Climate studies

Local factors that affect climate


The higher up you live, the colder it will be. For every 150metres the temperature drops by 1 C. This explains why mountains are snow capped.

Relief (The shape of the land)

In the northern hemisphere South facing land is warmer than North facing land. This is because the sun rises in the East and sets in the West. South facing slopes are also sheltered from cold North winds.

Rain will fall mostly on windward sides of high ground and very little on the Leeward sides. (e.g. West coast of Ireland)

Different climate types

Hot Desert Climate

These are found between 15 and 30 degrees either side of the equator. They are generally found on the western side of continents. They are in the path of dry TRADE WINDS. There is always a cold ocean current off the coast.

  • This type of climate is very hot, over 30 degrees all summer. (because the sun is always directly overhead)
  • There is a huge RANGE of temperature. It gets very cold at night as there are no clouds to keep the heat in.


(Click to enlarge)

How plants and animals adapt to this environment


  • Has very long roots to reach down for water
  • Has needles to protect it from birds/animals
  • Waxy skin to prevent water loss
  • Grooves in its skin to help it collect more water
  • Foamy interior to store water
The Saguaro cactus

The Saguaro cactus


  • Humps on their back to store water. (Long time between rainy seasons)
  • Large padded feet to help walk in sand and protected from very hot sand
  • Long eyelashes to protect eyes during sandstorms
A one-humped camel

A one-humped camel

Boreal Climate

Boreal lands lie between 50 and 90 degrees north. This is a cold climate. Countries in this climate include Norway, Sweden and Finland. North Russia (Siberia) and Canada.

Boreal lands

Boreal lands

Main Features of Boreal climates

  • Very Cold winters (As low as –30 C)
  • Warm (But short) Summers (16-18 C)
  • Light Precipitation (Due to cold, dry winds)

Typical Vegetation

Evergreen trees.

How Evergreen trees adapt to the Boreal Climate:

  • Tall, thin shape to protect it from heavy winds and snowfall.
  • Thick bark for protection from cold.
  • Needles instead of leaves, not withered by cold.
  • Shallow roots that spread outwards in the thin mountainous soils.
Coniferous trees have adapted well to enable them to survive the extreme cold

Coniferous trees have adapted well to enable them to survive the extreme cold


  • Thick fur to protect from the cold.
  • Many animal’s fur changes colour depending on the season in order to protect itself from predators (Camoflage)
The Arctic Fox's fur changes colours with the seasons to help camoflage it

The Arctic Fox’s fur changes colours with the seasons to help camoflage it

Mediterranean Climate

Irelands climate is a cool temperate climate. The Mediterranean climate, on the other hand is a warm temperate climate. The Med lies between 30 and 40 degrees north of the equator. (Ireland is apprx. 55 deg north)

  • Countries in the Mediterranean include- Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Turkey and some North African Countries. (eg. Tunisia)
  • The mediterranean type climate is HOT, DRY SUMMERS (average temp. 30 C) and MILD, WET winters (average temp. 9 C)
Areas of the world that enjoy a Mediterranean Climate

Areas of the world that enjoy a Mediterranean Climate, including the ‘Med’, California, Southwest Australia and Southern Chile