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17.1: Climate and Its Causes

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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Lesson 17.1: True or False

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Write true if the statement is true or false if the statement is false.

_____ 1. Climate depends only on distance north or south of the equator.

_____ 2. Ice and snow absorb a lot of sunlight.

_____ 3. Precipitation is high where warm air from lower latitudes meets frigid air from the poles.

_____ 4. Dry air sinks to the surface at about 60 degrees north and south latitude.

_____ 5. Subtropical climates are dry for at least some of the year.

_____ 6. The movement of air masses causes weather.

_____ 7. A place far from the ocean typically has less variation in temperature than a place close to the ocean.

_____ 8. Ocean currents always bring warm water to cold regions.

_____ 9. Air is colder at high altitudes because it is less dense.

_____ 10. A rain shadow is an area that receives a lot of rain because of a nearby mountain.

Lesson 17.1: Critical Reading

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Read this passage based on the text and answer the questions that follow.

Oceans and Climate

When a place is near the ocean, the ocean water can have a big effect on the climate. Even places at the same latitude may have different climates if one is inland and one is on a coast.

  • An inland climate is influenced by air over the land. This air may be dry, and its temperature may vary a lot by season. As a result, an inland climate may have very hot summers and very cold winters. Precipitation may also be low because the air is dry
  • A coastal climate is influenced by air over the ocean. This air is likely to be moist and to vary less in temperature than air over the land. As a result, a coastal climate is usually relatively mild. Summers aren’t too hot, and winters aren’t too cold. Precipitation may also be because the air is moist.

Ocean currents carry warm or cold water throughout the world’s oceans. They help to even out the temperature of ocean water. Currents that flow near a shore can have a big impact on the local climate. They may make the climate much colder or warmer than it would be otherwise. For example, the Gulf Stream moves warm subtropical water northeast across the Atlantic Ocean to the British Isles. As a result, the British Isles have warmer temperatures than inland areas at the same latitude.


  1. Compare and contrast inland and coastal climates.
  2. How do ocean currents affect climates? Give an example.

Lesson 17.1: Multiple Choice

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Circle the letter of the correct choice.

  1. Climate includes
    1. temperature.
    2. precipitation.
    3. timing of precipitation.
    4. all of the above
  2. The main factor that determines the climate of a place is
    1. vegetation.
    2. longitude.
    3. latitude.
    4. two of the above
  3. Places between 45 and 60 degrees latitude have
    1. dry winters and wet summers.
    2. dry summers and wet winters.
    3. low precipitation in all seasons.
    4. high precipitation in all seasons.
  4. In polar climates, precipitation is
    1. low all year.
    2. high all year.
    3. moderate all year.
    4. high in winter and low in summer.
  5. In most of the U.S., air masses usually move from
    1. northeast to southwest.
    2. southwest to northeast.
    3. north to south.
    4. south to north.
  6. The British Isles have relatively high average temperatures for their latitude because of the
    1. trade winds.
    2. Gulf Stream.
    3. prevailing easterlies.
    4. intertropical convergence zone.
  7. On the west coast of North America, where do rain shadows occur?
    1. at the tops of mountains
    2. on the east side of mountain ranges
    3. between mountain ranges and the coast
    4. on the side of mountain ranges opposite the sun

Lesson 17.1: Matching

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Match each definition with the correct term.


_____ 1. climate that is relatively mild year round

_____ 2. flowing water that carries warm or cold water through the oceans

_____ 3. global winds at a given latitude

_____ 4. average weather of a place over many years

_____ 5. climate that has extreme temperatures

_____ 6. distance north or south of the equator

_____ 7. low precipitation area on the leeward side of a mountain range


a. climate

b. rain shadow

c. latitude

d. coastal climate

e. inland climate

f. prevailing winds

g. current

Lesson 17.1: Fill in the Blank

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Fill in the blank with the appropriate term.

  1. At higher latitudes, the sun’s rays are __________ direct.
  2. Many of the world’s deserts occur at about __________ degrees latitude.
  3. At the equator, the level of precipitation is generally __________.
  4. Air masses move because of __________ winds.
  5. There is usually __________ precipitation inland than on the coast.
  6. The current named the __________ moves warm water from the southwestern Atlantic Ocean to the coast of Great Britain.
  7. As you go higher up a mountain, the temperature of the air __________.

Lesson 17.1: Critical Writing

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Thoroughly answer the question below. Use appropriate academic vocabulary and clear and complete sentences.

Explain factors that affect the climate where you live.

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