Learn about the process of orographic lift and the formation of rain shadows with this slideshow adapted from NOVA. Illustrations show how air is forced upward by mountains, leading to condensation and precipitation on the windward side of the mountain. The rain shadow effect can create a distinctly different climate on the leeward side of the mountain. Pairs of photographs show striking differences in vegetation on the opposite sides of two mountain ranges: the Cascade Mountains in Oregon and the Andes Mountains in Bolivia.
To view the Background Essay and Teaching Tips for this slideshow, go to Support Materials below. This resource was developed through WGBH’s Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms project, in collaboration with NASA. Click here for the full collection of resources.