Latitude and longitude are used to find the precise location of a point on Earth’s surface. Both latitude and longitude are measured in degrees which are divided into minutes which are further divided into seconds.
- The latitude of a point on Earth’s surface is the angle the normal from that point makes with the equatorial plane. Latitude specifies the north-south position of a point.
- The lines of latitude are known as parallels and they are equidistant from each other (69 miles or 111 km apart).
- Range: 0-90 degrees North or 0-90 degrees south (Alternatively, -90 to +90 degrees where ‘-‘ denotes south).
- Latitude is denoted by the symbol Φ (phi).
- Some standard latitudes: Equator – 0 degrees, Tropic of cancer – 23.5 degrees N, Tropic of Capricorn – 23.5 degrees S, Arctic circle – 66.5 degrees N, Antarctic circle – 66.5 degrees S, North pole – 90 degrees N, South pole – 90 degrees S.
- Longitude specifies the east-west position of a point.
- The lines of longitude are known as meridians and they are not equidistant. They are equidistant only at the equator (69 miles or 111 km).
- Range: 0-180 degrees E or 0-180 degrees W (Alternatively, -180 to +180 degrees where ‘-‘ denotes West).
- Longitude is denoted by the symbol λ (lambda).
- The prime meridian is the standard for measuring longitude. Its longitude is 0 degrees and it divides the earth into eastern and western hemispheres.
Temperature variation with latitude
Generally with the increase in latitude value north or south of the equator, the temperature decreases. This is because as we move towards the poles, the amount of sunlight received decreases. However, there are some other factors that may affect temperature such as altitude, precipitation, etc.
Based on some standard latitudes, the earth is divided into different regions. The region between the tropic of cancer and the tropic of Capricorn is known as the tropical region. The tropical region is generally hot and humid.
The region between the tropic of cancer and the Arctic circle and the region between the tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic circle is known as the temperate region. The temperate region has a moderate climate.
The region above the Arctic circle and the region below the Antarctic circle is known as the polar region. The polar region remains cold throughout the year.