Factors Affecting Nashville's Physiographic Regions

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As you travel across Tennessee, you may notice that one part of the state looks very different from other parts of the state. That is because there are six physiographic regions within Tennessee. Moving west to east, they include the Gulf Coastal Plains, Highland Rim, Central Basin, Cumberland Plateau, Great Valley, and the Unaka Mountains. Located in middle Tennessee, Nashville lies in a valley through which the Cumberland River flows. Nashville, the states capital, is nicknamed the central basin and describes Nashville and its surrounding areas. The basin extends for approximately forty-five to sixty miles to the east of Nashville, and about eighty miles to the south, near the Tennessee-Alabama line. Nashville itself is located in the northwestern…show more content…
Two factors that affect Nashville’s climate are the proximity to water and the urban island effect. The Cumberland River, which winds through the heart of Nashville, is one factor that affects Nashville’s climate. The Cumberland River begins in Harlan County, KY and flows for 688 miles before joining with the Ohio River northwest of Paducah, KY. Water bodies provide a source of moisture for the land masses and have a moderating affect on the climates of the land masses near them. In the summer the water from the Cumberland River acts like an air conditioner to keep the air temperatures cool and in the winter, the water acts like a heater to keep the temperatures from getting too cold. On a sunny day, the land absorbs heat from the sun more quickly than the water does. The air over the land becomes warmer as some of this absorbed heat is radiated back into the air. The warmer air begins to rise, and the cooler air over the water moves in to take its place. At nighttime when the sun goes down, the land cools off quickly, but the water does not. The water radiates some of its stored heat into the air, and this warmed air begins to rise. The cooled air over the land moves in to take the place of the rising warm air over the water. That is how bodies of water can affect the
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