What causes different climates in different parts of the world?

1 Answer
Dec 4, 2015

Solar insolation


Don't get me wrong, the Earths climate is very complicated and we are still trying to figure it out. But most climate scientists would agree that the amount of incoming solar insolation (radiation) is what drives climate - heat.

Have a think about it, in southern hemisphere winter, the bottom part of the Earth is further away from the sun so it gets colder. The opposite is true for summer. It is as if in winter you move further away from the heater and in summer you move closer to the heater. The Earths distance from sun plays a very big role in climatic conditions. Another factor is the angle at which the radiation hits the Earth, you get more dispersion at higher latitudes and less at lower latitudes. So you can imagine the higher latitudes will have their incoming radiation more spread out than the equator.

Again is this a very basic first-order answer and it is much more complicated but generally the amount of heat coming from the sun affects climate the most.

I wouldn't even attempt to explain all the variables at play here but if you do a quick google search you will find a sea of information on our climate and all the individual climate drivers. Try searching: solar forcing and climate, major climate drivers and check out these guys: The climate dogs

These cute dogs help explain some of the climate drivers in the southern hemisphere.