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One of the major factors determining where an organism lives is climate. Climate is the pattern weather that occurs in a particular area over many years. There are several factors that make up the climate in a region, but the two main factors are temperature and precipitation. The climate both directly and indirectly affect the distribution of species. For example, the Red Kangaroo can be found across much of the Australian landscape, but is most abundant in a few areas in the interior (See graphic). The amount of precipitation, and temperatures directly determines where the Red Kangaroo lives, but also indirectly by influencing the available food, presence of predators, parasites, and pathogens.

Because of the influence of climate on the distribution of organisms, we can get a sense of a locations animal and plant life just by observing temperature and precipitation data. These data along with geography can be used to determine the biome of the location. A biome can be defined as a large geographic region with similar climate and ecosystem. A climograph is a visualization of a locations temperature and precipitation. In this lab we will be observing and also constructing climographs for the Earth's major terrestrial biomes.

If you were asked to describe the climate of Los Angeles to a visitor, what would you say? Brain storm with your neighbor and when prompted enter your description in the Quickwrite. We will discuss the responses as a class, which can be viewed here. We will vote on the best response using Google Moderator

Part I- Constructing a Climograph: Los Angeles

  • Los Angeles Climograph Spreadsheet: As instructed, sign up for a local weather station
  • Once you have been assigned a station, enter the average minimum and maximum temperature, as well as the average precipitation observed for each month of the year. If you finish with your station, you can sign up for a second station.
  • View the completed climograph and discuss the pattern you observe with your neighbor. Enter your observations as instructed in the quickwrite
  • View the following PicasaWeb Album in relation to the climograph. What Observations can you make about our local biome.

Pat II- Climographs of Cities around the World

  • World Climograph Spreadsheet As instructed sign up for a city to investigate. You will be doing this activity in pairs, although each of you can use your own computer if available. Once you have been assigned a city make a copy of the climograph template and rename it with your location name.
  • Use the following resources to research the Average monthly precipitation and average minimum and maximum temperatures. Enter your data in the table (Note: do not enter data in Blue area). 
  • Use the Biome graphic to determine the type of vegetation you are likely to find in your location. Enter your description in the spreadsheet as directed.
  • Using a Google image search, find an image of your locations biome and insert the image url in the appropriate location. 
  • Observe the class data, Do you observe any patterns or relationships between the climate of an area and its biome? Are there any global patterns that emerge (Hint: use Google Maps). Enter your observations and conclusions as directed in the quickwrite.

Part III- Where the World? (Biome edition)

Now that you have had a chance to observe the biomes and climate patterns in your backyard and around the world, we will put your new found knowledge to the test. Below you will find a series of images from biomes around the world. Match the following images to the correct climograph in the embedded form. Hint: You may want to open the images and form on separate pages side by side to compare. 

Biome photos

Where in the World? ‎(Biome edition)‎

You can view your scores here or you can wait for your scores to be emailed to your later today.