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The Influence Of Elevation On The Equatorial Climate

The Equatorial climate is characterized by uniformly high temperatures throughout the year, heavy rainfall and high relative humidity. The height of the stations located in this climate zones, alters the climate dramatically and consequently a cool and pleasant weather is observed at these hill stations throughout the year. We will quote a few examples in the following paragraphs to explain our point of view.

Kuala Lumpur (KL) in Malaysia has a hot and humid climate throughout the year. In fact it has got the typical climate of the three 80s. It means 80 F average temperature throughout the year, 80 percent relative humidity and 80 inch total annual rainfall. Now the high temperature combined with high relative humidity at KL keeps the heat index unbearable. To escape this heat people go to the nearby Genting highlands situated about 6000 ft. above seas level and only an hour’s drive from KL.

We know that temperature decreases with height at an approximate rate of 3 F for every 1000 feet. So that the temperature at Genting remains about 20 F lower than that of KL i.e., 60 F throughout the year, making the weather there very pleasant.

Same is the case of Quito in Ecuador; a city that lies almost directly on the equator. While the temperatures on the forested equatorial plains below Quito remain 80-85 F throughout the year and the high relative humidity makes things worse. Quito, however, enjoys an average temperature of 55 F in every month of the year; given its height of about 10000 feet above sea level. No doubt, then, that Quito is called the land of Perpetual spring by the meteorologists throughout the world.

The case of Oooty in the Southern Nilgiri Hills of India and the station of Nuwera Eiliya in Srilanka is similar. As both of these stations are located well above 7000 feet, the average temperature remains 60 -65 F throughout the year, making these stations the best places to live in their respective countries. By the way both these locations were favorite of the British during the Colonial era.

It follows, then, from above that the height of the highlands situated in the equatorial belt, alters the climate so dramatically that it changes it from hot and humid to a cool and pleasant climate. Indeed few places in the world can boost of a better climate than these hill stations.