Is a Location's Climate Determined by Its Latitude?

Two geographical locations might share the same latitude but have very different climates. A common example involves Cannes, France, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the United States. Both cities have the same latitude but have very different climates. Citizens of Cannes enjoy a warm Mediterranean climate, and people in Milwaukee experience severe cold during the winter months.

More facts about latitude and climate:

  • Proximity to bodies of water can make a significant difference in climate, even if two regions have the same latitude. This is because of the high heat capacity associated with water, allowing the substance to hold onto more warmth well into the winter months.

  • Distance from the equator — regardless of whether it is in the northern or southern hemisphere — also affects the type of climate experienced in a given location. Cities nearer to the equator experience more sunlight and remain warmer than cities that are farther away from the equator.

  • Los Angeles, California in the U.S.; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Sydney, Australia; and Cape Town, South Africa, are all about the same distance from the equator and have reputations for mild weather conditions year-round.

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Discussion Comments


Which cities have the same latitude as Milwaukee?

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