how does latitude affect temperature

How does latitude affect temperature? Latitude is one of the most significant factors controlling temperature.

This blog article will explain how temperature and latitude are inversely related. Continue reading to find out more.

Because the Earth is spherical, not all portions of the Earth get equal amounts of sunlight. Temperatures are high because the lower latitudes or equatorial areas get the most sunshine.

Temperatures are lower at higher latitudes due to the sun’s slanting rays.

What is Latitude?

earth latitude

Latitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the North-South location of a certain place on the earth’s surface.

Latitudes are angles that vary from zero at the equator to 90 degrees north or south at the poles.

All latitude lines are parallel, running from East to West as circles parallel to the equator.

Latitudes and longitudes are used to pinpoint the exact position of any feature on the earth's surface. 

There are four lines of latitude:

The Arctic Circle

arctic circle map

The Arctic Circle denotes latitude in the far north. It is located at 66° 33′ north latitude.

It’s around 1650 miles from the North Pole and is shared by eight nations.

The United States, Canada, Russia, Norway, Greenland, Finland, Sweden, and Iceland are among them.

The Tropic Of Cancer

This is located north of the equator. It’s in the north, and the sun is at its most vertical at midday.

It is located at 23° 30′ north latitude. It also serves as the tropical climate’s northern boundary.

However, there aren’t many seasonal variations since the sun is high in the sky all year.

The Cancer Tropic goes across 17 nations. Mauritania, Western Sahara, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the Bahamas, Mexico, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Mali, Chad, Libya, Oman, China, India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar are among them.

The Tropic of Capricorn

tropic of capricorn map

At midday, the sun is in its highest vertical position. It runs at 23° 30′ south latitude, south of the equator.

It’s also the southernmost point of the tropical environment.

Furthermore, the Capricorn tropic goes across ten nations. Australia,  Madagascar, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Namibia, Paraguay, Botswana, Chile, and Namibia are among them.

The Antarctic Circle

The Antarctic Circle is located at the furthest south of the major latitude parallel.

It is situated at 66° 33′ south latitude and encompasses a chunk of the polar area.

The Antarctic Circle only goes over the continent of Antarctica.

How Does Latitude Affect the Temperature of a Region?

latitude affects temperature

Temperature and latitude are inversely linked. Temperature decreases as latitude rises, and vice versa.

Generally, it grows warmer nearer the equator and colder towards the poles.

Other elements, such as height, precipitation, and ocean currents, may alter the temperature in various regions.

So, how does latitude affect temperature?

One of the most important elements influencing temperature is latitude. Temperatures decline when one walks farther from the equator because areas get less sunshine.

The reason for this is due to the earth's form. The earth has the form of an oblate spheroid.

As a result, not every area receives the same quantity of sunshine, heat, or insolation (Incoming Solar Radiation).

For instance:

The Angle of Solar Incidence

Another factor contributing to temperature variations with latitude is the solar incidence angle.

The sun’s rays impact the earth’s surface at various angles.

The incidence of the sun’s rays is at a straight angle near the equator, resulting in greater heat since it is concentrated over a small area.

It also means less heat is wasted in the atmosphere since they travel a short distance. 

On the other hand, the sun’s rays impact the earth’s surface at a sharp angle near the poles.

The sun’s beams are widely distributed.

This also suggests that more heat is lost in the atmosphere since they travel large distances through the atmosphere before reaching the earth’s surface.

Tropical Regions

tropics

The tropics, also known as the tropical zone, are the area that surrounds the equator.

The tropic of Cancer, which corresponds to latitude 23.436720 North in the Northern Hemisphere, delimits it to the north. 

The tropic of Capricorn, which corresponds to latitude 23.436720 South in the Southern Hemisphere, delimits it to the south.

The tropics are areas on Earth where the sun shines directly above just once a year.

The tropical zone covers 40 percent of the earth's surface and 36 percent of its landmass.

Latitude’s Influence on Tropical Climate

tropical monsoon climate

Tropical climates are often found south and north of 25° latitude. Because of their constant exposure to the sun, they remain warm all year. 

Because the tropics are so near the equator, the sun beams directly on them.

It is also the cause of the heavy rainfall since the high temperature causes continual water vapor. It also has the coldest month average temperature (greater or equal to 18°C).

Another thing to remember is that the tropical climate is divided into three segments.

Tropical rainforest climate, dry and tropical wet tropical monsoon climate, and savanna climate, are examples of these.

What distinguishes them is the yearly rainfall and rainfall in the driest month.

Rainforest climates, on the other hand, have high temperatures ranging from 21°C to 30°C. They practically never experience a drought.

The monsoon climate has a brief dry season and an average yearly temperature of around 27°C. 

The savanna has a protracted dry season with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 30°C.

Temperature Zones

temperature latitudes

How does latitude affect temperature?

The temperate zones are found in the latitudes between the tropics and the polar regions.

They are located in the Northern and Southern hemispheres, between latitudes 23.50 and 66.50. 

Temperatures in the temperate zone vary the greatest throughout the year. It also has more marked seasonal fluctuations than the tropical zone, which typically has little variation.

Summer is the warmest season in temperate zones, followed by autumn, a transition season, winter, the coldest season, and spring, yet another transition season.

Winter starts at the start of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. It transforms to spring over the first part of the year.

Summer has arrived by mid-year, and fall will arrive in the second part of the year. It will be winter at the end of the year.

The seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere.

Climate

Temperate climates are found in latitudes ranging from 40° to 60° north or south of the equator.

It is located between the polar and tropical zones of the Earth. It also has an average temperature higher than -3°C but lower than 18°C.

This region’s temperature is influenced by its latitude.

Because the sun does not light directly on temperate areas, they experience distinct seasonal fluctuations.

Polar Regions

polar region

The polar zones, also known as Polar Regions or Frigid Zones, are located around the poles. The North and South Poles are the highest latitudes inside the polar circles. 

Polar ice caps encompass the region, with the North Pole in the Arctic Ocean and the South Pole in Antarctica.

Polar Regions are located north of 60 degrees north latitude in the North Pole and south of 60 degrees south latitude in the South Pole.

Because the sun’s rays hit the surface at an oblique angle, they spread out across a larger area, resulting in less intense solar radiation in the Polar Regions.

In this area, the sun’s rays travel a relatively long distance through the atmosphere, where the part is reflected, dispersed, or absorbed.

A similar condition occurs in temperate zones, causing winter to be colder than other seasons of the year.

The Polar Regions have the greatest latitude and are the farthest away from the equator.

As a consequence of receiving less sunshine, these areas are cold.

The snow and ice that blanket most of these areas reflect light away and contribute to the coldness in the polar regions.

The Climate Of The Desert

climate in desert

Most desert temperatures are found at 30° north and south latitudes. And it is here that the warm air from the equator arrives.

The air is dense and evaporates a lot of water from the ground. It causes the climate to be very dry, with lengthy periods of drought.

Desert climates are divided into two types: cold desert climates and hot desert climates.

The average temperature in a cold desert is less than 18°C.

They, too, have scorching summers but extremely chilly winters. The Gobi Desert in Mongolia is one example.

The average temperature in a hot desert is over 18°C. During the summer, they may reach temperatures of up to 50°C during noon. 

During the winter, though, temperatures may dip to about 0°C. The Sahara desert in North Africa is one example.

The Climate In The Mediterranean

climate in mediterranean

Mediterranean climates are found on the western edge of their respective continents.

They are also between the equator’s 30° and 45° north and south latitudes.

The surrounding sea influences its climate.

The latitudinal location also has a role. As a result, both the temperate and dry climates impact this one.

Final Verdict

How does latitude affect temperature? One of the most important elements influencing temperature is latitude.

As a result, it’s a topic worth debating. It will also assist you in understanding the vegetation and temperature in different locations.

Latitude can assist you in determining dates and timings. A solid grasp of latitude will also allow you to swiftly find locations, including features on the planet’s surface.

Thanks for reading!

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