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Factors Affecting Climate. Latitude. How far north or south a place is on Earth can determine what type of climate it has Low latitudes – the area between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, including the Equator. The low latitudes receive the most direct sunlight year round

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Latitude
Latitude

  • How far north or south a place is on Earth can determine what type of climate it has

  • Low latitudes – the area between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, including the Equator.

    • The low latitudes receive the most direct sunlight year round

    • Warm to hot climate, very tropical


Latitude1
Latitude

  • High Latitudes – the earth’s polar areas

    • Very cold due to a lack of direct sunlight

  • Mid-latitudes – the area in between the high and low latitudes

    • In the summer the mid-latitudes are warm

    • In the winter the mid-latitudes are cold

    • In general, the climate is temperate – not too hot, but not too cold

    • There can be dramatic seasonal weather changes

  • Describe what your closet would look like in each of the three latitude areas?


Elevation
Elevation

Elevation can affect climate in an area

As elevation increases the earth’s atmosphere thins

Thinner air retains less heat, so temperature drops

In general for every 1000 feet of elevation increase, the temperature will drop 3.5 degrees

EXAMPLE: Quito, Ecuador has an average temperature that is 32 degrees cooler than other cities nearby


Wind

Wind distributes the suns heat around the earth

Winds blow in patterns, not at random, called prevailing winds

Winds are often named for the direction they blow or from names given during early history when sailing was important

Trade winds – the wind that blows in the low latitudes

Westerlies – the wind that blows in the mid-latitudes

Polar easterlies – the wind that blows diagonally east to west pushing cold air toward the mid-latitudes


Ocean currents
Ocean Currents

Just like wind, water in the ocean moves in patterns called currents

Ocean currents have a tremendous affect on the climate in coastal areas

For example, a warm water current flows from the Caribbean Sea toward Europe. That is why places like England typically do not have bitterly cold weather


Landforms
Landforms

Bodies of water, mountains, and other landforms can affect climate

Example: Lake Michigan causes very strong wind to come off the lake and hit Chicago

Example: The Rain Shadow Effect in California


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