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The Rocky Mountains are located in western North America. They are know for their beautiful scenery with mountains, trees and big game. People visit the Rockies for many recreational activities like hiking, hunting, camping, skiing and lots of other sports.

The Rocky Mountains have unpredictable weather which can change rapidly. As with other highland climates, the climate changes with increasing altitude. In general, the Rockies have mild summers, cold winters and a lot of precipitation.

The Rockies have very different seasons. In the winter there is deep snow, high winds, and sudden blizzards are common. At night it can get to -35 F or below! In the spring there is unpredictable weather. It could be wet or dry, cold or warm. In the summer there are sunny mornings, afternoon thunderstorms and clear nights. In the fall there are cool, crisp days, wind and decreasing precipitation.

There is lots of vegetation. The forests are full of pine trees, firs and spruces.Plants are very sturdy, most clinging to rock or hard soil.

Some adaptions that animals have made to the climate is that the hoofed species are very surefooted for the mountainous terrain they live on. Many animals migrate to lower and warmer elevations during the winter months. Some animals shed their brown fur to replace it with white so that they blend in with the snow. Some hibernate and some even have big feet so that they can walk on snow.

Koppen's letter code that describes the Rockies are H, Csb and Cfc. H means highland climate. C means warm temperature climate. s means dry season in summer. f means sufficient precipitation in all months. b means warmest month mean under 71.6 F. c means fewer than four months with means over 50 F.

The average temperature per year is 43 F. For Winter the average temperature is 28 F. 40 F is the average Spring temperature. In the Summer 59 F is the average temperature and for Fall it is 44 F. The highest temperature is 82 F in July. The lowest temperature is 7 F in January.

The average precipitation per year is 14 inches. The average for winter is 1.4 inches. The average precipitation for the season of spring is 4.2 inches. For summer it is 5.9 inches and for fall it is 2.6 inches. In the winter there are some snowstorms and blizzards. It snows later in the fall and there is decreasing precipitation. There is a lot of thunder and lighting in the summer. It rains and snows in the spring.

The latitude and longitude range is 35 N to 60 N, and 115 E to 165 E.

The Rocky Mountains are rich in environmental treasures. Conservation and protection is important to make sure the Rockies are just as wonderful as they are today for many generations.

by Hilary D. 2003


Photo by Andrey Narkevich

Hubbard, Fran. Animal Friends of Yellowstone. Texas: Awani press, 1971.

Kalman, Bobbie. What is a Biome. New York: Crabtree publisher, 1988.

"Rocky Mountain." World Book. 2000 ed.

"Rocky Mountain National Climate."
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"Rocky Mountain National Park Climate Information."
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"Rocky Mountain National Park Weather." (11 Dec. 2002)

Strahler, Arthur N. and Strahler, Alan H. Elements of Physical Geography. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1984.


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