Background Lessons for Journey North

Global Climates and Seasons
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This animation shows how global temperatures change throughout the year. First take time to understand the map. Look at the title and key. Imagine the equator, which runs horizontally across the middle of the globe.
  1. Try to locate approximately where you live.
  2. The first few times you look at the animation, look at temperature patterns on the entire globe. (Try starting in January.)
  3. The next few times through, look at temperature patterns just in North America.
  4. Answer the questions below the map. You can review the animation as you try to answer the questions.
Average Air Temperatures Through the Year (Link to full-size map) 


  • What patterns do you notice? What general statements can you make about global temperatures?
  • Which areas/latitudes tend to have the highest temperatures? The lowest?
  • How do average temperatures — as a whole — seem to move/shift throughout the year?
  • Point to a place on the globe were you think the temperatures change dramatically throughout the year. Where do you think they remain fairly constant?
  • What seems to happen to temperatures where you live? Does it seem accurate?
  • Point to your migrating animal's winter and summer habitats. What does this map tell you about the temperature conditions it needs to survive — or that it can survive in?

Find out what scientists think >>