Connecticut is the third smallest state of the United States and the south most of the New England states. It covers an area of 14359 square kilometers. It is gradually elevated from the sea level to a high point of 725 meters in the northwestern corner. It is divided into four climatic regions. The basis of this classification is the climatic conditions that prevail in the regions in terms of temperatures and precipitation among other factors. The regions include the coastal lowland region, the New England region and the Connecticut valley low land region (Farrell, 2006).
The Taconic section is the region found in the western Conner of Connecticut. It is found between Housatonic River and the New York border and also extends to Massachusetts; the highest point in the region is mt. frissell. The region has very cool winters with January temperatures averaging to negative 5.8 degrees .the temperatures however rise during summer to an average of about 27 degrees. Precipitation is evenly distributed in the region throughout the year with most areas receiving a monthly average of 109.2 millimeters. However, the highest precipitation of about 116.8 millimeters is received in June while the lowest level of precipitation of about 68.6 millimeters is received in February. The high precipitation in experienced in summer is accompanied by thunderstorms as well. This is because the high temperatures heat air masses over the interior resulting in conventional rainfall. Another characteristic of climatic conditions of this region is snowfall in winter. The annual snowfall averages 110 cm mostly in January and February.
The coastal lowlands region is the region that covers the whole of New England coast. The coastal lowland forms a narrow strip of land running along the southern shore of Connecticut. It is lower than most of Connecticut and is characterized by low ridges and beaches and coastal harbors. The climatic conditions of the region are composed of precipitation that averages between 1060-1140 millimeters with most of the precipitation occurring in summer. The region is also characterized with snowfall of up to 750 millimeters annually. The regions’ annual temperatures average at 50o F.
The New England region is the western Connecticut region. It’s composed of eastern and western New England uplands that consist of steep hills, ridges and rivers. It’s attitude above sea level range between 1400 and 1000 feet. The western New England upland runs from northwest to southeast Connecticut. The eastern New England uplands on the other hand run from northwest to north east. The winter temperatures of the region are generally lower than those of summer. The January temperatures of the region average at 25oF while those of July average at 74oF.the average precipitation in the region is 40 inches per year with most of it being received during summer.
The Connecticut valley lowland region is a narrow land area running from northern Massachusetts to southern Connecticut. The valley lowland is 20 miles wide. The region has fertile land for farming. The annual precipitation in the region range from 36- 55 inches per year with most of it being received in summer. Temperatures in the region range from 13 to 16 oC annually. However, the highest temperatures are experienced in summer (Brumbach, 1965).
Causes of climatic variations in Connecticut: As seen, the different regions of Connecticut have different climatic conditions. The climatic conditions have also been changing over time. These climatic variations have been caused by a number of factors.
The coastal location of Connecticut has moderating effects on the state’s temperatures. This is the main cause of climatic variations observed in various regions of Connecticut. This is because of the three types of air currents that affect Connecticut. This include the cold dry air that comes from sub arctic North America, warm moist air that streams in from Mexican gulf and subtropical waters of the Atlantic and cool dump air that comes from the north Atlantic. Therefore, depending on where the region is situated in relation to the ocean, it will exhibit different climatic conditions. While summer temperatures are generally uniform across Connecticut, a great contrast in temperatures is observed in winter .the temperatures are highest in coastal lowlands while the lowest temperatures are observed in the western uplands. The variation in temperature affects the amount of rainfall received in a region and therefore the climate of the region. This is because the temperatures affect precipitation and consequently the amount and the type of rainfall received in a particular region. Generally, the attitude of a region is responsible for variation of a region’s temperature. The higher above sea level a place is, the cooler it becomes. This explains why the uplands have greater temperatures than the highlands (Mel, 2009).
Human activities have also contributed to variations in climatic conditions within different regions of Connecticut. Various human activities have worked together to affect temperatures in different regions of Connecticut. Farming activities have greatly contributed to deforestation. The use of greenhouse technology has also contributed to variations in the climate in different regions of Connecticut. Massive industrialization on the other hand has contributed to releasing of gases harmful to the ozone layer. The extent of these activities in different regions contributes to global warming. Global warming has the effect of raising temperatures and thereby modifying the climatic pattern of a place. This is why extreme climatic conditions have been observed in the different regions