How can meteorologists predict the weather? Do they have a crystal ball?
No. Their predictions are based on meteorology, the science that studies the atmosphere and weather.
Meteorologists use images they receive from artificial satellites orbiting the Earth. They analyse these images for information about cloud movements, clear areas, or the temperature in the upper part of the atmosphere.
Meteorologists also use information about temperature, precipitation, wind, etc. from weather stations all over the world, including weather stations on boats.
However, factors such as clouds and winds can change suddenly, which means meteorologists have to change their forecasts. For this reason, only weather forecasts for the next few days are very reliable.
What is meteorology?
What do meteorologists use to make weather forecasts?
Why do meteorologists sometimes get forecasts wrong?
What weather forecasts are the most reliable?
Look at the photo. What do you see? Which parts of Spain are covered with clouds? Which parts are clear? Which parts might be covered in the next few hours?
What do you remember?
Weather is the state of the atmosphere at a specific time and place. Climate is the weather in a particular region over a long period of time.
Rivers are large flowing bodies of water. The course of a river is divided into three parts: the upper course, the middle course and the lower course.
Map of the watersheds of Spain.
The Cantabrian, the Mediterranean, and the Atlantic watersheds are the three main watersheds in Spain.
This includes all the rivers that flow into the Cantabrian Sea. These rivers are short, and have a regular and abundant flow because rainfall in this area is frequent throughout the year. The main rivers of this watershed are: the Navia, the Nalón, the Eo, the Nervión and the Bidasoa.
This includes all the rivers that flow into the Atlantic Ocean.
It is the largest watershed in Spain.
There are no rivers in the Canary Islands. When it rains heavily, water flows through deep channels called gorges.
The Sil Canyon in Galicia.
This includes all the rivers that flow into the Mediterranean Sea. Except for the Ebro, these rivers are short and carry little water because they flow through areas with low rainfall. They have an irregular flow regime: a low flow, or even drought in the summer, and a high flow, or even flooding in spring and autumn.
Spain has four main types of climate: Oceanic, Mountain, Subtropical and Mediterranean.
This is the climate of the north of the Iberian Peninsula, including Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, the Basque Country, Navarre, the north of Aragón, and Castile and León.
These are its main characteristics:
Vegetation is abundant. It consists of forests with oak, chestnut and beech trees, and meadows.
This is the climate of mountainous regions above 1,500 metres.
Vegetation is scarce. At higher altitudes, it consists of meadows. In lower areas, there are forests with pine, oak and fir trees.
This is the climate of the Canary Islands. This is the only region of Spain that has a subtropical climate.
The vegetation includes laurel forests, Canary Island pines, palm trees and dragon trees. There are some species that are unique to this area, known as endemic species, such as the Teide violeT.
The Mediterranean climate is the most common climate in Spain.
There are three variations:
Vegetation is diverse, but scarce. It mostly consists of shrubs, rockrose and thyme, and forests with holm oaks, cork oaks and pine trees.
Most rivers in Europe are relatively long and have a steady flow. This makes them navigable by boat.
Based on the ocean or sea they flow into, European rivers can be grouped into five watersheds: the Atlantic watershed, the Arctic watershed, the Mediterranean watershed, the Black Sea watershed and the Caspian Sea watershed.
Rivers in this watershed have a low and irregular flow because of droughts in summer. The main rivers, from east to west, are the Po, the Rhone and the Ebro.
Rivers in this watershed have the highest flow in Europe since they run through areas with abundant rainfall. The main rivers, from east to west, are the Western Dvina, the Vistula, the Oder, the Elbe, the Rhine, the Loire and the Tajo.
Rivers in this watershed are very long with a high flow, so they are navigable by boat. The main rivers, from east to west, are the Dnieper, the Dniester and the Danube.
Rivers in this watershed have a very high flow, and freeze in winter. The main rivers, from east to west, are the Pechora and the Northern Dvina.
Rivers in this watershed are long with a high flow, including the longest river in Europe, the Volga.
Map of the types of climate in Europe.
Europe is located between two climatic zones: the temperate zone and the cold zone of the Earth.
Most of Europe is located between the latitudes of 35ºN and 60ºN. These latitudes are within the temperate zone of the Earth. This means that most of Europe does not have very high or very low temperatures.
In Europe, the following temperate climates can be found:
Cold climates can be found in latitudes above 60ºN and in areas with high altitude.
There are two types of cold climate:
Europe has varied landscapes with different vegetation.
– In areas with an Oceanic climate, there are meadows and forests with beech and oak trees.
– In areas with a Mediterranean climate, there are forests with holm oaks, cork oaks, and bushes, such as rockrose and rosemary.
– In areas with a Continental climate, there are forests with evergreen trees such as firs and pines, known as taigas, and plains with poor soil where only grasses can grow, known as steppes.
Choose and carry out one of the following activities:
you have completed the lesson!