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Activity 1 - Present-Day Climate in Your Community

Use the resources listed below to help you complete this activity.


To learn more about this topic, visit the following web sites:

Factors Affecting Climate

What's Climate Change?, INNOVA Center for Sustainable Development
This web site offers information on factors affecting climates, including both natural and human factors.

What is Climate?, Utah State Office of Education
This site provides basic information on factors that influence the measurement of climates (i.e., elevation, latitude, prevailing wind direction, topography, and ocean currents).


The Encyclopedia of the Atmospheric Environment
This web site provides information on latitude and the varying amounts of sunlight received from different latitudes on Earth.

A Primer: Factors Affecting Arctic Weather and Climate
"The factors discussed in this section are building blocks to understanding arctic weather and climate. Each factor plays an important role alone and in interaction with other factors.

Elevation and Geographic Features

Elevation in Colorado, Colorado State University
Discover the effects of elevation on Colorado's climate.

Secondary Influences on Climate
The secondary influences affecting climate are introduced in this web site including position relative to land and water masses, altitude, topography, prevailing winds, ocean currents, and prevalence of cyclonic storms agents.

Back to the Isle of Man: Geography and Climate, IM Government
Explore the British island, Isle of Man, and learn what role its geography has in creating its mild climate.

Global Climate

The Official Global Climate Observation System Web Site, World Meteorological Organization, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the International Council for Science
This web site provides information on world weather and climate conditions as well as global climate change with respect to mean sea level and terrestrial ecosystems.

Climate Variability and Change, the United States Global Change Research Program
Learn about the factors affecting the world's climate system (i.e., natural and anthropogenic changes) and how these can also influence it's social and economic well-being by exploring this web site.


Part A: Physical Features and Climate in Your Community

To complete the investigation, each student group will need:

  • Topographic map of community

  • Resources that provide climate data tables. Visit the following web sites:

    Comparative Climactic Data for the United States through 2000, NOAA
    If you would like to access other information (i.e., temperature, wind, sunshine, cloudiness, and humidity) on additional locations which are not provided in the book, visit this web site.

    National Weather Service
    This link takes you to a directory with folders for 37 states and/or provinces. Inside each folder there are daily climate data and forecasts for selected locations in that area. Data is not available for all states at this site.

    Climate-at-a-Glance, NOAA
    Search 106 years of archived weather data for the United States at this site. The user can query the site by searching for national, regional, state, and city information, by preciptation or temperature, and period of time. This site even allows the user to display the information in a bar chart, line chart, or table.

    NOAA El Nino Page, U.S. Climate Prediction Center
    This website provides data tables/maps of US precipitation and temperature rates based on data from previous El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events.

Part B: Physical Features & Climate in a Different Community

To complete the investigation, each student group will need:

  • Topographic map of a different community

Inquiring Further:

To learn more about weather systems in the United States, visit the following web sites:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

National Weather Service

Interactive Weather Information Network

To learn more about the jet stream, visit the following web sites:

Jet Stream, National Weather Service (NWS)

Jet Steam, University of Illinois

Understanding Winds, Jet Streams,
Scroll down to the "Understanding Winds, Jet Streams" section of this online newspaper to investigate the science behind the jet stream.


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Last updated: May 11, 2010

This project is supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation and the AGI Foundation. Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Foundation.




Climate Change

Activity 1
Activity 2
Activity 3
Activity 4
Activity 5
Activity 6

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