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Desert Climate - Sparse Rain and Vegetation

Climate is the condition of a place or country in relation to the temperature and moisture of its atmosphere. It depends upon the latitude, elevation, winds, oceanic currents, and mountain ranges.

Moisture is vapor which rises from the ocean and other bodies of water on the Earth's surface. It is carried over the land, by the wind, and when it enters cold air, it becomes rain or snow. More rain falls on the coasts than in the interior of a continent, and more on that side of a continent or mountain chain against which the prevailing winds blow. The Zone in which the most rain falls is the Torrid. On the Western Continent, the greatest amount of rain falls in South America, between the Andes Mountains and the eastern coast, where the prevailing winds are from the east. In the Temperate Zones, the winds blow from the west or southwest. Therefore much rain falls on the western coasts of North America and Europe. The great rainless regions are in the interior of Africa and Asia. A region without moisture is a desert.

The heat diminishes as you leave the Torrid Zone and travel toward either Pole, or as you ascend a high mountain. From the Equator toward the North Pole, the temperature diminishes about 1° for every 100 miles, and from the level of the sea to the summit of a mountain, the temperature diminishes about 1° for every 350 feet.

Coasts that are washed by warm oceanic currents have a warmer climate than other parts of a continent in the same latitude. The western coast of Europe is washed by the Gulf Stream, a warm current which, with the aid of the westerly or southwesterly winds, gives to that part of Europe a climate celebrated for its mildness and moisture, while that of the eastern part is very cold in winter and very hot in summer. The western coast of the United States is washed by a warm current of the Pacific Ocean, giving to California, Oregon, and Washington Territory, a climate similar to that of Western Europe. The land is warmer in summer and colder in winter than the ocean. Consequently, winds which blow over the ocean are more even in temperature than those which blow over the land.
Tropical Rainforest Climate - Abundant Rain and Vegetation

Climates produce important effects upon the vegetation of different countries and upon the condition and pursuits of the inhabitants. Vegetation is most luxuriant in the Torrid Zone. This is due to the great heat and moisture of that region.


  1. Examine the world map below and find the following:
    • The Equator
    • The Prime Meridian
    • Lines of Latitude
    • Lines of Longitude
    • The Northern Hemisphere
    • The Southern Hemisphere
    • The Western Hemisphere
    • The Eastern Hemisphere

  2. Trace the following lines of latitude and longitude on the world map:
    • Latitude: 0°
    • Latitude: 20° N
    • Latitude: 20° S
    • Latitude: 60° N
    • Latitude: 60° S
    • Longitude: 0°
    • Longitude: 20° W
    • Longitude: 20° E
    • Longitude: 140° W
    • Longitude: 140° E

  3. Examine the world map and find the following currents:
    • Gulf Stream on the Eastern Coast of the United States
    • Gulf Stream Warming Europe
    • Equatorial Currents
    • Counter Current
    • Brazil Current
    • Cold Arctic Currents
    • Warm Current to the Arctic Ocean
    • Japan Current
    • Antarctic Current

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