What are the six factors that affect climate?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

It's important to distinguish between temperature and climate (there seems to be some confusion in the wording of the question). There are six kinds of climate but the main factors that affect (or influence) climate are just two: temperature and precipitation.

Temperature, on the other hand, is affected by more things than those that affect climate. The six factors that affect (influence) the temperature are: (1) elevation (altitude), (2) latitude, (3) proximity of large bodies of water, (4) ocean currents, (5) proximity of mountain ranges (topography), (6) prevailing and seasonal winds.

There are three temperature zones, spanning north and south from the equator, across which temperatures are remarkably similar. The three zones are the polar zones, north and south; the moderate temperate zones of North America, Northern Asia and Europe to the north and Southern South America, Southern Africa and Australia to the south; and the equatorial tropical zones going through the heart of South America, Africa and the tropical islands.

Considering climate again, the key determinants of the climate of a region are temperature and precipitation (thus it is important to understand the six factors affecting temperature). Higher elevations (altitudes) are associated with lower temperatures and are relatively colder. With an increase in latitude (north to south), the temperature decreases. The degree of precipitation is associated with specific latitudes (due to pressure in the region). For example, high pressure belts at 30 degrees N and S result in very dry regions.

Ocean currents, depending on the direction, can alter temperatures. For example, ocean currents cause lower temperatures on the west coast of U.S. and higher temperatures on the east coast.

Wind direction cause windward and leeward sides to receive different amounts of precipitation. The windward side receives more precipitation and are cooler, as compared to the leeward side. Consider that areas closer to mountain ranges are affected by this.

Hope this helps. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial