We explain what the altitude is, how it is measured and how it influences the weather. In addition, what is the difference between latitude and altitude.
What is the altitude?
In geography, the measurement of the vertical distance between any given point on Earth in relation to sea level is called altitude. This measurement is expressed by a figure and the unit of distance, which can be meters above sea level (masl) or feet above sea level, in countries that do not use the system m Electric.
The measurement of altitude is important for disciplines such as meteorology, geography, aeronautics and even architecture, since at higher altitude the conditions of atmospheric pressure and of temperature vary . So does the concentration of oxygen in the air, which is why it is common to suffer from dizziness or mal of páramo when ascending suddenly to very high regions.
Altitude, along with latitude and longitude, are some of the most common measurements on maps and / or GPS-style global positioning systems.
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How is altitude measured?
The altitude, as we said, is measured in meters above sea level (masl) or in other similar measures. An altimeter is used for its calculation . It is common to find altimeters in aeronautical, sports vehicles, and they can even be incorporated into cell phones and other electronic devices.
Altitude above sea level
The altitude is measured in comparison with the sea level, since it is always straight and what is below is submerged. However, there is no uniform sea height across the planet, and each country uses a certain sea level as a convention to measure its altitudes. But this difference in levels is so tiny that it is almost insignificant.
The problem of sea level is that over time it has been changing. As global warming melts the poles and adds more water, the sea level increases in millimeters. On the other hand, the sea is affected by the tides, as well as by tectonic movements that generate costs of emersion (out of the water) and submergence (submerged in it).
Altitude and latitude
These two concepts are often named, but they do not mean the same. While the altitude has to do with the height above sea level of a place, its latitude refers to the geographical location in the terrestrial globe, taking as reference the imaginary line of the equator, which divides the globe into two hemispheres.
Thus, there are two different latitudes: the north (northern hemisphere) and the south (southern hemisphere), measured in degrees (°), the equator being zero latitude (0 °) and the north and south poles + 90 ° and -90 ° respectively.
Latitude also allows the world to be divided into climatic regions: the tropics, temperate regions and circumpolar zones, since as we move towards the poles, sunlight impacts less directly and the climate is colder.
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How does altitude influence the weather?
The altitude, as we said before, directly influences the temperature and pressure, and therefore also the climate. Thus, it is possible to establish a series of thermal floors as we ascend at the altitude of some specific relief: "floors" because, like the floors of an elevator, they follow each other as they ascend.
In the intertropical regions of the globe, for example, for every 1.8 meters of height the temperature will fall by 1 ° C with respect to the level of the sea.
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