Different places. Different locations, heights, proximity to sea, clothing, foods, agriculture, and culture. Understand the geography and you understand a lot of these things. Here are four examples.
But first, some terms.
Climate is the average (over a long period of time, usually decades) of atmospheric conditions (temperature and precipitation). It is this that helps you answer questions such as “Should I buy an umbrella?”, or a heavy coat, or an air-conditioner, and so on.
The climate of a place is affected by several things: the latitude of the place, its altitude above sea level, its proximity to (or distance from) a sea, the human activity in the area (lot of building, deforestation, agriculture, afforestation, eco-friendly practices, etc.).
The climate of a place can be graphed. This graph is called climograph. It is a slightly unusual graph: It combines a bar chart (precipitation), and two line graphs (mean maximum and mean minimum temperatures). It also has two Y-axes (singular form is axis pronounced AX-is; plural is axes pronounced ax-EEZ): one Y-axis shows the precipitation in millimetres (mm) and the second shows temperature in degrees Celsius (˚C).
The X-axis shows months (January to December).
Today, I have given you four climographs. (Click on each climograph to view a larger version of it)
(You can also download a zip file containing these images in PDF, PNG, and JPG formats here.)
Compare these climographs and answer these questions:
- In what ways are the climates of the places similar and in what ways are they different?
- What are the possible causes for similarities and differences?
- In which season is there maximum precipitation? Why?
- What is the form (or forms) of precipitation (rain, snow, etc.) in each place? Why? Consider the possibility of more than one kind of precipitation in a place.
- For which places might you consider buying an umbrella, a heavy coat, a light sweater, a fan, or an air-conditioner? During which months would you use them the most in each place?
- How many years’ worth of data are shown for the four places given here?
- Consider the question, “Should I wear a sweater today?” in each of these places. Is that a weather-related question or a climate-related question, and why?
A version of this article appeared in the Deccan Herald Student Edition on 24 March 2016.
Featured image: The Institute of Geographical Studies, © 2016 (based on data from India Meteorological Department)