Climatic graphs

This video outlines the features of climatic graphs and how these features inform geographers of the average weather and climate of a location.

This video:

  • details the features of a climatic graph
  • clearly distinguishes between the line graph used to illustrate temperature and the column graph used to illustrate rainfall
  • emphasises the importance of including other relevant details with the graph such as latitude and longitude and the date gthe graph was created.

Watch 'Cimatic graphs' (2:14).

The features of climatic graphs

[Music playing]

[Screen shows a blue sky with clouds. Text on the screen reads, ‘Curriculum Secondary Learners – HSIE. Teaching geographical skills series. Climatic graphs. Presented by Melissa Ellis.’]

Melissa Ellis:

A climatic graph is a graph which shows the average temperatures and precipitation for a place over a year. Here we have a climatic table and climatic graph. Note the title, latitude, longitude, temperature, and precipitation are clearly identified.

[Screen shows an image of a combination graph – a bar graph and line graph. It also shows a table below the graph. The combination graph is titled, ‘Climate graph’. The screen zooms in under the title. Text on the screen reads, ‘Weather Station. New York City’. The latitude and longitude are also listed.]

When reading climatic graphs, it is easy to become confused. The temperature is always illustrated as a line graph. It's best to draw this in red when drawing your own climatic graph.

[Screen zooms in to show the top of the graph. The left vertical axis of the graph measures temperature in degrees Celsius, from -5 to 30. Evenly spaced dots on the graph are joined together by a line in the shape of an arc. The line glows red.]

The rainfall, millimetres, is always illustrated in a column graph.

[The line fades. The columns on the graph are now highlighted, glowing different shades of light blue. The right vertical axis measures rainfall from 20 to 120 millimetres.]

The maximum highest temperatures will be the highest point on the line graph. The minimum temperature will be the lowest point on the line graph.

[The columns fade and the line becomes highlighted again. An arrow appears on the screen to show the highest point in the line. It reads, ‘Maximum temperatures’. Another arrow appears to show the lowest point. It reads, ‘Minimum temperatures’.]

When asked to find the temperature range, you simply subtract the minimum temperature from the maximum temperature. The highest precipitation will be illustrated by the highest column graph. The lowest precipitation will be illustrated by the lowest graph.

[The line fades and the columns become highlighted again. An arrow appears and points to the longest column. It reads, ‘Highest rainfall’. Another arrow appears and points to the shortest column. It reads, ‘Lowest rainfall’.]

On climatic graphs, a grouping of high rainfall will illustrate wet season. In an area where the columns are collectively low, it will illustrate a dry season.

[The screen shows a red circle around a group of high columns, followed by a group of low columns.]

We find out the total rainfall of the year by adding up all the column graphs together. Here, we can see the total rainfall for the year. Remember, in the climatic graph, temperature is the average for the month and rainfall is the total.

[The screen zooms in to show a table below the graph. The table describes the temperature and rainfall recorded for all the months of the year. The screen highlights the row containing rainfall data to show a total of 1,268 millimetres of rainfall for the year. A circle appears around a temperature of 22 degrees that was recorded in May. Another circle appears around a rainfall measurement of 106.4 millimetres that was recorded in May.]

Temperature is a line graph. Rainfall is a column graph. Always read your graph carefully and make sure you were following the month you were looking for all the way up from the bottom of the graph. That is how we read climatic graphs.

[The screen zooms out to show the table and the whole graph. A red line appears from the bottom of the screen and draws a box around all of the table data for the month of July. The box extends up around the column to the top of the screen.]

Good luck with yours.

[Text on screen reads, ‘Acknowledgements. NSW Geography K-10 syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales 2015. See the NESA website for additional copyright information. NSW Department of Education Curriculum Secondary Learners. Southern Cross School of Distance Education.’

The screen shows an Indigenous artwork. The artwork features a landscape with native Australian animals. It is titled, ‘Our Country’ by Garry Purchase. The text at the top of the screen reads, ‘Filming of these videos has taken place on Bundjalung land.’ Video concludes by displaying the NSW Government logo.]

[End of transcript]

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