Chapter 6 Reading Guide: Climate, Biomes, and Terrestrial Biodiversity


Answer the questions using your text as a reference.  Not all the answers will be written in Chapter 6.  Do your best to use your general knowledge to answer those not found in the chapter – we’ll go over this material in class.

1)  What is the difference between weather and climate?

2)  What are the two main factors that influence climate?

3)  What causes changes in the weather?

4)  What is a front?

5)  Which is more dense, warm air or cool air?  Why?

6)  How are fronts named?  When is a front called “warm”, “cold”, “stationary”?

7)  What happens to a warm air mass when it overtakes a cold air mass (as when a warm front moves through an area)?  Why?

8)  What happens to a cold air mass when it overtakes a warm air mass (as when a cold front moves through an area?  Why?

9)  What kind of weather results after a cold front passes through?  A warm front?

10)  What kind of pressure is usually associated with a cool air mass?  Warm air mass?

11)  What kind of pressure would you expect in an area after a cold front passes through?

12)  What is the difference among tropical cyclones, hurricanes, and typhoons?

13)  What determines the climate of a region?

14)  What factors determine global air circulation patterns?

15)  Why is it hotter near the equator than near the poles?

16)  Why do temperate regions have hot summers and cold winters?

17)  What is convection?  How does it lead to movement of air in the atmosphere?

18)  What is the Coriolis Effect?

19)  The combination of the Coriolis Effect and convection currents leads to patterns in the movement of air in the atmosphere.  Look at the diagram on p. 118, which illustrates the six cells of air movement created.  These are called Hadley cells.

20)  Why is it pleasant to go to the beach in July?  If you liked being warm, when would you go sit on the beach - in May or in October?  If you liked swimming in cold water, when would you swim at the beach - in May or in October? 

21) Why does the temperature vary greatly in Baltimore, but is fairly constant in San Francisco all year long, despite the fact that these cities are on approximately the same latitude?

22)  What is an upwelling?

23)  What happens to the temperature of an area if the winds are less strong?  Why?

Give an example of where this happened in 1997 (ENSO).

24)  What are greenhouse gases?

25)  What is the Greenhouse Effect?

26)  What causes the ozone layer in the stratosphere?

27)  What does the ozone layer do?

28)  What is the concern about the ozone layer?

29)  Why is it very dry on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains?

30)  What are microclimates?  Examples?


1)  What percentage of the Earth’s land surface is covered by desert?

2)  What characteristic is common to all deserts of the world?

3)  What is the limiting factor in the desert biome?

4)  In general, where are deserts located on continents, and why?  Also, what is the rain shadow effect?

5)  Name 4  types of plants and their adaptations to the desert environment. 

6) Two main types of deserts in the U.S. are those found east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Rocky Mountains, and those found in Arizona, New Mexico, and Western Texas.  What is the difference between these two types of deserts?

7)  How would you characterize the temperature in a desert over a 24 hr. period?  Why?

8)  Why are so many desert animals nocturnal?

9)  Where are the desert “belts” located?

10)  What is desertification?  Give an example of one human activity that might cause desertification.

11)  Do deserts have high biodiversity or low biodiversity?  Why?


12)  How would you characterize grasslands with respect to precipitation? 

13)  Why are grasses well-adapted to live in this biome?

14)  Explain the role of fire in grassland biomes.

15)  List the three grassland biomes.  Compare them with respect to precipitation.  Which would you expect to have the most fertile soil?  Why?

16)  What are some adaptations found in animals that live in a grassland biome?

17)  What are some adaptations found in plants that are found in a grassland biome?


18)  Characterize a chaparral as to temperature, precipitation, and vegetation.


1)  What are the major types of forests?

2)  Characterize each as to precipitation and temperature.

3)  Describe the different layers of a rain forest.

4)  What is the significance of the stratification of the rain forest?  In other words, explain why the rain forest is said to be a vertical ecosystem.

5)  Describe the nutrient composition of the soil in a rain forest, and explain why it has this type of soil.

6)  Where do the majority of organisms live in the rain forest?

7)  How is the diversity of the rain forest being threatened?

8)  Characterize a deciduous forest with respect to temperature and precipitation.

9)  How are trees deciduous in this biome?

10)  Give two reasons why have humans cleared vast stretches of deciduous forests.

11)  Characterize a coniferous forest with respect to temperature and precipitation.

12)  What is a conifer?

13)  Why is snow important to the coniferous forest?

14)  Why is the soil of a coniferous forest poor?