The Physical Environment
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Chapter Review

Assess your understanding of concepts related to this chapter by answering the questions below. Click the question to reveal the correct answer.
The dry summer subtropical climate has a dry summer due to the influence of the subtropical high and a wet winter due to midlatitude cyclones embedded in the westerlies. The humid subtropical climate has ample precipitation in all months, decreasing toward the interior of the continent.
Along the equator, climates receive much rain fall in each month of the year. The precipitation is relatively evenly distributed between high and low sun seasons. As one moves poleward, annual precipitation decreases and becomes seasonal, falling mostly in the high sun season (ITCZ dominates). Precipitation decreases to a minimum  in the Sahara desert where the subtropical high dominates. Precipitation becomes seasonal falling mostly in the low sun season as one proceeds to the Mediterranean Sea (Dry Summer Subtropical climate).
The marine west coast in North America is confined to a narrow belt along the west coast of the continent by north-south oriented mountains. The orientation presents a barrier to westerly maritime winds, forcing them to rise inducing precipitation. Mountains in Europe tend to be east-west oriented, presenting less of a barrier to westerly wind, thus extending the marine west coast climate further into the continent.
The arctic tundra is generally bordered by an ocean which moderates the annual temperature variation. The interior location of the subarctic climate results in a larger temperature range even at a lower latitude.
The tropical rain forest climate has the smallest annual temperature range. Located near the equator means the sun is always high in the sky during the year. Little variation in sun angle results in small annual temperature range.
The moist climate of the marine west coast climate in North America is due to orographic uplift of marine air masses along windward slopes. The dry conditions of many deserts and steppes result from their leeward location in the rain shadow of the mountains.
Continentality is the effect of continental location on weather and climate. Places located in the interior of a continent tend to have lower humidity, less precipitation, and a larger annual temperature range than coastal locations (exceptions do occur!)
The dry summer subtropical climate, especially in North America is influenced by a cold ocean current. The coastal portion of the humid subtropical climate is affected by a warm ocean current. The marine west coast climate of Europe is mild due to the influence of the warm North Atlantic Current.
The air is extremely cold and thus has a very low saturation point resulting in meager precipitation.
Highest temperatures are generally prior to the wet season. Most rain falls during the high sun season.
The uplift of air by convection and convergence in the ITCZ promotes precipitation while the subsidence of air associated with the subtropical high suppresses precipitation.

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For Citation: Ritter, Michael E. The Physical Environment: an Introduction to Physical Geography.
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