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Physical Factors Affecting Climate


High Places
The temperature of the air around you depends partly on the atmospheric pressure. If atmospheric pressure is low, there are fewer particles of air close to the Earth's surface to trap heat, so the air stays cold.
Atmospheric pressure is low in high, mountainous areas, where gravity is weaker. This is why mountainous areas are cold and snowy - even those close the equator.

Land and Sea Temperatures
Places close to the sea have a milder climate than places a long way inland. Oceans heat up more slowly than land because their shiny surface reflects the Sun's rays but they stay warm longer. Places near the coast are cooled by the sea in summer and warmed by the sea in winter. The central parts of continents have much hotter summers and colder winters.

Winds and Ocean Currents
Warm and cold winds blowing around the world also influence climate. The temperature of the wind depends on where it has blown from. Winds blowing from the Tropics to higher latitudes are warm because they drag currents of warm tropical water with them. The ocean's heat makes the wind warm too. Winds blowing from the Poles are very cold because they are chilled by the cold ocean currents beneath them. This map shows the main ocean currents:

Cloud Cover
Clouds make places cooler during the day because they block some of the Sun's rays. At night they trap in heat and keep the air warm. Blocking out or trapping in heat is called insulation. Some areas, such as equatorial regions, are always cloudy. Days would be much hotter and nights much colder than if the sky was clear.