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WEATHER AND CLIMATE: FULL EXPLANATION

Geograpphy Sec Sch

Weather is defined as the condition of the atmosphere of a place at a certain time or within a short period. The weather of a place is always very brief and changes regularly e.g. the weather of a day could be sunny, rainy or cloudy etc.

Climate is defined as the average atmospheric condition of an area over a long period of time. Unlike weather, climate of a place lasts for a very long time before it can change.

Elements of Weather and Climate

The elements of weather and climate include:

(i)         Temperature                                        (ii)        Rainfall

(iii)       Wind                                                   (iv)       Pressure

(v)        Relative humidity                               (vi)      Cloud cover

(vii)      Sunshine

 

Climate varies from one part of the world to another due to the effects of the following factors:

  1. Latitude                           2.Altitude
  2. Continentally or distance from the sea 4.Ocean currents
  3. Planetary winds and pressure belts 6.Slope and aspect
  4. Cloud cover                              8.Natural vegetation and soil

 

Evaluation Questions:

  1. What is weather?
  2. Differentiate between weather and climate.

Importance of weather and climate to man

1          Human settlement: Weather and climate affect the rate at which human being live in a place.

  1. Health: Humid or damp environment encourage the growth of micro-organisms which cause diseases hence, death rate is higher in the tropical region than in the temperate countries.
  2. Environment hazards: Hazards like soil erosion, rain storm, flood and drought are caused by differences in weather and climate.
  3. Vegetation: Temperature and rainfall are the major determinant of the type of vegetation in an area which could be light or thick.
  4. Clothing: The type and nature of clothing worn by different people in different part of the world is due to the differences in climate. Cold climate requires black and thick dresses while hot climate requires light dresses.
  5. Housing: The type and nature of houses built in different places is also influenced by differences in climate. E.g. hot region requires air-condition houses whereas, polar region do not.
  6. Agriculture: Rainfall and temperature are important elements that determine the type of crops to be cultivated in an area.

8          Soil Formation: Soil is formed from parent rocks which have been broken by elements of weather and climate. The rate of disintegration of rocks to form soil is principally a factor of climate.

  1. Communication and Transportation: The type of transportation used in an area is greatly influenced by weather and climate.
  2. Occupation: The climate of a place does determine the occupation of the people in that particular region. E.g. People living in equatorial type of climate are more likely to be involved in cash crop farming and lumbering of hardwood.

11        Cultural Activities: The climate of a place can also affect the cultural activities of some people e.g. winter or summer sports.

  1. Health: The health status of a particular area can be determined by the type of climate. The sub –tropical climate is said to favour the breeding of mosquitoes, which causes malaria fever.

 

Evaluation Questions:

  1. Mention any four elements of weather and climate.
  2. State any three importance of weather and climate to man.

 

KEEPING WEATHER RECORDS AND INSTRUMENTS

Measurement of Rainfall

An instrument called Rain-gauge is used in measuring rainfall.

Description: A rain gauge consists of a metal funnel that leads to a glass bottle enclosed within a copper cylinder .The gauge is usually erected high above the ground to avoid splashing and it is sited far away from buildings and tall trees that might shelter it. The rain gauge must be examined every day and daily records taken. Record is taken by removing the funnel and the contents of the glass bottle are emptied into the measuring cylinder.

Formula

(1)        Mean monthly rainfall =

Add total rainfall for the month

No of days in the month

 

(2)        Annual rainfall = Add the total rainfall (Jan-Dec)

 

(3)        Annual range of rainfall

= Month with            –             month with

highest rainfall                                     lowest rainfall

 

(4)        Mean annual rainfall =

Total rainfall (Jan- Dec)

12

(5)        Highest rainfall = Month with the highest rainfall

 

(6)        Lowest rainfall = Month with the lowest rainfall

 

Example: Calculate (i) month with the lowest rainfall (ii) month with the highest rainfall

(iii)       annual rainfall (iv) annual range of rainfall (v) mean annual rainfall using the table below:

Month J F M A M J J A S O N D
Rainfall 10 80 20 18 5 50 45 40 90 20 50 40

Solutions

(i)         Month with the lowest rainfall = May (5cm)

(ii)        Month with the highest rainfall = September (90 cm)

(iii)       Annual rainfall = Total rainfall for 12 months.

=                10 + 80 + 20 + 18 …+ 50 + 40 = 468 cm

(iv)       Annual range of rainfall = 90 – 5 = 85 cm

(v)        Mean annual rainfall =

Total rainfall for 12 months

12

= 468     = 39 cm 

12

 

Measurement of Temperature

An instrument called Thermometer measures the temperature of a place.

Description: The thermometer is a narrow glass tube filled with mercury or alcohol. It works on the principle that mercury and alcohol expand when heated and contract when cooled. Temperature is commonly recorded in centigrade (oC) or Fahrenheit (oF) scale. The freezing (lowest) point for centigrade scale is 0oc while Fahrenheit is 320F. The boiling (or highest) point for centigrade scale is 100oC  while that of the Fahrenheit is 212oF. It is possible to convert from one scale to another.

Geographers are interested in shade temperatures which is the temperature of the air to exclude the intensity of the suns radiant heat. To get accurate records, thermometers are kept in a standard shelter called Stevenson Screen to protect it from the effects of radiant heat of the sun and rain. The Stevenson screen is a wooden box raised above the ground to a height of 4ft or 1.2m.To measure the maximum and minimum temperatures of the day, a combined maximum and minimum thermometers are used.

 

Calculations:

Formulae

(i)         Mean daily temperature          =    Max. temp. + Mini temp. for a day

2

(ii)       Diurnal range of temperature = Max. temp – Mini. Temp that day

(iii)      Monthly range of temperature = Difference between the hottest and the coldest daily temperature for the month.

(iv)      Annual temperature    =   temperature of the hottest month – temperature of the coldest month.

(v)       Annual temperature     =   Total temperature (Jan – Dec)

(vi)      Mean Annual Temperature  =   total temp (Jan – Dec)

12

 

Example: Calculate using the table below

(i)         The month with the highest temperature

(ii)        The month with the lowest temperature

(iii)       Annual range of temperature

(iv)       Annual temperature

(v)        Mean annual temperature

Month J F M A M J J A S O N D
Tem.(0o) 40 30 21 25 10 40 48 30 25 30 20 15

 

Solutions

(i)         Month with the highest temperature = July (48oc)

(ii)        Month with the lowest temperature = May (10oc)

(iii)       Annual range of temperature = temp of the hottest month – Temp of coldest

= 48oc – 10oc

= 38oc

(iv)       Annual temperature = Total temp.(Jan – Dec) = 40 + 30 + 21

+…… + 30 + 20 + 15

= 334oc

(v)        Mean annual temperature = Total temp (Jan – Dec)

12

= 334

12

= 27.8oc

Measurement of Wind

Wind has direction and speed. The direction of wind is measured by an instrument called Wind Vane while the speed of the wind is measured by a different instrument called Anemometer.

Description: (a) Wind vane: wind vane is made up of two parts – one part is the arrow or vane on the top, which is free to move with the prevailing wind. The other part is stationary and consists of a frame and four compass points. The vane or arrow points to the direction from which the wind is blowing so that wind is named from the direction it blows eg South West Wind blows from South West direction. Wind vane is located in an exposed position so that tall buildings and trees do not deflect the wind direction.

(b)       Anemometer: This consists of three or four semi-circular cups attached to the ends of horizontal spokes mounted on a high vertical spindle. As the wind blows, the cups rotate. The higher the speed of the wind, the greater the speed of the cups and vice versa.

 

Measurement of pressure

The instrument used in measuring atmospheric pressure is called Barometer. Pressure is measured in unit of force called milibars A normal atmospheric pressure shows a reading of 760mm (76cm) or 1013 millibars. Mercury barometer consists of a beaker in which a glass tube is dipped and both contain mercury. Another instrument used for measuring pressure is the aneroid barometer. But a modified aneroid barometer used in aeroplanes is called Altimeter.

 

Measurement of Relative Humidity

The instrument used for measuring relative humidity is called Hygrometer.

Description: The hygrometer consists of wet and dry-bulb thermometers placed side by side in the stevension screen. The dry bulb is an ordinary thermometer that measures the shade temperature. The wet-bulb is kept by a wick that is dipped in a container of distilled water. When the air is not saturated, evaporation, which produces a cooling effect, takes place from the moist wick. The wet bulb always shows a lower reading than the dry bulb. The difference in the two readings, if high, indicates low humidity and if low, indicates high humidity. If there is no difference in their readings, it means that the air is saturated and therefore, the relative humidity would be 100 %.

 

Evaluation Questions:

How do we calculate:

  1. Annual range of temperature?
  2. Mean annual range of temperature?
  3. Mean monthly rainfall?

 

General Evaluation Questions:

  1. What is weather and climate?
  2. Explain the importance of weather and climate.
  3. Mention the instrument used for measuring rainfall.
  4. Mention the three types of rock.
  5. Explain the mode of formation of igneous rock.

 

Reading Assignment

Read on weather and climate in Essential Geography Pgs. 75-77

 

Weekend Assignment

  1. The height of a place above the sea level is known as (a) Latitude (b) Altitude (c) Lapse rate (d) Spot height
  2. Which of these factors does not affect weather and climate (a) Cloud cover

(b) Humidity (c) Latitude (d) Natural Vegetation

  1. The instrument used for measuring wind direction is (a) Wind vane

(b) Thermometer (c) Anemometer (d) Rain guage

  1. Wet and dry bulb thermometer could be used for measuring (a) Rainfall

(b) Relative humidity (c) Temperature (d) Wind speed

  1. Which of the following weather elements is paired with the wrong instrument? (a) Wind direction and wind vane (b) Humidity and anemometer (c) Rainfall and rain guage (d) Atmospheric pressure and barometer

Theory

  1. What is Climate?
  2. Highlight four importance of weather and climate to man.

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See also

THE ENVIRONMENT – FULL EXPLANATION

LOWLAND (PLAINS) – FULL EXPLANATION

PLATEAUX: Types of Plateau, Tectonic Plateaux, Volcanic or Lava Plateau, Dissected Plateau

MOUNTAINS: Fold Mountains, Block Mountains, Volcanic Muntain & Residual Mountain

WORLD SETTLEMENT

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