Weather And Climate – Importance Of Altitude

Climate and weather both are affected by a lot of factors. Altitude or elevation is one factor that affects climate. As the altitude increases the climatic conditions normally become colder. The changes are reflected in the life zone regions on the high mountains. Plants that grown around the mountain base are very much similar to those that grows at the countryside. However, above the timberline it is difficult for trees to grow. The highest elevations are crowned with snow.

Angles And Latitude Of Rays Of The Sun

As the earth keeps circling around the sun the axis of the earth also tilts causing an angle change of the rays of the sun that come in contact with the earth. Due to this at various altitudes there is a change in the hours of daylight received. The biggest variations are seen in the polar region. In summer there is daylight up to twenty four hours and in winter there is no sunlight during the day for very long periods.

Temperature gets affected by altitude. It is due to the latitude that the earth’s atmosphere does not get heated equally. From the equator when the distance of a particular location is measured, it is termed as latitude. If the location is further away from the equator, it receives less sunlight. If the location is closer to the equator then it receives more sunlight.

Less sunlight is received by locations at a higher altitude. This is mainly due to the earth’s shape. Since the earth has a round shape, direct sunlight is received only by the front portion. This portion experiences day while the portion on the opposite side experiences darkness or night.

To measure how cold or hot the air is, a measure called temperature is used. Temperature is measured in Fahrenheit or Celsius. To determine weather or the climatic conditions, a very important factor is temperature. Other elements of weather are also influenced by temperature. Temperature gets affected by factors like currents of the ocean, sunshine, aspect, altitude, nearness to the sea, sunshine and latitude.

The distance of a particular location from the equator is termed as latitude. Temperature is hottest near the equator. The sun shines at the equator directly and the locations near the equator get the maximum hours of sunlight. Locations away from the equator do not receive as much sunlight. As you move towards the poles from the equator, less sun is received all through the year. Closer to the poles, the temperatures become lower and the regions become colder.

Altitude And Temperature

What is altitude? The height above the level of the sea is termed as altitude. The temperature becomes lower as the altitude increases. Density of air is less at higher altitudes as compared to what it is at lower altitudes. Air temperature depends a lot on the air density. There is a temperature drop to the extent of 6.5 degrees C as you go higher up by every one thousand meters, as per the general rule.

Position of a place, town, city, the distance from substantial water bodies and mountains, distance at which they are located from the mountains etc help in determining the exiting patterns of wind and the kind of air masses that affect it. The regions at the coast enjoy cool breezes during the hot seasons since the cool air from the oceans move to the shore. Thunderstorms are experienced in regions where air masses of three types converge more often, like dry and cold from the northern region, the dry and warm air from the south west and moist and warm weather from the Mexico Gulf for example. A tornado is generated by the masses of air when they collide with each other. Many of the places in United States like Tornado Valley experience thunderstorms in summer and spring.

The earth’s surface influences climate greatly. Occurrence of atmospheric heating is determined by the sunlight amount reflected or absorbed by the surface of the earth. Cultivated or the darker regions are able to absorb a good amount of sunlight. Good reflectors of sunlight are regions covered by ice or snow. Absorption of heat is less by the oceans as compared to land. The ocean waters release heat into the atmosphere very slowly and this heat is distributed over the earth.

Weather is the condition of atmosphere in a particular area and is described by cloudiness, pressure of the atmosphere, precipitation, speed of wind, humidity levels, sunshine etc. kind of meteorological phenomena. In the case of climate, the seasonal, long term or cyclic patterns of winds, temperature and precipitation etc is taken into consideration. Terms like altitude, area and the latitude are used for defining climates of regions. Microclimate variations are available in thousands.

Surfaces of the earth are shaped due to effects of weather. When there is prolonged smog, heat, drought, rain, cold and drought, there are extreme conditions of weather. In the intense but shorter events there is floods, hurricanes, freezing rain, blizzards in winter etc experienced which have a dramatic effect on the geologic and social landscape.

Latitudinal Position On The Globe

In determining air masses types and origins the two most crucial things are humidity and temperature. The latitudinal position on the globe determines the thermal properties of mass of air. Dry and cold air is experience in polar region while the air is humid and hot in the tropical areas. When the air masses converge, different kinds of weather activities occur globally.

Role Of Weather Stations

At regular intervals, the weather stations in a wide network take readings of humidity and temperature. A dry and wet bulb thermometer is the standard equipment used to take readings for establishing dew point. Minimum and maximum temperatures are measured by a pair of special thermometers during nighttime and day time. To measure humidity in air the hygrometer is used. Weather information is transmitted by electronic sensors at weather stations which are fully automated. Warnings are provided about dangerous climatic conditions and weather forecasts are made to the public.

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