Climate Game from Class - Parkway C-2

1. Brazil
1. Although 90 percent of the country is within the tropical zone, the climate
varies considerably from the mostly tropical North to temperate zones below the
Tropic of Capricorn (23°27' S latitude).
Temperatures along the equator are high, averaging above 25°C, but not
reaching the summer extremes of up to 40°C in the temperate zones. There is
little seasonal variation near the equator, although at times it can get cool enough
for wearing a jacket, especially in the rain. At the country's other extreme, there
are frosts south of the Tropic of Capricorn during the winter (June-August), and in
some years there is snow in the mountainous areas.
Precipitation levels vary widely. Most of this country has moderate rainfall of
between 1,000 and 1,500 millimeters a year, with most of the rain falling in the
summer (between December and April) south of the Equator. The Amazon
region is notoriously humid, with rainfall generally more than 2,000 millimeters
per year and reaching as high as 3,000 millimeters in parts of the western
Amazon and near Belém. It is less widely known that, despite high annual
precipitation, the Amazon rain forest has a three- to five-month dry season, the
timing of which varies according to location north or south of the equator.
High and relatively regular levels of precipitation in the Amazon contrast sharply
with the dryness of the semiarid Northeast, where rainfall is scarce and there are
severe droughts in cycles averaging seven years. The Northeast is the driest part
of the country. The region also constitutes the hottest part of this country, where
during the dry season between May and November, temperatures of more than
38°C have been recorded. However, the sertão , a region of semidesert
vegetation used primarily for low-density ranching, turns green when there is rain.
Most of the Center-West has 1,500 to 2,000 millimeters of rain per year, with a
pronounced dry season in the middle of the year, while the South and most of the
Atlantic coast as far north as Salvador, Bahia, in the Northeast, have similar
amounts of rainfall without a distinct dry season.
2. Germany
2. Although located mostly at latitudes north of the United States-Canadian
border and thus closer to the Arctic Circle than to the equator, this country’s
climate is moderate and is generally without sustained periods of cold or heat.
Northwestern and coastal areas have a maritime climate caused by warm
westerly winds from the North Sea; the climate is characterized by warm
summers and mild cloudy winters. Farther inland, the climate is continental,
marked by greater diurnal and seasonal variations in temperature, with warmer
summers and colder winters.
In addition to the maritime and continental climates that predominate over most
of the country, the Alpine regions in the extreme south and, to a lesser degree,
some areas of the Central Uplands have a so-called mountain climate. This
climate is characterized by lower temperatures because of higher altitudes and
greater precipitation caused by air becoming moisture-laden as it lifts over higher
The major air masses contributing to the maritime weather are the Icelandic lowpressure system and the Azores high-pressure system. The Icelandic lows rotate
in a counterclockwise direction and tend to move to the east and southeast as
they approach Europe. The Azores highs move eastward and rotate in a
clockwise direction. Both of these air masses furnish Western Europe with
moisture-laden clouds propelled by westerly winds.
The yearly mean temperature for the country is about 9° C. Other than for
variations caused by shelter and elevation, the annual mean temperature is fairly
constant throughout the country. Temperature extremes between night and day
and summer and winter are considerably less in the north than in the south.
During January, the coldest month, the average temperature is approximately
1.6°C in the north and about -2°C in the south. In July, the warmest month, the
situation reverses, and it is cooler in the north than in the south. The northern
coastal region has July temperatures averaging between 16°C and 18°C; at
some locations in the south, the average is 19.4°C or slightly higher.
Annual precipitation varies from 2,000 millimeters a year in the southern
mountains to a low of 400 millimeters in the vicinity of Mainz. Over most of the
country, it averages between 600 millimeters and 800 millimeters per annum.
3. The Bahamas
3. The climate of the archipelago is semitropical and has two seasons, summer
and winter. During the summer, which extends from May through November, the
climate is dominated by warm, moist tropical air masses moving north through
the Caribbean. Midsummer temperatures range from 21o C to 34o C with a
relative humidity of 60 to 100 percent. In winter months, extending from
December through April, the climate is affected by the movement of cold polar
masses from North America. Temperatures during the winter months range from
15o C to 24o C.
Yearly rainfall averages 132 centimeters and is usually concentrated in the MayJune and September-October periods. Rainfall often occurs in short-lived, fairly
intense showers accompanied by strong gusty winds, which are then followed by
clear skies.
Winds are predominantly easterly throughout the year but tend to become
northeasterly from October to April and southeasterly from May to September.
These winds seldom exceed twenty-four kilometers per hour except during
hurricane season. Although the hurricane season officially lasts from June to
November, most hurricanes occur between July and October; as of late 1987, the
last one to strike was Hurricane David in September 1979. Damage was
estimated at US$1.8 million and mainly affected agricultural products. The most
intense twentieth-century hurricane to strike was in 1929; winds of up to 225
kilometers per hour were recorded. Many lives were lost, and there was
extensive damage to buildings, homes, and boats.
4. Ecuador
4. Each region has different factors that affect its climate. The coast is influenced
primarily by proximity to warm or cool ocean currents. By contrast, climate in the
Sierra varies more as a function of altitude. The Oriente has a fairly uniform
climate that varies only slightly between the two subregions. Throughout this
country, variation in rainfall primarily determines seasons. Temperature is
determined by altitude. With each ascent of 200 meters in altitude, temperature
drops 1° C.
The Costa has a tropical climate. Temperatures for the region as a whole remain
fairly constant, ranging from 23° C in the south to 26° C in the north. Although
seasonal changes in temperature are not pronounced, the hottest period occurs
during the rainy season, especially from February to April. Near Guayaquil, the
coolest months are August and September. Rainfall in the Costa decreases from
north to south, with vegetation changing from tropical rainforest in the north to
tropical savannah to desert in the south.
Differences in temperature and rainfall in the Costa are caused by the Peruvian
Current and periodic appearances of El Niño. The Peruvian Current, also
formerly known as the Humboldt, is a cold ocean current that flows north along
the coasts of Chile and Peru. The cold water and air temperatures associated
with the Peruvian Current inhibit rainfall along the coast, creating dry to arid
The El Niño occurs periodically every six or seven years. Starting in late
December, a change in atmospheric pressure shifts ocean currents so that warm
waters come closer to shore and displace the cold waters. During this time, air
and water temperatures, tides, sea levels and wave heights, and relative
humidity all are higher than usual. These conditions produce heavy rainfall that
generally lasts until May in an area that normally experiences nothing more than
a drizzle. The resulting flooding and landslides can be devastating.
5. South Africa
5. Water shortages are a chronic and severe problem in much of this country.
The country has no commercially navigable rivers and no significant natural lakes.
Along the coastline are several large lagoons and estuarine lakes. The
government has created several artificial lakes, primarily for agricultural irrigation.
Climatic conditions generally range from Mediterranean in the southwestern
corner of the country to temperate in the interior plateau, and subtropical in the
northeast. A small area in the northwest has a desert climate. Most of the country
has warm, sunny days and cool nights. Rainfall generally occurs during summer
(November through March), although in the southwest, rainfall often occurs in
winter (June through August). Temperatures are influenced by variations in
elevation, terrain, and ocean currents more than latitude.
Temperature and rainfall patterns vary in response to the movement of a highpressure belt that circles the globe between 25° and 30° south latitude during the
winter and low-pressure systems that occur during summer. There is very little
difference in average temperatures from south to north, however, in part because
the inland plateau rises slightly in the northeast. For example, the average
annual temperature in Cape Town is 17°C, and in Pretoria, 17.5°C, although
these cities are separated by almost ten degrees of latitude. Maximum
temperatures often exceed 32°C in the summer, and reach 38°C in some areas
of the far north.
Frost occurs in high altitudes during the winter months. Record snowfalls (almost
fifty centimeters) occurred in July 1994 in mountainous areas.
Climatic conditions vary noticeably between east and west, largely in response to
the warm ocean current, which sweeps southward along the Indian Ocean
coastline in the east for several months of the year, and the cold current, which
sweeps northward along the Atlantic Ocean coastline in the west. Air
temperatures in Durban, on the Indian Ocean, average nearly 6°C warmer than
temperatures at the same latitude on the Atlantic Ocean coast. The effects of
these two currents can be seen even at the narrow peninsula, where water
temperatures average 4°C higher on the east side than on the west.
6. India
6. The Himalayas isolate South Asia from the rest of Asia. South of these
mountains, the climate, like the terrain, is highly diverse, but some geographers
give it an overall, one-word characterization--violent. What geographers have in
mind is the abruptness of change and the intensity of effect when change occurs-the onset of the monsoon rains, sudden flooding, rapid erosion, extremes of
temperature, tropical storms, and unpredictable fluctuations in rainfall. Broadly
speaking, agriculture in this country is constantly challenged by weather
It is possible to identify seasons, although these do not occur uniformly. The
country’s Meteorological Service divides the year into four seasons: the relatively
dry, cool winter from December through February; the dry, hot summer from
March through May; the southwest monsoon from June through September when
the predominating southwest maritime winds bring rains to most of the country;
and the northeast, or retreating, monsoon of October and November.
In the Himalayan region, climate varies with altitude. At about 2,000 meters, the
average summer temperature is near 18°C; at 4,500 meters, it is rarely above
0°C. In the valleys, summer temperatures reach between 32°C and 38°C. The
eastern Himalayas receive as much as 1,000 to 2,000 millimeters more
precipitation than do the Western Himalayas, and floods are common.
The heat can be oppressive and sometimes, such as was experienced in 1994
and 1995, literally can be a killer. Hot, relatively dry weather is the norm before
the southwest monsoons, which, along with heavy rains and high humidity, bring
cloud cover that lowers temperatures slightly. Temperatures reach the upper
30s°C and can reach as high as 48°C during the day in the premonsoon months.
7. Mexico
7. The Tropic of Cancer effectively divides the country into temperate and
tropical zones. Land north of the twenty-fourth parallel experiences cooler
temperatures during the winter months. South of the twenty-fourth parallel,
temperatures are fairly constant year round and vary solely as a function of
Areas south of the twentieth-fourth parallel with elevations up to 1,000 meters
have a yearly median temperature between 24°C and 28°C. Temperatures here
remain high throughout the year, with only a 5°C difference between winter and
summer median temperatures. Although low-lying areas north of the twentiethfourth parallel are hot and humid during the summer, they generally have lower
yearly temperature averages (from 20°C to 24°C) because of more moderate
conditions during the winter.
Between 1,000 and 2,000 meters, one encounters yearly average temperatures
between 16°C and 20°C. Towns and cities at this elevation south of the twentyfourth parallel have relatively constant, pleasant temperatures throughout the
year, whereas more northerly locations experience sizeable seasonal variations.
Above 2,000 meters, temperatures drop as low as an average yearly range
between 8°C and 12°C. At 2,300 meters, the capital has a yearly median
temperature of 15°C with pleasant summers and mild winters. Average daily
highs and lows for May, the warmest month, are 26°C and 12°C, and average
daily highs and lows for January, the coldest month, are 19°C and 6°C.
Rainfall varies widely both by location and season. This country has pronounced
wet and dry seasons. Most of the country experiences a rainy season from June
to mid-October and significantly less rain during the remainder of the year.
February and July generally are the driest and wettest months, respectively.
Coastal areas, especially those along the Gulf of Mexico, experience the largest
amounts of rain in September. This country lies squarely within the hurricane belt,
and all regions of both coasts are susceptible to these storms from June through
November. Hurricanes on the Pacific coast are less frequent and often less
violent than those affecting the eastern coastline.
8. Japan
8. This is generally a rainy country with high humidity. Because of its wide range
of latitude, it has a variety of climates, with a range often compared to that of the
east coast of North America, from Nova Scotia to Georgia. The capital city is at
about 36 north latitude, comparable to that of Tehran, Athens, or Los Angeles.
The generally humid, temperate climate exhibits marked seasonal variation
celebrated in art and literature, as well as regional variations ranging from cool to
subtropical. Climate also varies with altitude and with location on the Pacific
Ocean or on the sea. Northern areas have warm summers but long, cold winters
with heavy snow. Central areas have hot, humid summers and short winters, and
southwestern areas have long, hot, humid summers and mild winters.
Two primary factors influence the climate: a location near the Asian continent
and the existence of major oceanic currents. The climate from June to
September is marked by hot, wet weather brought by tropical airflows from the
Pacific Ocean and Southeast Asia. These airflows are full of moisture and
deposit substantial amounts of rain when they reach land. There is a marked
rainy season, beginning in early June and continuing for about a month. It is
followed by hot, sticky weather. Five or six typhoons pass over or near this
country every year from early August to early September, sometimes resulting in
significant damage. Annual precipitation, which averages between 100 and 200
centimeters, is concentrated in the period between June and September. In fact,
70 to 80 percent of the annual precipitation falls during this period. In winter, a
high-pressure area develops over Siberia, and a low-pressure area develops
over the northern Pacific Ocean. The result is a flow of cold air eastward across
this country that brings freezing temperatures and heavy snowfalls to the central
mountain ranges facing the sea, but clear skies to areas fronting on the Pacific.
9. Russia
9. This country has a largely continental climate because of its sheer size and
compact configuration. Most of its land is more than 400 kilometers from the sea,
and the center is 3,840 kilometers from the sea. In addition, mountain ranges,
predominantly to the south and the east, block moderating temperatures from the
Indian and Pacific oceans, but the eastern and northern areas lack such
topographic protection from the Arctic and North Atlantic oceans.
Because only small parts of this country are south of 50° north latitude and more
than half of the country is north of 60° north latitude, extensive regions
experience six months of snow cover over subsoil that is permanently frozen to
depths as far as several hundred meters. The average yearly temperature of
nearly all of eastern areas are below freezing, and the average for most of the
northern territory is freezing or below. Most of this country has only two seasons,
summer and winter, with very short intervals of moderation between them. The
Far East, under the influence of the Pacific Ocean, has a monsoonal climate that
reverses the direction of wind in summer and winter, sharply differentiating
temperatures; and a narrow, subtropical band of territory provides this country’s
most popular summer resort area on the Black Sea.
Average January temperatures are -8°C, -27°C in the west and north, and -43°C
in east-central. Summer temperatures are more affected by latitude, however;
the Arctic islands average 4°C, and the southernmost regions average 20°C.
This country's potential for temperature extremes is typified by the national
record low of -94°C, and the record high of 38°C, recorded at several southern
Because this country has little exposure to ocean influences, most of the country
receives low to moderate amounts of precipitation. Highest precipitation falls in
the northwest, with amounts decreasing from northwest to southeast across the
western part. The wettest areas are the small, lush subtropical region adjacent to
the Caucasus and along the Pacific coast.
10. Afghanistan
10. The climate is typical of an arid or semiarid steppe, with cold winters and dry
summers. The mountain regions of the northeast are subarctic with dry and cold
winters. In the mountains bordering Pakistan, a divergent fringe effect of the
monsoon, generally coming from the southeast, brings tropical air masses that
determine the climate between July and September. At times, these air masses
advance into central and southern Afghanistan, bringing increased humidity and
some rain.
On the intermountain plateaus the winds do not blow very strongly, but in the
Sistan Basin there are severe blizzards that occur during the winter, generally
December through February. In the western and southern regions a northerly
wind, known as the "wind of 120 days," blows during the summer months of June
to September. This wind is usually accompanied by intense heat, drought, and
sand storms, bringing much hardship to the inhabitants of the desert and steppe
lands. Dust and whirlwinds frequently occur during the summer months on the
flats in the southern part of the country. Rising at midday or in the early afternoon,
these "dust winds" advance at velocities ranging between 97 and 177 kilometers
per hour, raising high clouds of dust.
Temperature and precipitation are controlled by the exchange of air masses. The
highest temperatures and the lowest precipitation prevail in the drought-ridden,
poorly watered southern plateau region, which extends over the boundaries with
Iran and Pakistan.
The Central Mountains, with higher peaks ascending toward the Pamir Knot,
represent another distinct climatic region. From the Koh-e Baba Range to the
Pamir Knot, January temperatures may drop to -15 C or lower in the highest
mountain areas; July temperatures vary between 0 and 26 C depending on
altitude. In the mountains the annual mean precipitation, much of which is
snowfall, increases eastward and is highest in the Koh-e Baba Range, the
western part of the Pamir Knot, and the Eastern Hindukush. Precipitation in these
regions and the eastern monsoon area is about forty centimeters per year.
Permanent snow covers the highest mountain peaks. In the mountainous region
adjacent to northern Pakistan, the snow is often more than two meters deep
during the winter months. Valleys often become snow traps as the high winds
sweep much of the snow from mountain peaks and ridges.
Precipitation generally fluctuates greatly during the course of the year in all parts
of the country. Surprise rainstorms often transform the episodically flowing rivers
and streams from puddles to torrents.