Climates result from three factors :

- The cosmic factor (the source of solar energy : variation of solar activity) ;

- Global factors (distribution of this energy according to the sphericity of the Earth, its movements ; the conditon, at the same time with the dynamism atmosphere) ;

- Geographical factors (lands, the relationship between the Ocean and the Atmosphere, landforms, vegetation, volcanoes, human fittings) ;

As we have seen above : the climate system of Earth is composed of three groups of factors. The engine of this system is the Sun, which is our own source of energy. These factors cause a flow of air and oceans and control the process of evaporation and precipitation, which are part of the water cycle.

Many factors, natural or man-made, determine the Earth's climate. The climate depends on the redistribution of energy from the sun according atmospheric and oceanic currents. Climates depend largely on the latitude, longitude and altitude. They are also conditioned by the proximity of wide areas of water such as oceans or inland seas. Generally speaking, our climate is defined by the complex interaction of all factors : the sun, earth, sea, air, ice caps of Earth, wildlife and other life forms. Many climate phenomenons disrupt the climate. Example : El Niño or La Niña, the N.A.O. .. and the position of the Earth in relation to the Sun, which is very important.


The main factors of climate


Five Factors that Affect Climate


Climates on Earth are classified according to various parameters (humidity, temperature, sunshine, wind speed ...). These parameters vary with geography so the altitude, latitude, oceans around ... what influence climate.


The tropical climate is a climate found between the Cancer and Capricorn Tropic, therefore, between 25° South and North latitude. Throughout the year the average monthly temperature does not drop below 64,4°F (18°C).

There are generally two types of tropical climates :

    • The humid tropical climate which is characterized by two seasons :

      • the wet season with high temperatures and very heavy rain (monsoon) but with a volume which decreases as the distance from the equator ;
      • the dry season with lower temperatures and precipitation close to zero that lasts much longer than the distance from the equator (7-10 months).

    • The equatorial climate is characterized by a single season with frequent and important rainfall of which the maxima of intensity occur at the equinoxes (March and September). Temperatures are warm with an average of about 80,6°F (27°C). The atmospheric pressure is still low.

The dry climate is characterized by a high stability of the atmosphere what makes very low or absent rainfall. It is found between 10 and 35° North and South latitude.

There are two types of dry climates :

    • The arid climate characterize desert regions like the Sahara, the Australian desert, the Arabian Peninsula... The whole year temperatures are high the day but low enough at night, with occasional frosts, giving very large thermic gaps between day and night (between 68 and 86°F (20 and 30°C) see sometimes over 122°F (50 °C)). The annual rainfall is less than evaporation.

    • The semi-arid climate or steppe climate is characterized by a dry season the most of the time and a wet season. Precipitations are low with an annual average between 250 and 500 mm which are unevenly distributed throughout the year.


The temperate climate is located between 30° and 50° latitude in the northern and southern hemispheres and is characterized by two seasons, the cold season (winter) and the hot season (summer).

There are several types of climates :

    • The oceanic climate characteristic of the western coasts of continents (North West of the United States, the British Isles, on the Atlantic coast of France, around the North Sea and English Channel, on the Atlantic coast North and West Morocco). The climate is influenced by the proximity of the oceans which lies west of the continent what gives cool summers, mild and wet winters.

    • The humid climate subtroprical or Chinese is characterized by hot and humid summers and cool winters. This climate is found on the eastern side of continents between 30° and 50° latitude (Between East and South-Eastern United States, from South America, Asia and Australia).

    • The Mediterranean climate is characterized by hot and dry summers, mild winters, wet and heavy rains in spring and autumn. We find the climate around the Mediterranean Sea, but other regions on Earth have the same climatic conditions as the coastal areas of California, South Africa and southern regions of Australia.


The continental climate is located at mid-latitudes in areas far from shore.

There are two types of continental climate :

    • The humid continental climate is characterized by very hot summers and very cold winters. The seasonal variations in temperature are important, they are measuring range from 59 to 71,6°F (15 to 22°C) but can rise to 91,4°F (33°C). More the area is far from the oceans more that variation in temperature between summer and winter is important.

    • The subarctic climate is characterized by mild summers where temperatures can still exceed 86°F (30°C) but this season is short and very harsh winters where temperatures can drop to -40°F (-40°C). This climate is found between 50° to 70° north latitude much of Asia and northern North America.



The polar climate is located at high latitudes.

There are two types of polar climate :

    • ice cap polar climate is characterized by cold temperatures throughout the year that descend very low in winter and are still below -40°F (-40°C) during this season. Winds are strong and regular. In summer the average temperatures are negative. Rainfall is low and falling in snow storm. The ground never thaws and nothing grows there.

    • The tundra is a climate found at the border of the ice cap in the northern hemisphere. The winters are long and cold, with an average temperature of about -18,4°F (-28°C) and with an often violent wind (blizzard). Summers are short and cool.


The mountain climate depends on the mountains. Temperatures, air pressure and air density decrease with altitude (about 32,9°F to 33,8°F (0,5°C to 1°C) every 100m). Winters are cold and summers are cool and wet. Rainfall is most important according to altitude.

Different Environments : Tundra, Polar Regions, Grasslands, Wetlands, Deserts...

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