How does latitude affect climate?

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Latitude is the distance between the north and south equator and is normally measured in degrees (0° to 90°).

Temperature levels react and change depending on latitude levels. At the equator, temperatures are highest. This is why the further a location is from the equator, the colder the temperatures are.

The most obvious observation that can be made in terms of climate and latitude is the differences in temperatures at the equator in contrast to the poles.

More specific observations can also be made, for example currents in the ocean, height/elevation, There are variations, though, as other factors such as elevation and ocean currents.

Multiple factors contribute to the cause of climate:latitude variations, including the earth’s axis position and the movement / orbiting of the earth around the sun.

Planet Earth can be divided into two halves that begin at the equator. The Northern Hemisphere represents the upper half, the Southern Hemisphere the lower half.

Each hemisphere (north and south) is divided into 90 different sections / imaginary lines that run parallel to the equator. These lines illustrate the latitudes ranging from 0°N to 90°N.

Sun rays shine strongest at the equator due to the axis of the earth facing the sun (hence the higher temperatures), and these rays are slant towards the poles.

iceberg northpole

Why are higher latitudes colder?

At higher latitudes, the sun rays (light and energy) shine at lower angles, resulting in solar energy spreading over a larger area.

Since the sun shines over northern areas of the earth at a lower angle than a southern point, the light and heat covers a greater area (this leads to cooler temperatures).

As outlined in the previous section, sun rays are more intense at equator due to the axis of the earth facing the sun. The further a location is from the equator, the cooler it will be, since higher-latitude areas receive less intense rays from the sun.

What are the factors affecting climate?

There are five main factors which affect climate conditions, these are:

Altitude
As outlined above, temperatures become cooler the higher up you go. According to britannica.com, for each 100 meters of height, temperatures cool by approximately one degree celsius.

Latitude
As also outlined above, temperature levels react and change depending on latitude levels. At the equator, temperatures are highest. This is why the further a location is from the equator, the colder the temperatures are.

Distance from sea
A contrast in climate conditions can be observed depending on location (i.e. coastal vs interior).
Land and sea breezes that arise due to varying land and sea temperatures are responsible for moderate climate in coastal areas.

Relief
Relief is another important factor of climatic behavior. A rain shadow tends to receive less rainfall in comparison to areas of heavier rainfall (due to mountains).

Ocean Currents
Ocean currents are another aspect of climate conditions. The ocean can be compared to a conveyor belt that moves warm water and precipitation away from the equator, and towards the Poles. Hence ocean currents influence on climate.

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