed to provide students with an overview of regional climate variations around the world and promote discussion of factors that create differences in climate around the world. This assignment provides an introduction to the complexities of the climate system by requiring each student to gather information about one region or country, then synthesize that with information provided by other students.

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Context

Audience

This activity is designed for students in an introductory non-majors meteorology course, but can be tailored as an introductory activity for use in upper division courses.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students must have some familiarity with how to perform a Google search. They must also be familiar with how an annual average temperature is calculated, and what is meant by the 'seasonal range' of temperature or rainfall. They should also have some instruction on how to convert between degrees Celsuis and degrees Fahrenheit.

How the activity is situated in the course

Whether this is an introductory or a more advanced course, this activity is situated within the first or second week. It provides an opportunity for students to begin to consider the difference between weather and climate, and the fact that climate is a rather complex topic. This activity also provides students with a good opportunity to get to know each other.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

After completing this activity and participating in discussion following the activity, students should be able to:
  • Explain how temperature and precipitation vary with longitude and latitude.
  • Explain why the seasonal range of temperature varies around the globe.
  • Explain factors that lead to regional differences in climate.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Students should be able to:
  • Analyze meteorological data (specifically, know how to calculate a 'mean' and a 'seasonal range').
  • Synthesize data with that collected by classmates.
  • Form hypotheses regarding why climate varies regionally.

Other skills goals for this activity

  • Search WWW for weather and climate information around the world.
  • Convert degrees Celsius to degrees Fahrenheit if necessary.
  • Work in a group to develop a means of presenting information.

Description of the activity/assignment

This activity introduces students to global climate patterns by requiring each student to collect information about the climate in a particular region of the globe. After collecting information, students share data through posters in class and consider factors that lead to differences in climate in different parts of the world.

Determining whether students have met the goals

  • Students develop posters based on the information they have gathered.
  • Students share their interpretations of the data orally in class discussion.
  • Students submit a worksheet with answers to questions about global climate.

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