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)


Climograph of Cherrapunji


Climograph of Chennai


Climograph of New Delhi.

Climograph of Bengaluru.

(You can also download a zip file containing these images in PDF, PNG, and JPG formats here.)

(You can download the original data from the India Meteorological Department that TIGS have converted to ready-to-use Excel formats … .xls and .xlsx)

Compare these climographs and answer these questions:

  1. In what ways are the climates of the places similar and in what ways are they different?
  2. What are the possible causes for similarities and differences?
  3. In which season is there maximum precipitation? Why?
  4. 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.
  5. 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?
  6. How many years’ worth of data are shown for the four places given here?
  7. 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)


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