What factors affect climate?
There are 5 factors which affect climate. These are summarised below.
Temperature range increases with distance from the equator. Also, temperatures decrease as you move away from the equator. This is because the suns rays are dispersed over a larger area of land as you move away from the equator. This is due to the curved surface of the Earth.
The difference in the concentration of solar energy at the equator and the poles
In addition, polar regions are colder because the suns rays have further to travel compared to places on the equator.
Temperatures decrease with height. The air is less dense and cannot hold heat as easily. The temperature usually decreases by 1°C for every 100 metres in altitude.
If winds have been blown from a hot area they will raise temperatures. If winds have been blown from cold areas they will lower temperatures. In the UK, winds originating from the south tend to be warm whereas those from the north bring cold air. Air masses have a significant influence on the climate of the UK.
Air masses affecting the UK – source: Met Office
Distance from the sea (continentality)
Land heats and cools faster than the sea. Therefore coastal areas have a lower temperature range than those areas inland. On the coast winters are mild and summers are cool. In inland areas, temperatures are high in the summer and cold in the winter. Although London and Moscow are on similar lines of latitude London experiences much milder winters and cooler summers than Moscow as it is located closer to the sea.
Slopes facing the sun are warmer than those that are not. Therefore, south-facing slopes in the northern hemisphere are usually warm. However, slopes facing north in the southern hemisphere are warmest.