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The Indian Ocean is the third largest, after the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. It extends over approximately 9,978 kilometers from southern Africa to Western Australia and is almost six times the size of the United States. Its boundaries include Asia in the north, Africa in the west, Australia in the east, and the Antarctic or the Southern Ocean in the south.

This body of water covers about 19.5 percent of the total water on Earth, or in other words, one-fifth. It covers 13.8 percent of the Earth’s surface. It has an area of 70.56 million square kilometers and includes:

– the Andaman Sea,
– The Arabian Sea,
– the Bay of Bengal,
– the Flores Sea,
– the Great Australian Bight,
– the Gulf of Aden,
– the Gulf of Oman,
– the Java Sea,
– the Mozambique channel,
– the Persian Gulf,
– the Red Sea,
– the Savu Sea,
– the Strait of Malacca, and
– The Timor Sea.

It connects with the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal.

Its volume is 292,131,000 cubic kilometers. Its average depth is around 3,890 meters, and its deepest point is the Java Trench or Sunda Trench, measuring between 7,258 and 7,725 meters. However, sometimes it is mentioned that the Diamantina Trench is the deepest part of this ocean, slightly deeper, about 8,047 meters.

The highest level of salinity is in the Arabian Sea and along a belt of water.

Properties of the Indian Ocean.

Madagascar. Waters of Indian Ocean.

The water salinity in the Indian Ocean is between 3.2 and 3.7 percent. The highest level of salinity is in the Arabian Sea and along a belt of water located between southern Africa and southwestern Australia. It is common to see icebergs at latitude 65° south throughout the year, but their limit is latitude 45° south.

Its surface temperature at latitude 20° south is about 22°C, while in the east can exceed 28°C. From latitude 40° south, water temperatures decrease. Incoming flows from the Atlantic Ocean, the Red Sea, and Antarctic currents control the circulation of water, but the ocean has two basic flow patterns: the northern hemisphere current, which moves to the right, and another stream south of the equator, which moves in the opposite direction.

The weather is variable. North of the equator, it is dominated by a monsoon climate, but in the southern hemisphere, winds are weaker, with occasional summer storms that hit the Mauritius Island. From October to April, there are high winds in the Northeast. The monsoon season causes cyclones that can batter the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.

This ocean is more recent than the others, so there are crags and ridges in its floor. The South Kerguelen Plateau, a small underwater continent of volcanic origin, is in the south. In the west and near Madagascar, there is an underwater plateau whose length is 2,000 kilometers.

Economic Importance of the Indian Ocean.

The Indian Ocean contains a significant amount of oil and natural gas and is also a source of fish, sand, and metal, relevant to different industries. It has four main waterways: Bab-el-Mandeb, the Strait of Hormuz, the Straits of Malacca, and the Suez Canal.

40 percent of the world’s offshore oil production has its origin in the Indian Ocean.

Marine life is relatively limited in the Indian Ocean due to lower concentrations of phytoplankton. However, the northern part of this ocean is home to a larger number of species, which are essential for human consumption. Fishing fleets from Russia, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea navigate this ocean catching shrimp and tuna.

Moreover, there is a continuous traffic carrying oil from Indonesia and the Persian Gulf, with an average of 17 million barrels of oil per day. In fact, 40 percent of the world’s offshore oil production has its origin in the Indian Ocean.

Conservation of the Indian Ocean.

In the late 90’s, a huge quantity of trash was found, suspended on the surface of the Indian Ocean. Thousands of plastic particles, chemical substances, and other garbage are concentrated there, covering about 10 million square kilometers. Meanwhile, the Arabian and Red Seas and the Persian Gulf are contaminated with hydrocarbons from oil and gas.

The ocean is home to some endangered species: the dugong, whales, seals, and turtles.

 

Quick facts:

• It is the warmest ocean basin on Earth.
• Annually, more than 7,000 humpback whales travel to the waters of Madagascar to breed and give birth.
• The world’s earliest civilizations developed around the Indian Ocean.
• In Sanskrit literature, it is known as “Ratnakara” which means “gemstone mine.”

The Pacific is the largest ocean on Earth; its name comes from the explorer Ferdinand Magellan when sailing the mighty winds of the Atlantic, found calm and favorable winds. Thus he named it “Pacific Ocean.”

This enormous mass of water ranges from the Arctic Ocean to the Antarctic or the Southern Ocean, from the Bering Sea in Alaska to the Ross Sea in Antarctica. It meets the Atlantic Ocean through the Bering Strait in the north and the Drake Passage and the Strait of Magellan in the south. It borders Asia and Oceania in the west and the Americas in the east.

The Pacific Ocean is two times bigger than the Atlantic and also contains twice the volume of water.

In simple terms, the Pacific Ocean is two times bigger than the Atlantic and also contains twice the volume of water: 714 million cubic kilometers. It occupies an area of about 161,760,000 square kilometers and includes the Bali Sea, the Bering Sea, the Gulf of Alaska, the Gulf of Tonkin, the Coral Sea, the East China Sea, the Philippine Sea, the Sea of Japan, the South China Sea, and the Tasman Sea.

Its widest point is at a latitude about 5° north, and its deepest point corresponds to the Mariana Trench, which is about 11.3 kilometers deep.

Characteristics of the Pacific Ocean.

The salinity of ocean water is variable and depends on three factors: winds, precipitation, and evaporation. High salinity values are when there are more than 35 parts per thousand or 3.5 percent and low values, less than 3.5 percent. Given this information, the lowest salinity is found in the extreme northern areas of the ocean (3.2 percent) and the highest occurs in the southeast, where the water reaches up to 3.7 percent. When there is more rainfall, the salinity decreases and when the evaporation increases the salt concentration increases too.

Pacific Ocean.

The temperature of the Pacific Ocean is related to the “layer” of water. Each layer has a different temperature; therefore the lower ones are cooler than, the higher ones, obviously. The temperature of the surface layer, which is between 300 and 900 meters, are very different than the temperatures of the deepest layer, which may be near freezing. Average temperatures range between -1.4°C and 30°C, the latter present in areas close to the equator. In general, the North Pacific is warmer than the South Pacific.

In this ocean, there is a lot of volcanic activity and earthquakes because the “Ring of Fire” surrounds it. From May to December is the tropical cyclone season in South Asia, and from June to October is hurricane season in the American continent, in an area ranging from southern North America to northern Central America. The North Pacific surface currents move clockwise while in the South Pacific, they move in the opposite direction.

Economic Importance of the Pacific Ocean.

The Pacific contains significant deposits of oil and gas, and its waters are home to thousands of important edible species in the fishing industry. It is also a source of minerals, sand, and metal for the construction business. In 1996, approximately 60 percent of the fishing was done in the Pacific Ocean, and its oil reserves have an essential role in the energy supply of the countries bordering its waters.
The Pacific’s waters are used to provide transportation services east to west; strategic navigation routes are in Taiwan, Singapore, and the area known as the Torres Strait, located in Oceania.

The Pacific Ocean is shrinking by one centimeter per year as a result of the movement of tectonic plates.

Conservation of the Pacific Ocean.

The Pacific Ocean is shrinking by one centimeter per year as a result of the movement of tectonic plates. In 2000, the International Hydrographic Organization declared the recognition of a fifth ocean, the Antarctic or the Southern Ocean, reducing a part of the South Pacific.

This ocean is subject to one of the most serious pollution incidents in history; in its waters, there is the Garbage Island or the Great Garbage Patch, a sort of territory made up of waste, mostly plastics. The situation is precarious since thousands of animal and plant species live in the area and the environmental risks that this implies.

Pacific waters are home to some species endangered including sea lions, otters, dugongs, seals, turtles, and whales.

 

Quick Facts:


• If all continents could be placed over the Pacific Ocean, there would still be room to spare.
• It covers one-third of the Earth’s surface (33.1%).
• It’s about 15 times larger than the United States.
• The Great Barrier Reef, located in the Pacific Ocean, is the world’s largest reef.

The ocean is also part of the Earth’s surface, and just as there are volcanoes, mountains, plains and other visible formations on land, the same exist underwater although not everything in the ocean is completely mapped.

Features of the Ocean Floor.

The terrain or land relief is the accumulation of forms that exist on the surface of the Earth. Thanks to advances in technology, scientists have found an elaborate network of formations such as mountain ranges, canyons, mountains, hills, trenches, and others underwater that can rival in size and beauty with those seen on land.

The seabed has different geologic formations that lie on the ocean floor, which is structured as follows:

Continental shelf.

The continental shelf is the area near the continents’ land, generally corresponding to the part where beach-goers swim. It is part of the mainland, and it lies between the Coast and the point where the water has a depth of 100 to 200 meters.

Continental margin.


The continental margin is an area that starts from the edge of the continental shelf and descends steeply to a depth of 2,000 meters or more. It connects the continental shelf and oceanic floor.

Abyssal Plain.


The abyssal plain is the flat area of the seabed, with a typical depth of 3,000-6,000 meters. Often it is located between the continental margin and the oceanic trenches. Its average depth is 4,000 meters and is almost entirely horizontal.

The ocean floor is covered with a sediment result of thousands of years of decomposition of plants and animals and also the fall of volcanic ash and other materials from the earth.

Seabed structure


Seabed structure
.

What kind of shapes exists on the seafloor?

Ocean Trenches.

They are long and narrow depressions in the seabed; in fact, these are the deepest underwater areas, ranging from 3 to 4 kilometers below the floor.

Oceanic Plateaus.

These are relatively flat regions that rise above the seabed, at least about 200 meters.

Mountains.

These are like the mountains on the land, but their highest point does not reach the ocean surface. They are mainly formed by volcanic activity and can rise to hundreds or thousands of meters above the seabed. A curious fact is that if you take into account the height of a mountain from its base, the dormant volcano Mauna Kea is the highest mountain in the world, and not Mount Everest.

Oceanic Mountain ranges.
Mountain systems characterized by the succession of mountains connected with each other.

Ocean ridges.

Mountain ranges that traverse more or less centrally abyssal plains and found in all ocean basins.

Ocean ridges.


Submarine canyons or valleys.
Steep slumps on the continental slope that usually carry sediment, nutrients and other substances from the land to the ocean floor.

Hydrothermal vents.
Hot springs, rich in minerals and chemicals that release hot water into the cold waters of the sea. Hydrothermal vents have hot and poisonous surroundings, but a few organisms like certain worms and mussels have adapted to live there.

Guyots.
Seamount whose top is flat, most common in the Pacific Ocean than in other oceans.

Abyssal hills.

Small elevations of the seafloor from an abyssal plain. They do not reach the significant heights of the mountains, but are common and constitute 30 percent of the seabed.

 

Quick Facts

– The Mariana Trench is the deepest part of the ocean.
– Ocean ridges are the places where most volcanic activity occurs on planet Earth.
– The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is the world’s longest mountain range.

The Oceans are large bodies of water that seem to keep many secrets. Even today, while a considerable knowledge exists about the properties and life that develops near the surface, there is still much to discover in its depths.

According to various criteria, researchers have divided the oceans to differentiate the life that exists there and to facilitate their study:

Ocean zones according to their density
.

Density is the mass quantity by volume of a substance, in this case, the seawater.

Surface zone or Mixed Layer.

In this layer, the temperature and salinity of the water are continuously changing due to the direct contact with air. Thus, reduction of the air temperature also causes lower surface temperatures.

The Pycnocline.

Changes in density do not frequently occur in this zone because there is not much movement in this area, and it is not in direct contact with air or with the ocean floor.

The Deep Zone.

The water of this layer is colder and denser than in the other areas.

The ocean is divided into three main areas: pelagic, demersal and benthic.

Ocean zones by depth
.

It is more common to classify the ocean layers according to their depth because many species are categorized according to the depth zone where they inhabit. Have you heard that there are deep-sea fish? They have this name precisely because they live in the abyssal zone.

The ocean is divided into three main areas: pelagic, demersal and benthic, depending on the sunlight that reaches the water and illuminates below the surface.

Ocean zones

1. Pelagic Zone

In Greek, the word means “open sea.” Pelagic is the upper layer of the oceans and covers about 360 million square kilometers of the Earth, and its volume is about 1,330 million cubic kilometers. It has a mean depth of 3.68 km. And a maximum depth about 11 kilometers. It is also called the “open-ocean zone,” and the species that live there are called “pelagic.” The pelagic zone has the following areas:

a. Neuston zone.

The neuston zone is the area that is in direct and immediate contact with air and extends to 1 meter deep. The word neuston refers to the microscopic organisms that live right in this area. It is rich in plankton; so many animals that live in lower areas tend to climb here to feed. Some authors do not consider the neuston area as an individual part of the pelagic zone.

b. Epipelagic zone.

The epipelagic zone is the surface layer extending to 200 meters deep and reaching about 60 kilometers off the coast. It is an area with lots of sunlight and home to numerous species, apparently more than any other.

c. Mesopelagic zone.

This area ranges from 200 to 1,000 meters deep. It is also known as the “twilight zone.” The temperature varies less than in the epipelagic zone, but similar to a thermocline region, meaning that the temperature varies with depth. Sunlight penetrates to a lesser extent, and from here downward some fish manifest bioluminescence. Octopuses, squid, and fish inhabit this zone.

d. Bathypelagic zone.

This zone extends from 1,000 to 4,000 meters deep. Sunlight does not reach this area, and there is an intense hydrostatic pressure. Its temperature is constant and freezing, around 4°C. About one percent of oceanic species live in this zone, and because of this, food is scarce for those who do live there.

abyssal zone.
Bioluminescence.

e. Abyssalpelagic zone.

It comprises the region between 4,000 and 6,000 meters deep. As expected, its temperature is constantly cold, 2°C to 3°C. Life is very scarce because there are very few nutrients around, but some creatures can withstand the dark and pressure of this zone and can bear up to 76 megapascals of pressure.

f. Hadalpelagic Zone.

The hadalpelagic zone is the deepest part of the ocean, with a temperature barely above the freezing point. Sunlight does not penetrate to this depth, and nutrients are very scarce, though some unicellular organisms, worms, and sea cucumbers live there. It extends beyond 6,000 meters deep.

2. Demersal zone

The demersal zone is located near the ocean bottom layer and above the benthic zone. The species found in the demersal layer usually look for food on the seabed or feed on other demersal species.

3. Benthic zone

The benthic zone is the layer at the very bottom of the ocean floor, comprising the surface region and some sediment layers beneath the surface layer. It contains low levels of oxygen and cold temperatures.

Ocean currents are continuous and directed movements of water produced by multiple factors. Currents can happen in rivers, lakes, swamps and other water systems, although in the oceans, because of their size, a higher number and stronger currents exist.

These ocean currents flow over long distances and sometimes significantly influence life on Earth. What changes their direction and strength? The topography of the seabed, their interaction with other currents, and the configurations of the shorelines.

Causes of ocean currents
.

The effect of several factors acting over the water that generates currents like the wind, the rotation of the Earth, the gravitational force of the moon, differences in temperature and salinity, the topography (shape) of the seabed, the heat from the sun, etc. Let’s review the three most important factors that generate currents:

1. Wind.

Drives currents that are near or on the water surface. Seasonal winds push surface waters away from the coast, so the water rises in the western edges of continents.

2. Tides.
Tides, created as the result of the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun, create currents near the coasts, bays, and estuaries. Their pattern is regular. Therefore changes are predictable.

3. Thermohaline Circulation.

Density differences, due to salinity and water temperature differences, drive this flow. It causes the bottom topography influence on deep currents.

Types of ocean currents:

Surface Currents.
The wind usually drives them and are almost 8-10 percent of ocean water. In the northern hemisphere, they move in a clockwise direction, but in the southern hemisphere, they move in the opposite direction. These waters are rich in nutrients, causing a large population of marine life to inhabit there.

Types of ocean currents.

Surface currents can be of two types:
1. Warm, ranging from the tropics to high latitudes and
2. Cold, originating in polar and temperate latitudes and flow toward the equator.

When several ocean currents are connected, they form the so-called gyres, in which water moves in a circular pattern while maintaining the clockwise motion in the northern hemisphere and the opposite in the southern hemisphere.

Deep Currents.
Also called submarine rivers; they flow at more than 100 meters deep and move because density differences about salinity and temperature.

Coastal Currents.
The wind blowing along the coast affects the waves and these, in turn, the currents.

Tidal Currents.
They are the result of the high tides and the low tides. When tides close to the shore move vertically, up or down, they move water horizontally, creating currents. These are the only type of currents generated by the gravitational attraction between the sun, Earth, and moon.

Ocean currents affect the regional climates, marine life, and the cycle of nutrients in the water.

The importance of Ocean Currents.

Ocean currents affect the regional climates, marine life, and the cycle of nutrients in the water. In this regard, the transport of nutrients promotes the prosperity of many species of plants and marine animals, and sediment transport or harmful particles in the surface currents gives an overview of the effects of pollution and its causes.

Moreover, the preparation of navigation by observing the direction of the currents ensures safe travels. In the case of shipwreck, rescuers can determine the location of the missing persons.

It is also important to note that the currents generate high temperatures in parts of Western Europe and promote plant and animal life in Antarctic waters.

Examples of ocean currents.

In the world, there are several ocean currents, like
– Antarctic Circumpolar Current.
– Eastern Australian Current.
– Gulf Stream.
– California Current.

Definition of Tides.

Tides are increases and decreases in the sea level. Surely you’ve noticed this because it is a common and easily witnessed phenomenon. For a while, a boat floats near the shore, and after a few hours, the boat rests on the sand. When this occurs it is said that is low tide, and when the opposite happens, it is said that the high tide.

There are four stages of tides:

1. Sea level rises gradually over several hours.
 Flood tide.
2. The water level is at its highest level.
 High tide.
3. Sea level falls slowly for several hours. Ebb tide.
4. 
The water stops falling reaching its lowest level. Low tide.

The tides are not unique in the oceans; they can occur in other water systems as long as the required conditions happen.

Types of tides
.

There are two types of tides: high tide and low tide. Also, tides may be semidiurnal or diurnal. These tides have one tidal cycle per day, meaning one low tide and one high tide, while the semidiurnal tides have two high tides and two low tides per day.

Causes of tides
.

The tidal phenomenon was the subject of various theories until Sir Isaac Newton in 1687 explained that tides are the result of the gravitational attraction of the moon and the sun. However, first things first.

Some factors influence tides called tidal constituents. They are the rotation of the Earth, the position of the moon and the sun to our planet, and the shape of the shore and the seabed. Thus, the duration of the tides and their amplitude depend on these components and can last hours.

Definition of Tides

According to the mass of the objects, and the distance between them, the gravitational force varies; this is the fundamental principle for understanding the cause of tides. Knowing this, the moon’s gravitational pull on the Earth is the primary component. The moon’s gravitational pull is so strong that it “pulls” the oceans, creating a lump. This pull is stronger on the side of the planet facing the moon because it’s where the moon and Earth are closest.

The force of inertia (property of staying in rest or motion) tries to keep the water at its normal level. Also, Earth rotates continuously generating a centrifugal force which causes oceans to protrude on the on the opposite side of the moon.

Tides are essential to generate tidal energy through turbines or other methods that generate electricity.

The inertia exceeds the gravitational pull and in short, two bulges of water that align with the moon are created as the Earth turns.
Oceans protrude two times in one period when they are on the side of the Earth closest to the moon and again when they are on the far part of the planet. In coastal areas, high tide occurs approximately every twelve hours and 25 minutes. If the moon is above your head and you’re on the coast, you should see high tide.

Tides are essential to generate tidal energy through turbines or other methods that generate electricity. Tidal energy is a renewable, clean energy and contributes to sustainability. Tides are also relevant for sea travel, and thus they are placed in nautical charts, indicating the direction and the speed that ships must observe during high and low tides.

 

Quick Facts:

The Tsunamis, are not related to tides.

There are tide-measuring stations that measure, describe, and predict tides.

A particular climate identifies every region of the world. The constant rains of England contrast with the aridity of North Africa and humidity in the Brazilian rainforest difference from the polar cold in the northern islands of Russia.

What do we mean by climate?

The climate is the average of meteorological variables in a given area over a prolonged period. These variables can be moisture, atmospheric pressure, rainfall, and of course temperature.

The climate is a primary element used to describe a place or region, and its crucial in detecting phenomena that are out the ordinary. When we talk about climate change, it’s common to hear that rising temperatures are changing weather patterns; this means that in some places where the climate is well known, there are anomalous changes, for example, people experience colder winters than normal or warmer summers.

Several factors influence the climate of a zone, including latitude, longitude, altitude, proximity to the sea, wind direction, and the type of terrain. Usually, as far a place is from the equator, the colder its climate tend to be. Well, in most cases, because some highland areas regardless their proximity to the equator have cold climates. The climate depends not only on one factor but a set of them.

The climate is the average of meteorological variables in a given area over a prolonged period.

Over time, there have been several classifications of climates in the world, but it’s hard to fit them into a single classification throughout history due to their versatility. However, the division of the world into climates is very useful in predicting changes in variables. In a climate classified as “wet,” it’s possible to predict a greater amount of rainfall than in temperate climates, and presumably in a given time span, a higher probability of hurricanes.

While climate classifications are varied, the following five are most common:

1. Tropical.
a. Tropical wet.
b. Tropical wet and dry.

2. Dry.
a. Semiarid.
b. Arid.

3. Moderate.
a. Mediterranean.
b. Humid subtropical.
c. Marine west coast.

4. Continental.
a. Humid continental.
b. Subarctic.

5. Polar.
a. Tundra.
b. Ice cap.
c. Highlands.

Each of the five major types has more particular types of climates as described above. Other experts on the subject include more types such as mountainous.

climate or weather?

Are climate and weather the same thing?

It is a common mistake, but climate and weather are entirely different concepts. Weather is a particular condition in a place and can change over hours, days, months, or a few years, but climate is the average weather pattern over time. That is, a tropical climate is described over several years and is characterized, among other things, by rains that may be stronger or more abundant on some days than others and during the afternoon the temperatures reach 30 C, and that pattern keeps happening during years. A meteorologist, for example, intends to predict the daily weather in a specific place, which has a particular climate.

A meteorologist, intends to predict the daily weather in a specific place, which has a particular climate.

Climatic forces outline the Climate of a place over the course of thirty years, but changes can occur over the course of hundreds or thousands of years. For example, the Sahara desert has had the same climate for millennia.

If you want to learn more about this topic, please go to articles that will explain the characteristics, types, and other related topics.

The simplest definition of Precipitation is any form of water that falls from the sky. Evidently, any precipitation develops in Earth’s atmosphere and then falls to the surface, usually as rain.

Precipitation is part of the water cycle, and thanks to this component, living organisms get the freshwater they need to survive. After falling, it evaporates and rises into the atmosphere as a gas, condenses, and falls again. This process repeats over and over again.

Each year about 505,000 km3 of water fall to the Earth´s surface; 398,000 km3 on oceans and 107,000 km3 on land. It means that on average, annual rainfall is about 99 centimeters. 
But precipitation is different in each region of the world. For example in Georgia, USA, the rain falls evenly during the year, about 102-107 centimeters annually, while in Arica, Chile, it didn’t rain for 14 consecutive years. Then, rainfall can vary across a region, area, or even a city.

It means the conversion of water vapor into a liquid that accumulates around tiny dust particles, forming clouds.

Causes of Precipitation.

Precipitation falls to Earth after a condensation process. It means the conversion of water vapor into a liquid that accumulates around tiny dust particles, forming clouds. When the droplets become too heavy, gravity pulls them down. Let´s explain it further:

During the water cycle, the process of evaporation causes liquid water from the oceans, rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water and even plants to become water vapor in the air. This vapor rises and accumulates in the atmosphere, forming clouds. Clouds are made mainly of water droplets, dust, ice, and salt. When they rise high enough, they become cirrostratus clouds, high-level clouds composed of ice crystals, and altostratus clouds, thick clouds made of ice and water.

Eventually, clouds fill with microscopic water droplets, which grow heavier; this happens due to air turbulence that moves droplets around and joins them. When they’re eventually heavy enough to overcome air resistance, they fall to Earth surface. All types of precipitation originate in the clouds.

Rain, a type o precipitation.

Types of Precipitation.

Rain.
It is the precipitation in the form of drops of liquid water. Unlike its traditional representation, drops are spherical and not shaped like teardrops. They can have a diameter up to 6 mm; if drops are less than 0.5 mm, it is called drizzle.

Snow.

Snow is precipitation in the form of ice crystals. Its formation takes place in clouds when water vapor is sublimated and forms delicate ice crystals. When they fall, they join and form snowflakes, and therefore each flake has a complex structure based on crystals of frozen water, but they are soft if touched. According to the temperature and humidity, the snowflakes develop diverse patterns.

Precipitation allows plants to grow and agriculture to be successful provinding food for humans.


Hail.

It is the precipitation in the form of pieces of ice, created when chilling water droplets freeze at the top of the clouds. When they become larger, due to the binding of the frozen drops, air currents can’t hold them in the clouds, and these ice pieces fall. Given their size, they do not melt before reaching the Earth’s surface. Most Hail has a diameter of 25 mm, but they can be as large as 150 mm or as small as 5 mm.

hail

Sleet.

Sleet is rain and snow mixed that freezes before it hits the ground, creating ice pellets.

Another lesser-known kind of precipitation is diamond dust, which is composed of small ice crystals formed at temperatures not exceeding -30°C.

Needless to say, that precipitation is the basis of life. If the water vapor in the air just remained suspended there, bodies of water would dry up, and life would be impossible. Precipitation allows plants to grow and agriculture to be successful provinding food for humans.

The concept “climate” refers to the predominant or average weather recorded in a given area for a time long enough that all the possible weather scenarios in such area may happen. The climate is a permanent or long-time concept while the weather changes within hours. Therefore, “climate” and “weather” are different but related concepts.

The climate depends on several interrelated factors: latitude, longitude, elevation, topography, proximity to the sea and wind direction. Therefore, although the areas located near the equator are usually warm, there are mountain zones on the same latitude that are cold.

In general, there are three types of climate: warm, temperate, and polar.

Multiple Types of Climates.

In general, there are three types of climate: warm, temperate, and polar. Warm climates are found at low latitudes and are characterized by high temperatures; the inclination of sunlight is minimal. Therefore, the radiation is constant. In temperate climates, located at mid-latitudes, temperatures are usually mild to moderate, and polar climates, which occur at high latitudes, usually have temperatures below 10 °C during the warmer months; typically they are found in the polar circles.
Now these three groups have more precise climates, so it is important to know the classifications.

Climate classification.

Although there are several classifications of climate, the best known is perhaps the one made by Wladimir Köppen, a German climatologist of Russian origin who created this climate classification:

Group A: Tropical climate.

Tropical climate

a. Tropical wet.
It is a warm climate but with regular rain: the annual rainfall exceeds 150 centimeters. Temperatures vary little throughout the year.

b. Tropical wet and dry.
It is also known as tropical savannah. In this case, temperatures vary moderately, but they are usually warm to hot.

Group B: Dry climate.

Dry climate.

a. Arid.
Summers are hot, and winters are cool or warm. Rainfall is low.

b. Semiarid.
Although it is a hot climate, it is more moderate than the arid climate. Regions with this climate fall between those with an arid climate and tropical climates.

Group C: Moderate climate.

Moderate climate.

a. Mediterranean.
It is warm to hot climate. While winters are rainy, summers are dry.

b. Humid Subtropical.
Regions with this climate are usually in the eastern part of the continents. They experience hot, humid summers and colder winters. Precipitations have a regular distribution throughout the year, but hurricanes are common.

c. Marine West Coast.
They are in the western areas of the continents where the wind direction is from the sea to land. Winters range from cold to temperate, and summers are warm, with moderate rainfall most of the year. Examples of cities with this climate: Seattle, USA and Wellington, New Zealand.

Group D: Continental climate.

Continental climate.

a. Humid Continental.
Regions with this climate have moderate to hot summers and cold winters. Throughout the year, the temperature difference can range from – 3°C to 22°C. Most of Eastern Europe has a humid continental climate.

b. Subarctic.
An area with this climate has cool summers and cold winters. Most of the rainfall occurs during the summer. This climate is present in northern Scandinavia and Siberia.

Group E: Polar Climate.


Polar climate.
Low temperatures are the rule throughout the year, although there are variations.

a. Tundra.
This climate is dry, and permafrost, a layer of ice, regularly covers the soil. It locates in the northern limits of North America, parts of Russia, and of course, the edges of Antarctica.

b. Ice cap.
It is the coldest weather on Earth, with temperatures that are rarely below freezing point. It is present in Greenland and most of the Antarctic continent.

Group H: Highland climate.

Highland climate.
Sometimes, this climate is included in the above group (E), but other authors consider it as an individual climate (H).

It is present at very high altitudes in mountainous terrain. Areas with this climate experience rapid elevation changes, causing rapid climate changes over short distances.

Quick Facts.
The driest desert in the world is the Atacama Desert in Chile. Its average annual rainfall is 0.51 millimeters.

Redwood National & State Parks

Stage of great Hollywood films

Redwood National & State Parks is located in California in America. This was first established in 1968 and the redwood forest covers almost 2 million acres along the Californian coast. The area was home to Native Americans for many years and there were many miners who came during the gold rush as well as lumbermen brought to the area also.

The History of Redwood

There are many Native Americans that live in the park today and it is thought that the region was inhabited first thousands of years ago. However, modern day Native groups of Chilula, Yurok, Karok, Wiyot and Tolowa live in the area today and they have ties to the region from thousands of years ago. The Yurok group was thought to have been great in numbers during 1852; as there were almost 55 different villages of almost 2,500 people living throughout the villages.

The Americans used the redwood trees to build things such as houses, boats, small villages and many more things for their people; and how the villages were constructed was certainly amazing. They used leather strapping and cloth to keep the wood together and cover them to create warmth.

However during the years, there were a lot of different people coming into the region and going and the land was greatly disturbed over the years also. In 1918, Save-the-Redwoods-league was created and this helped to protect and preserve the land.

Redwood National Park Information
Fern canyon

The headquarters of the park is found in California in Crescent City but there is a lack of money. This means that improvements to the park can be difficult to make and that timber companies have helped to plant a lot of trees in which have been removed. This has helped to create more trees and replenish the area also with non native trees.

However, exotic species have been invading the coastline areas such as the coastal prairie and dunes also. This was because of the forest fires that broke out throughout the years in the area; but today there is a chance for controlled burning so that the land can return back to the original state it was once. There were many parts of the land that were re-grown and replenished over the years.

There are some front country camp sites available with the state parks but for the federal parts of the park, they don’t. Hiking is going to be the only way to actually get to the back country camp sites. The camp grounds are at Mill Creek and the Jedediah Smith grounds also.

Many visitors do love to go back country camping; however, this is only allowed for those with permits. What is more, the camping sites are only allowed in certain areas, designated areas. There is a limitation over how many night people can stay camping; this is 5 consecutive night and overall 15 nights in one year. It is going to be very important for visitors to remember that there are bears in the park and that is why the park asks for proper food storage to avoid any encounters with these animals. All backpackers and hikers must remove all of the garbage they have before they leave to prevent litter in the park.

There are around 200 miles of trails throughout the park; however, when the rainy seasons start, some of the footbridges are removed. This is because these bridges which are temporary structures can be damaged by the high streams. All through the year however, the trails are wet and that does mean the hikers will be to be very well prepared. They need to be prepared for the weather as well as proper attire.

Attractions

Mountain biking and horseback riding are two very popular activities within the park. However, both activities are allowed on certain trails and it will be very important to stick to these roads also. Though, visitors can choose to go kayaking if they so wish as there is the seacoast to use and there are of course streams and rivers in which they can use also if they so wish.

Most love to go canoeing and kayaking and use the Smith River often and it is the biggest river that isn’t dammed in the State of California today. Though, fishing is very popular in the park also as many try to catch steelhead fish and salmon; and many try to fish for the anadromous, a high prized fish from the rainbow trout family.

Redwood National Park located in California
Coastline area in Redwood / Photo courtesy of National Park Service

This fish is at least 16 inches long but some say it’s longer! What is more, the best places to fish are the Klamath River and the Smith River also. However, for those who wish to fish, they will need to acquire a sport fishing license from the California government in order to fish in the streams or river. Hunting is strictly prohibited in the area!

There are five visitors’ centers and visitors can go on guided nature walks and finding out some information about the park itself. The camp grounds are going to be amazing to stay at also because the roaring camp fires and talks are amazing to visit. The picnic areas are really going to be amazing to stop off at when visitors head here.

The Redwood National Park has however also played host to movie makers. The park has been the filming locations of a lot of films including scenes from Star Wars Episode VI: Return of The Jedi. Clearly, it does offer a lot of beauty spots and the entire park is magnificent itself.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Walking with Dinosaurs used the park’s amazing scenery to help during filming and it is just a spectacular place to visit. The Redwood National Park is certainly a lovely place, one in which millions of visitors head to every year. However, it is a tremendous location to visit and it offer so much also.

Location

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