Explain the various factors controlling the temperature distribution on our planet.

Explain the various factors controlling the temperature distribution on our planet.
Approach:
  • Introduce with importance of temperature.(be brief)
  • Discuss various factor influencing the distribution of temperature on Earth.
  • Conclude appropriately.
Model Answer :
Temperature is an important climatic element having far-reaching global influences. The distribution of temperature across the globe is uneven as it is influenced by the interaction of incoming solar radiation (insolation) with various factors of the earth’s surface and the atmosphere.
The factors influencing the temperature on earth are as follows:
  1. Latitude: Due to earth’s inclination, the temperature diminishes form the equatorial region towards the polar regions. The insolation heats up a smaller area in equatorial region as the solar rays travel a shorter distance, whereas away from the equatorial region the solar rays travel a longer distance and hence the temperature is lower.
  2. Altitude: The atmosphere is mainly heated by the energy radiated by the earth’s surface (terrestrial radiation) that’s been heated by insolation, and thus the places nearer to the earth surface are warmer than places away form the surface. Hence, as the hight increases from the earth surface, the temperature decreases.
  3. Continentality: The land heats up faster and cools down faster compared with the water bodies, hence the interiors of the continents are warmer in the summers and colder in the winter compared with the land on the margins along with oceans.
  4. Ocean Currents and Winds: The ocean currents and winds are two types: cold and warm. Both the types can affect the temperature of an area by transporting their heat or coldness to a region. Cold Ocean Current like Labrador Current gives a chilling effect in the north-east Canada. Similarly Chinook, a warm local wind brings relief to people from cold in the Western US.
  5. Natural Vegetation: The thickness of natural vegetation can also impact the temperature by acting as a shield against insolation. The areas devoid of vegetation usually have a higher temperature.
  6. Soil: The type and colour of soil also impact temperature as light coloured soil reflects a major portion of insolation whereas dark soil absorbs more insolation.
Some local aspects also influence the temperature but by and large the above-mentioned factors control the distribution of temperature on the earth. It is important to study the temperature distribution as temperature influences major climatic aspects like water vapour in the air, evaporation rate, cloud formation, precipitation etc.

Subjects : Geography

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