Climate

Let's try to figure out the climates for each of our five regions of the United States. First, we need to know what climate is.

read.jpgGo to Geography4Kids to find out more on climate. When you want to go on to the next page find the button shown below at the bottom of the page. You will only need to view the first three pages.

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Keep the following questions in mind while you are reading.
  • What is climate?
  • What are the factors that affect climate?
  • Can you think of a state that has a wet (rainforest) climate?



Precipitation


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The legend of the precipitation map informs us of the average (mean) amount of precipitation (rain) that fell in the contiguous United States. Notice that the amount is stated in inches. When I look at Tennessee, it is nearly all one color. I would exclude the green sections and say that Tennessee's average annual precipitation ranges from 50.01-70 inches. Could I say that Tennessee had approximately 55 inches of rain? Sure. Could I say that they had approximately 69 inches of rain? You bet, as long as the amount falls within the range given on the map. When I look at South Dakota, its precipitation is nearly equal between two colors. I would then average the numbers of the two colors. I am going to use the numbers on the high end but I could use any two numbers that fall between. For example, (20 + 30)/2 = 25 inches or (15 + 25)/2 = 20 inches or (12 + 20)/2 = 16 inches. Are all of these answers correct? Yes, they are all reasonable. Do I have to do that much work? Nope. I could also use the legend to "eyeball" the average. The orange section's range is 12.01-20 inches and the yellow section's range is 20.01-30 inches. Couldn't I just use the number where the high end of one meets the low end of the other? Absolutely. Therefore, the average precipitation for South Dakota is approximately 20 inches.

Let's practice reading the precipitation map above.
  1. What is the average annual precipitation (in inches) of Mississippi? 50.01-70 inches
  2. What is the average annual precipitation (in inches) of North Dakota? 12.01-20 inches
  3. Which state has the greater amount of precipitation annually, Mississippi or North Dakota? Mississippi By approximately how much? 70 - 20 = 50 inches
  4. What is the approximate average of annual precipitation for the state of Texas? The map shows 6 different colors but most of the state is covered by 4 of them, so I will use the high ends of those numbers to find an average. (20 + 30 + 40 + 50)/4 = 140/4 = 35 inches. I could also "eyeball" the average. The yellow and light green colors are most in the middle. Yellow's high number is 30 and light green's low number is 30.01, therefore Texas' average annual precipitation is around 30 inches. Both answers are reasonable and correct.

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Complete the Regions--Precipitation Activity to get more practice reading the precipitation map.