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Climate refers to the conditions in the atmosphere in a place over a long period of time.
The major factor in determining the climate of an area is its latitude. Other factors include how close a place is to land and/or water masses, its altitude (how high it is above sea level), the topography of the land, ocean currents, wind and storm patterns.
Latitude is the distance north and south of the equator. Since the equator gets the most direct rays of the sun, the climates there are warm. The places further from the equator get less direct rays of the sun and thus their climate is cooler.
The areas above the Arctic Circle and below the Antarctic Circle have polar climates. This means that the climate is cold year round. The areas between the Arctic Circle and the Tropic of Cancer and the Antarctic Circle and the Tropic of Capricorn have temperate climates marked by warm summers and cold winters. The areas around the equator have warm climates the year round.
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