Climatic Controls




Climatic Controls

  • There are six major controls of the climate of any place. They are: latitude, altitude, pressure and wind system, distance from
    the sea (continentality), ocean currents and relief features.
  • Latitude: The amount of solar energy received varies according to latitude due to the curvature of the earth. As a result, from the equator to the poles, air temperature generally decreases.
  • Altitude: As one goes up from the earth's surface to higher altitudes, the atmosphere becomes less dense and the temperature drops. As a result, the hills are cooler in the summer.
  • Pressure and wind: The pressure and wind systems of any location are determined by its latitude and altitude. As a result, it affects the temperature and rainfall pattern.
  • Distance from the sea: The sea put forth a moderating effect on climate: As the distance from the sea increases, its moderating influence decreases and the people experience extreme weather conditions. This condition is known as continentality (i.e. very hot during summers and very cold during winters).
  • Ocean Current: The climate of coastal areas is affected by ocean currents as well as onshore winds. For example, any coastal area with warm or cold currents flowing past it will be warmed or cooled if the winds are onshore.
  • Relief: Finally, relief plays a significant role in determining a the climate of any place. High mountains act as barriers to cold or hot winds; they may also cause precipitation if they are high enough and in the path of rain-bearing winds. The leeward side of mountains remains relatively dry.


Why most of the world’s deserts are located in the western margins of continents in the subtropics?

Most of the worlds deserts are located in the western margins of continents in the subtropics because the prevailing winds in the tropics are tropical easterly winds. The tropical easterly winds become dry by the time they reach the western margins of the continents and so they bring no rainfall. Thus, the region becomes devoid of moisture which causes dry conditions leading to formation of deserts.

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