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Climate elements and factors

The phenomena that take place in the Earth’s atmosphere are of great importance to the life it harbors. There are many ways in which the weather can affect our day-to-day lives, which is why we have tried to understand all atmospheric phenomena since ancient times.

Would you like to know what the elements and factors of the climate are ? Through this interesting AgroCorrn article we tell you about various aspects of the elements and weather factors and other interesting questions. Don’t miss it and keep reading!

What is the climate and its types

We begin by explaining what the climate is and the types that we can find. To do this, we must first clarify the difference between weather (or meteorology) and climate. And it is that, while with meteorology we refer to the state of the atmosphere in a specific place and time, with climatology we refer to an average or characteristic state of the atmosphere in a certain area; for which a more or less extended period of time has been taken into account. Therefore, the climate is the characteristic or average atmospheric conditions of a given place. We recommend you read this other article about the Difference between climate and weather .

The elements and climatic factors that we will see in the following sections are what make us have different weather conditions and, therefore, a great variety of climates around the globe. The different climates that exist are:

  • Intertropical climates : within which we have equatorial climates, dry tropical climates, humid tropical climates, monsoon climates and dry climates. Here we tell you everything about what is the tropical climate and its characteristics .
  • Temperate climates : among which we can find the Mediterranean climate, the oceanic climate and the continental climate. In this other post you can learn more about what is the temperate Mediterranean climate .
  • Polar climates : The two types of polar climates are the tundra climate and the glacial climate.
  • Mountain climates .

Weather elements

The elements of the climate or climatic elements are the atmospheric phenomena or properties of the atmosphere that determine the climate of a certain place during a representative period of time (of at least 30 years). Next, we explain what the elements of the climate are:


It is the amount of water that falls to the ground in the form of rain, snow , hail , dew, etc. It occurs when the atmosphere can no longer hold more water, which condenses and then, if the necessary conditions are met, it precipitates. In this other post you can find the different types of rainfall .


With temperature we refer to the measure of heat energy of the air at a given time and place. It is usually measured in degrees Celsius (ºC) and also in degrees Fahrenheit (ºF).

Atmospheric pressure

It is the weight that the air in the atmosphere exerts on the earth’s surface. Therefore, the atmospheric pressure will be lower the higher the height. The unit of atmospheric pressure is Pascals (Pa).


Wind is the air of the atmosphere in motion. This movement is carried out from high pressures to low pressures. We measure the wind speed in meters per second (m / s) or in knots (Kt) and its direction in degrees from north.

We recommend this other article about the Types of winds in Spain .


It is the amount of water vapor that the air contains. We speak of absolute humidity to refer to the total amount that a certain volume of air contains and is measured in grams per cubic meter (g / m3). We can also express the amount of water vapor that the air contains with respect to the amount of water vapor that it could contain for a certain temperature; We then speak of relative humidity, which is expressed as a percentage (%).

In this link you can learn more about what is the importance of atmospheric humidity .


Sunstroke is the number of hours of sunshine that one has throughout a day. It is interesting to bear in mind that the Earth’s axis of rotation means that there are more or less hours of Sun depending on the latitude and the season of the year.


It is the part of the sky that is covered by clouds in a certain place. To do this, the celestial vault is mentally divided into 8 equal parts. The cloud cover will be, for example, 4 octas (4/8) if it has the same amount of clouds as clear skies or 8 octas (8/8) if it is completely covered with clouds. You can also measure the total number of days covered per year.

To learn more about cloudiness, here you can read about How Clouds Form and the Different Types of Clouds .


It is the physical phenomenon by which liquid water transforms into steam at room temperature. It depends on the other elements of the climate that there is more or less evaporation. If you are interested in discovering more about this element of the climate, here we talk about What is the evaporation of water and examples .

Climate factors

The factors of climate and climatic factors are the circumstances that form the different types of weather. They are as follows.


It is the distance in degrees (or angular distance) from any point on the earth’s surface to the Equator. The lower the latitude, the greater the insolation and the less the variation in the length of the days, so the temperatures will be warmer. At a lower latitude, the opposite occurs.

General Atmospheric Circulation

Another factor that influences the climate is the situation with respect to the General Atmospheric Circulation. By this we mean that there are different planetary wind regimes with different characteristics that come from one direction or another depending on the region in which we are:

  • Trade winds occur at low latitudes.
  • As we ascend in latitude we meet the winds from the west.
  • Lastly, we have the polar winds at high latitudes.


It is the vertical distance from sea level to a point on the earth’s surface. Altitude mainly affects atmospheric pressure and temperature, since as altitude increases the pressure is lower and the temperature also decreases.

Orography or relief

When an air mass encounters mountains, they constitute a real barrier to its movement. Therefore, the air mass is forced to rise, thereby cooling and saturating the water vapor it contained, causing precipitation on the windward slope (that is, the slope exposed to that air mass). In contrast, on the opposite slope or the lee side there is no precipitation and, in addition, the air heats up when descending again, so that the characteristics of the initial air mass change completely.

You may be interested in reading this other article on How relief influences the climate .


Continentality refers to the distance to the sea at which a certain point on the earth’s surface is located. The sea has a thermoregulatory effect, that is, it softens temperatures. Thus, the further we are from the sea, there will be a greater contrast or difference between the maximum and minimum temperatures.

Ocean currents

They are large masses of water present in the oceans that are responsible for distributing the heat of the intertropical zone to the rest of the planet, traveling long distances. Some are therefore warm, but there are also cold ocean currents.

Thanks to the well-known Gulf Stream, the climates of northern Europe are warmer than their latitude would correspond to them. We also have the famous and cold Humboldt Current that provides nutrients to Peru’s fisheries and is the cause of the coastal deserts that occur there.

Difference between elements and factors of climate

Given all this, could you tell what the difference is between the elements and the factors of climate ?

On the one hand, the fundamental difference is that climatic elements are the phenomena that constitute climates, that is, they are those characteristics that define them. On the other hand, climate factors are the set of causes or the agents that condition them, that is, climate factors respond to why they are so.

Meteorological instruments

Finally, we leave you a list of the different meteorological instruments that are responsible for measuring the different elements of the climate explained above:

  • Rain gauge and rain gauge to measure precipitation.
  • Thermometer and thermograph to measure temperature.
  • Barometer to measure atmospheric pressure.
  • Anemometer and wind vane to measure the speed and direction of the wind.
  • Hygrometer and psychrometer to measure humidity and relative humidity of the air.
  • Heliograph to measure insolation.
  • Nephobasimeter or ceilometer to measure cloudiness.
  • Evaporimeter and evaporimetric tank to measure evaporation.

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