What Factors Control Your Local Climate?
ES2101  What is Climate?
Climate is defined as an area's long-term weather patterns. The simplest way to describe climate is to look at average temperature and precipitation over time. Other useful elements for describing climate include the type and the timing of precipitation, amount of sunshine, average wind speeds and directions, number of days above freezing, weather extremes, and local geography.
National Park Service
As elevation increases, the average temperature decreases. Above a certain elevation, low temperatures make it impossible for trees to grow, as seen here on Washington's
Mount Rainier.

While it's fairly easy to describe a location's climate by examining weather data, a greater challenge is figuring out why the climate of one place differs from that of another. To do so, you must consider all the factors that work together to determine climate.

1. Why might one place have cold, snowy winters, while it rarely snows at another place only a hundred miles away?


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