Latitude - Climate

By: Olivia Bonin, Daniel Benjamin

How Latitudes Affect Climate

The latitude of a location can affect its climate. The position of the place on the globe changes the intensity of sunlight. The intensity of sunlight will change the temperature which also affects weather patterns. Precipitation and evaporation rates also depend on the temperature. Sunlight and heat also helps to create wind.

What is latitude?


Latitude is the measure of distance you are located from the equator. They are shown as horizontal lines on most maps. Since the sun is generally directly above the equator, places farther from the equator will receive less direct sunlight. There are two other important latitudes: the tropic of cancer (in the northern hemisphere at 23.5 degrees N) and the tropic of Capricorn (in the southern hemisphere at 23.5 degrees S) The sun directly lines up at these points during the solstices and equinoxes.

How the seasons are affected by latitude:

The earth revolves around the sun in an elliptical orbit and each revolution takes one year. The tilt of the earth causes seasons and opposite seasons for the northern and southern hemispheres. Latitudes above the equator will receive direct sunlight (summer) while the southern hemisphere does not receive direct sunlight (winter). Latitudes farther north and farther south will have more extreme winters because they never get direct sunlight at all. Latitudes near the equator do not experience much difference between seasons because they get mostly direct sunlight all year. Direct sunlight speeds up evaporation and causes humidity. The temperatures are also changed by sunlight.