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Latitude is the measure of how far north or south a location is from the equator. Latitude is measure in degrees. Each half of the earth or hemisphere is 180 degrees. Dividing that number in half, locations are between 0 and 90 degrees north or south of the equator. The equator is at 0 degrees latitude and is stretches the diameter of the earth. Latitude lines are imaginary lines that are marked every twenty degrees north and south of the equator.

The latitude of an area is one factor in the kind of climate the area might have. If an area is located close to the equator, the climate will be very hot, or tropical.

As one gets above the Tropic of Cancer or Capricorn, the climate becomes milder, with hot summers and cold winters This is defined as temperate climate.

At the points furthest away from the equator, the climate is cold and is called polar.


Longitude is a measure of how far east or west a place is from the Prime Meridian. The Prime Meridian is in Greenwich England and is an arbitrary place from which longitude is measured. The longitude lines or meridians as they are sometimes called are imaginary lines every 20 degrees east or west of the Prime Meridian.

While the latitude of a particular location affects its climate, the longitude can determine the time zone a particular location is in.


When latitude and longitude lines are overlaid on each other, they form a grid. If one knows the latitude and longitude of a place, it is possible to locate that place on a globe or map.

World map with latitude and longitude lines

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