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SUMMARY UNIT 10: CLIMATES AND RIVERS IN SPAIN

(Part I: Climates)
1. INTRODUCTION

Climate and weather are not the same.


o

Weather is the atmospheric conditions at a specific time.

Climate is the average weather in an area over a long period of time.

Different types of climates are defined by their average temperature and


precipitation.
o Temperature is the amount of heat in the air. It is measured in degrees
Celsius (C) using an instrument called a thermometer.
o Precipitation is the water that falls from the sky (rain, snow or hail). It is
measured in litres of water per square meter (l/m2), using an
instrument called a pluviometer.

2. FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE CLIMATE


Several factors influence climate:

Latitude. It is the distance between a point on the Earth and the equator. The
Earth is titled on an axis. This makes the Suns rays heat the areas around the
equator more than the poles. This gives the Earth three typical climate zones: a

hot climate zone, a warm climate zone and a cold climate zone.
Altitude. It is the vertical distance of a point above sea level. Temperatures are

colder at higher altitudes.


Relief. Climate can be affected by mountains. When clouds collide with the
mountains, they release the water that contain. That is why there is more

precipitation in mountainous areas.


Distance to the sea. The water takes longer to get warm and cold down than
land. That is why the areas close to the sea have less extreme temperatures (the
temperatures are more constant) than the areas far from the sea.

3. CLIMOGRAMS

A climogram is a chart that represents the average temperature and precipitation in a


place during a year.

The blue bars represent precipitation collected every month during a year.
The red line shows the average temperature of each month.

4. CLIMATES IN SPAIN
Spain has different types of climates depending on latitude, altitude, relief and
distance to the sea.
Most of Spain has a Mediterranean climate. There are three types of Mediterranean
climate: Typical, Continental and Dry Mediterranean climate.
Other smaller areas of Spain have other types of climate: Oceanic, Mountain and
Subtropical climates.
The chart below tells you what these climates are like:
CLIMATE
Typical

TEMPERATURE
Mild in winter.

PRECIPITATION
Little precipitation.

WHERE IN SPAIN?
Extremadura and

Mediterranean

High in summer.

There can be torrential

western Andaluca

Continental

High in summer.

rains in autumn.
Little precipitation, but

The centre (Meseta

Mediterranean

Cold in winter.

more in spring and

Central, Ebro

Dry Mediterranean

Mild in winter.

autumn.
Very little precipitation.

depression, )
South-eastern part of

Oceanic

High in summer.
Mild temperatures,

A lot of precipitation.

the Peninsula.
North and north-west

but lower in winter.

of the Peninsula.

Mountain

Very low in winter.

A lot of precipitation, it

Areas with an altitude

Subtropical

Cool in summer.
Mild temperatures.

snows in winter.
Little precipitation.

above 1,500 metres.


Canary Islands.

SUMMARY UNIT 10: CLIMATES AND RIVERS IN SPAIN


(Part II: Rivers)
1. CHARACTERISTICS OF RIVERS
A river is a continuous current of water that flows over land into the sea, another
river or a lake.

A rivers course is the path of a river. Its channel is the terrain it flows
through.

A rivers water flow is the amount of water a river carries.


The flow regime is how the water flow changes, on average, during the year.
The flow regime depends on climate: rivers located in places with hot
summers will usually have a lower water level in summer, but rivers in
places with oceanic climates usually have a constant flow regime due to the
rain.

A watershed (vertiente) is the area of land through which rivers flow into
the same sea or ocean. Spain has three watersheds: the Cantabrian
watershed, the Mediterranean watershed and the Atlantic watershed.

2. THE CANTABRIAN WATERSHED

Rivers in this watershed are short, because they start in the mountains near the sea.
But they have a fast flow and a regular flow regime, because of the rainy oceanic
climate.
-

The Navia and Naln (in Asturias).

The Nervin (in the Pas Vasco, which forms the ria of Bilbao.

The Bidasoa (in the Pas Vasco, which forms the border with France).

3. THE ATLANTIC WATERSHED


This is the largest watershed. Its rivers have different characteristics depending on
climate.

The rivers in Galicia (oceanic climate) are short but fast-flowing.


-

The Mio

The rivers in the Meseta Central have an irregular water flow with a low
water level in summer.
-

The Duero (it starts in the Peaks of Urbin)

The Tajo (which flows into Lisboa, Portugal and its the longest river of
the Peninsula).

The Guadiana (it starts in the province of Ciudad Real)

The rivers of western Andaluca have an irregular water flow with a long low
water level.
-

The Guadalquivir

4. THE MEDITERRANEAN WATERSHED


Rivers here have an irregular flow with a low water level in summer.
-

The Ebro (the longest river in Spain, and the river with the heaviest
water flow. It flows from Cantabria to Catalua).

The Llobregat (in Catalua).

The Jcar, Turia and Segura (flow through Valencia).