How topography affects local climate

How Does Topography Affect Climate?

Cooler air is capable of holding less water vapor than warmer air. Valleys tend to be warmer than surrounding flatlands. Mountains play an important role in precipitation patterns.

how topography affects local climate

She specializes in lifestyle and home improvement articles. The orientation of mountains to the sun creates distinct microclimates in areas such as the Alps, where entire villages remain in the shade for most of the winter season.

It is dry because dry air descends from the Sierra Nevada mountains and into the valley. As wind descends the leeward slopes, the air compresses, becoming more dense and warm. Topographical features such as narrow canyons channel and amplify winds.

how topography affects local climate

Mountains are wetter on the windward side because of this temperature differential. First observed by the explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, air cools at 3.

how topography affects local climate

Cold air cannot hold as much water as warm air, and precipitation is the usual result. Nels, Janet. They are colder than surrounding flatlands because the temperature decreases with elevation. What Is Maritime Climate? This results in areas that are wetter, drier or warmer than surrounding flatlands. The Effects of Topography on the Climate. The effects of topography on the climate of any given region are powerful. Where year-round snow or glaciers exist, they are nurtured by the shade provided by north- and west-facing slopes.

Local topography near large bodies of water affect the temperature of air currents causing them to absorb more water than usual. The orientation of slopes in relation to the sun has a profound effect on climate. Definition of Vertical Climate. In the northern hemisphere, south-facing slopes are sunnier and support entirely different ecological communities than north-facing slopes.

how topography affects local climate

Topographic barriers such as mountains and hills force prevailing winds up and over their slopes. This is the equivalent of traveling hundreds of miles north, and creates a complex Highland climate with great diversity. All Rights Reserved. Mountain passes also act as natural funnels and increase wind speeds.