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17.2: World Climates

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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Lesson 17.2: True or False

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

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

_____ 1. Each type of climate is associated with certain types of living things.

_____ 2. All tropical climates have high rainfall year round.

_____ 3. A desert is any area that receives less than 50 cm of rainfall per year.

_____ 4. Steppes are dry because they occur between 15 and 30 degrees latitude.

_____ 5. Temperate climates vary in the amount and timing of precipitation they receive.

_____ 6. The southeastern United States has a Mediterranean climate.

_____ 7. Subarctic climates have low precipitation, especially during the winter.

_____ 8. Ice caps are found in Alaska, Canada, and Greenland.

_____ 9. Tundra climates occur only near the poles.

_____ 10. Continental climates include humid continental and humid subtropical climates.

Lesson 17.2: Critical Reading

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

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

Major Climate Types

There are five major climate types: tropical, dry, temperate, continental, and polar climates. The major climate types are based on temperature and precipitation.

  • Tropical climates are found near the equator. They have warm temperatures year round. They may be wet all year, or they may be wet in one season and dry in others.
  • Dry climates receive very little rainfall. They also have high rates of evaporation. This makes them even drier. Some dry climates are found between 15 and 30 degrees latitude. This is where dry air sinks toward the surface. Other dry climates occur in continental interiors or rain shadows.
  • Temperate climates are found between 20 and 60 degrees latitude. They have moderate temperatures. They vary in how much precipitation they get and when it falls. They are generally found on the west or east coasts of continents.
  • Continental climates are found in inland areas, generally between 40 and 70 degrees north latitude. They are too far from oceans to experience the effects of ocean water. They have hot summers and cold winters. They may have low precipitation. Southern continents are too narrow to have inland areas far from oceans. Therefore, continental climates do not occur in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Polar climates are found near the North and South Poles. They also occur on high mountains at lower latitudes. The summers are very cool, and the winters are frigid. Precipitation is low because the air is too cold to hold much moisture.


  1. Identify the five major climate types.
  2. How are the major climate types classified?
  3. Compare and contrast tropical and temperate climates.
  4. Where do dry climates occur? Where do polar climates occur?
  5. Why do continental climates occur only in the Northern Hemisphere?

Lesson 17.2: Multiple Choice

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Circle the letter of the correct choice.

  1. Which of the following is a major climate type?
    1. desert
    2. steppe
    3. temperate climate
    4. Mediterranean climate
  2. Which climate type occurs between 5 and 20 degrees latitude?
    1. tropical wet and dry climate
    2. humid subtropical climate
    3. marine west coast climate
    4. tropical wet climate
  3. Arid climates are dry because they have
    1. low rates of precipitation.
    2. high rates of evaporation.
    3. high rates of condensation.
    4. two of the above
  4. Which type of climate is found on the western coasts of continents between 45 and 60 degrees latitude?
    1. Mediterranean climate
    2. marine west coast climate
    3. humid subtropical climate
    4. humid continental climate
  5. A humid subtropical climate is characterized by
    1. hot summers.
    2. warm winters.
    3. wet summers and dry winters.
    4. two of the above
  6. Which type of forests grow in a humid continental climate?
    1. rainforests
    2. pine forests
    3. conifer forests
    4. deciduous forests
  7. Which climate is most similar to a polar tundra climate?
    1. highland climate
    2. subarctic climate
    3. semiarid climate
    4. continental climate

Lesson 17.2: Matching

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Match each definition with the correct term.


_____ 1. driest of all climates

_____ 2. climate found at very high altitudes

_____ 3. climate that has short grasses and low bushes

_____ 4. climate that has conifer forests

_____ 5. climate type that includes marine west coast climates

_____ 6. climate found on the coast of California

_____ 7. climate type that is found in inland areas of the Northern Hemisphere


a. alpine tundra

b. subarctic climate

c. continental climate

d. desert

e. Mediterranean climate

f. steppe

g. temperate climate

Lesson 17.2: Fill in the Blank

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Fill in the blank with the appropriate term.

  1. A major type of climate and its living things make up a(n) __________.
  2. Continental climates include humid continental climates and __________ climates.
  3. The northeastern U.S. has a(n) __________ continental climate.
  4. The type of climate over much of Canada and Alaska is a(n) __________ climate.
  5. A layer of ground below the surface that is always frozen is known as __________.
  6. A climate in a local area that differs from the major climate around it is called a(n) __________.
  7. Most climates that occur between 20 and 60 degrees latitude are __________ climates.

Lesson 17.2: Critical Writing

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

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

Explain why opposite sides of a hill are likely to have different microclimates.

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