When we talk about climate, we mean that somewhere is usually warm or cold, dry or humid. The climate of an area is observed over the years. So you think about a long period of time. The weather is something similar, but the weather is when you think of a day or a few weeks. So the weather is about a short period of time.
The climate depends heavily on the proximity to the equator. It is hotter near it and colder toward the North Pole or the South Pole. Europe is roughly in the middle. Therefore, most of the countries here have a temperate climate. So it usually doesn’t get very cold and not very warm, except in many areas south of the Alps.
On the other hand, it is hot in the areas around the equator, for example in Africa and South America. This area is called the tropics. It can be hot and humid there, and you can often find rainforests there. If it is hot and dry, you will find desert.
The climate can change, but it usually takes many years. Humans also contribute to changing the world’s climate. This climate change is caused by the fact that factories, cars, airplanes, heating systems, and livestock in particular emit gases such as carbon dioxide. Such gases ensure that certain parts of the sun’s rays warm the earth more.
What climate zones are there?
The climatic zones wrap around the earth like stripes or belts. It starts at the equator. Then one belt attaches to the other. The areas around the north and south poles are not stripes but circles.
There are no seasons in the tropics because the sun is nearly vertical at noon year-round. As a result, the days and nights are always the same lengths and it is very hot. In most areas, there is also a lot of rain, which is why the rainforest is formed.
In the subtropics, it is warm to hot in summer and not very cold in winter, at least during the day. In many areas there is desert. In Europe, Italy, Greece, and parts of Spain belong to the subtropics.
In temperate zones, there are large differences between the seasons. The days are also shorter here in winter because the sun is over the other hemisphere. But they are longer in summer because the sun is over the northern hemisphere. Deciduous forests tend to grow in the south, while only coniferous forests grow in the north. A distinction is made between the southerly cool-temperate zone and the northerly cold-temperate zone.
The polar regions are cold deserts. The temperature here is rarely just above zero degrees Celsius. Little snow falls. There are only very well-adapted creatures here.