Factors influencing the climate

The factors influencing the climate are those that explain to us the variation of the climatic elements. The main climatic factors are: latitude, altitude, air masses, continentality and marine life, marine currents, relief and vegetation.

Latitude

The greater the latitude (distancing from the Equator), the lower the temperature and the higher the atmospheric pressure.

Since in Ecuador the solar rays are perpendicular to the surface, the heating of the air is greater and, being warmer, the atmospheric pressure is lower. Therefore, the latitudinal variation establishes a division of the globe into five climatic zones : tropical zone, temperate of the north, temperate of the south, Arctic glacial and glacial Antarctica.

Altitude

It interferes with climatic conditions as it varies. When we have an increase in altitude, the temperature falls at a rate of 0.5 ° to 1 ° every 100 meters, approximately.

The atmospheric pressure also decreases with the increase of the altitude, because a rarefaction of the air occurs, which, although being cooler, exerts little pressure on the surface.

Air masses

They are large atmospheric portions that have their own characteristics of temperature and humidity.

The formation of air masses is linked to the influence it receives from the areas where they originate. For example, if a large portion of the atmosphere has its origin in the ocean, it will be humid, and if it is still a tropical region, it will be hot. We can have hot or cold, moist or dry pasta.

Ocean currents

They are portions of the oceans that have their own velocity, salinity, temperature and density. They are of great importance, as they are responsible for the thermal equilibrium (temperature distribution) on Earth.

They can be hot or cold depending on the geographical region in which they originate. The hot currents flow from the tropical regions to the high latitudes, softening the climate in these regions, and the cold currents originate in the polar areas and migrate to the hot zones, bringing down temperature.

They also interfere with the humidity of the air, because when the masses of hot air pass over a cold stream, they cool, condensation and rains occur. Observe the following figure.

Maritimity and continentality

Liquid surfaces also help explain the differences in temperatures on the globe.

When heated, they store heat for longer than continental masses, so the coastal regions usually have lower thermal amplitudes. To this phenomenon we give the name of maritimeity. On the contrary, when we analyze the thermal variations of an interior region, we perceive that the thermal amplitude is greater.

Thermal amplitude is the thermal variation measured over a period of time between the lowest and the highest temperatures recorded in a region.

In the northern hemisphere, where there is a predominance of continental masses (land hemisphere) we notice the existence of more rigorous winters. In the southern hemisphere, where the liquid portions predominate, the winters are milder.

Relief

The configuration and layout of the relief (orographic effect) can interfere with the climate, as it facilitates or hinders the circulation of atmospheric air. In some regions of the planet, we find real obstacles to the penetration of air masses.

For example, in the US, the west coast is occupied by the tertiary orogenic chains of the rocky mountains, which hinder the penetration of moisture from the Pacific, which makes the western US climate arid and semi-arid.

Another example of relief interference occurs in South America. The corridor formed by the plains and lowlands between the Andes and the plateaus of the East, such as the Pantanal and the Amazon, facilitates the passage of polar air during winter in the hemisphere South, bringing, as a consequence, the phenomenon of cold in the western Amazon.

Vegetation

An example of how the vegetation influences the climate are tropical forests, such as the Amazon rainforest , because of the humidity they provide a higher index of rainfall in these regions causing temperatures to fall.

Urbanization

The urbanization brought with it many problems for the climate. The air pollution affects all ecosystems causing changes in its climate, soil, vegetation and other important factors for life.

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