Climate Types: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Catherine Brennan

Katie has taught elementary school science and has a masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction.

The Earth has lots of different climates types. These climate types are classified together because they have similar characteristics (like temperature and precipitation).

What is Climate?

Zoey and her family were planning a big family trip. As they were sitting down to figure out a great place to visit, Zoey suggested that her family look at climate information. Zoey had just learned in class that climate is the weather over a long period of time. The information includes temperature and precipitation (or how much rain/snow falls) and would give her family insight on finding the best place to travel. Climate types are different types of climate that have the same patterns of temperature and precipitation.

What is a Climate Type?

There are five major categories of climate types. These categories -- tropical, moderate, continental, polar, and dry -- are found throughout the world. The categories are broken down into specific climate types, or subclimates.

The tropical climate category is broken down into two types: tropical wet and dry and tropical wet. Tropical wet and dry climates have a lot of rain and high temperatures, but they also have both wet and dry seasons during the year. On the other hand, tropical wet climates, while also hot, have a lot of precipitation throughout the year.

Deserts areas are called dry climates and are divided into two types: arid and semiarid. Arid areas get very little precipitation and are very hot, while semiarid areas receive more precipitation. Semiarid places are usually the transition areas from an arid area to a more wet climate type.

Why Do We Have Different Climate Types?

The climate of an area can be affected by four major influences: altitude, latitude, bodies of water and ocean currents. Altitude is how high (or low) a certain area is from sea level. The higher an area is located, the colder the climate becomes. For example, the mountains in Colorado can have snow caps (or snow on the top), even though it is 90 degrees in the valley below.

Latitude is the location either north or south of the equator. Since the Earth is titled, certain parts get more heat from the sun then other areas. Areas that are located close to the equator will be warmer, and areas further away from the equator will be colder.

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