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Climate Basics

temperate rainforest from northern washinton state First a definition... What the heck is a climate? Is it weather? Is it the rain? Is it a hot day in August? Yes, yes and yes, but only in one place at a time. Climate is the atmospheric condition in a certain location near the surface of the Earth. Is the Aurora Borealis (Northern lights) a climate? No. Is there such a thing as a global climate? Yes. Kind of. It's all of the climates of the planet added up. If the Earth were getting hotter you would have to say, "All of the global climates are increasing in temperature."

Climate Variety

There are many types of climates across the Earth. You live in one of them or one the border between two. Every year as the seasons change, your climate changes a bit. It might get warmer or colder. You might have more or less rain. You might have more or less sunlight that changes all of that other stuff.

Scientists have broken down the world's climates into a few types:
- Polar: Ice Caps
- Polar: Tundra
- Subtropical: Dry Summer
- Subtropical: Dry Winter
- Subtropical: Humid
- Subtropical: Marine West Coast
- Subtropical: Mediterranean
- Subtropical: Wet
- Tropical: Monsoon
- Tropical: Savannah/Grasslands
- Tropical: Wet

CloudSat Studying Clouds
NASA hopes to demystify the way clouds work with the launch of the new CloudSat and CALIPSO research satellites. CloudSat is designed to live up to its name by probing the internal structure of clouds. (NASA/KSC)
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El Nino El Niño
This video helps the audience to visualize El Niño and its effects. (NASA/GSFC)
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Take Quiz on Climates
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- Chem4Kids: Gases
- Chem4Kids: Liquids
- Chem4Kids: Evaporation
- Chem4Kids: Environmental Chemistry
- Biology4Kids: Organism Relationships
- Biology4Kids: Animal Systems
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- Physics4Kids: Heat
- Physics4Kids: Heat Expansion

- NASA: Kennedy Space Center
- NASA: Goddard Spaceflight Center

> Overview
- Weather
- Factors
- Climatology
- Instruments
- Seasons
- Examples
- Variations
- Hurricanes


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