Climatic controls

Climate, just like any other phenomenon, is affected or controlled by various factors. Let’s go on a journey and learn about all of them!

The six climatic controls

The climate of any place is controlled by six major climatic controls.

The six climatic controls include latitude, altitude, pressure and wind system, distance from the sea, ocean currents, and relief.

Let us now discuss about each of these features one by one.

Latitude is the measurement of a location north or south of the equator.

Due to the curvature of the earth, latitude affects the amount of sunlight that the earth receives.

Therefore, the air temperature decreases as we move farther away from the equator.

It is also the reason why areas near the equator, such as Indonesia, experience tropical climate.

Coming to altitude- it is the height of a place above sea level, in basic terms.

Therefore, it is not able to trap much of the heat it receives, and temperatures are less.

This is why places at higher altitudes, like hill stations (Shimla) have a colder climate.

During summers, people prefer to visit the hills, because they are cooler.

The effect of pressure and wind systems on a climate, is thus dependent on both latitude and altitude of a place.

The rainfall in a place is affected by the pressure and wind systems.

When it comes to distance from the sea, it is responsible for moderating the climate of an area.

Places lying closer to the coastline experience less variations in climate.

For instance, the temperature in Thiruvananthapuram hovers around 22 degrees Celsius, and does not vary much.

As we move away from the sea, its effect decreases, and we experience continentality.

Extreme weather conditions, I.e. very hot summers and very cold winters are called continentality.

Delhi is an example of an area that experiences continentality.

In addition to distance from the sea, ocean currents also influence the climate.

Climate controlled by wind and ocean currents

Warm or cool ocean currents make coastal areas warmer or cooler respectively.

Ocean currents are continuous and directed movement of sea water.

These currents are generated by forces on water bodies (oceans) such as wind, breaking waves, and forces caused due to earth’s rotation (Coriolis effect).

Finally, the relief features of an area control the climate to an extent.

For instance, the high mountains act as barriers for cold or hot winds.

The Himalayas are one of the largest wind barriers of the world.

High mountains may also cause precipitation if their windward side experiences rain-bearing winds. The leeward side of mountains remains quite dry.


Climate is controlled by a variety of factors.

These factors are latitude, altitude, distance from the sea, ocean currents, pressure and wind system, and relief.

Latitude and altitude together affect the pressure and wind system of an area.

Distance from the sea affects moderation of the climate. Places farther from the sea experience continentality.

Relief features like mountains also are responsible for climate of nearby areas.