ArticlePDF Available

Abstract

This letter presents data concerning variation in average annual temperatures by altitude and latitude, along with some suggested class exercises.
Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at
https://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?journalCode=rjog20
Variation in Temperature With Altitude and
Latitude
Keith Montgomery
To cite this article: Keith Montgomery (2006) Variation in Temperature With Altitude and Latitude,
Journal of Geography, 105:3, 133-135, DOI: 10.1080/00221340608978675
Variation in Temperature With Altitude and Latitude
Keith Montgomery
ABSTRACT
This letter presents data concerning
variation in average annual temperatures
by
altitude and latitude, along with some
suggested class exercises.
Key
Words:
Temperatures, climate
A
REPLY
TO:
Fuhrer, Chuck, and Harris, Dan,
2004.
LAMPPOST:
A
Mnemonic
device for teaching climate variables. journal of Geography
103:86-90.
Fahrer and Harris (p.87) state, "the average environmental lapse rate on
a land surface is considered to be 3.3"F per
1,000
feet." However, when
I
recently searched ten current textbooks
I
could come up with no definite figure.
Danielson, Levin and Abrams (2003, p. 389) do cite a "rule of thumb" that a
100-meter increase in elevation is roughly equivalent to a one-degree increase
in latitude but, again, no source is quoted.
Frustrated by the lack of clear data with which to provide classes,
I
completed
a simple survey of average annual temperatures along several transects using
data from www.worldclimate.com.
Figure
1
shows the variation in average annual temperature with altitude on
four continents in three latitude zones. The data appear to be comparable across
all three zones. Hence, all the data are grouped together in Figure 2. From this
it appears that average annual temperature on land decreases by 2.33"F per
lOOOft (-4.2"C/ 1000m).As Fahrer and Harris point out, this value should not
be confused with the normal environmental lapse rate in the free atmosphere
(-6.5"C/ 1000m, -3.5"F per 1OOOft). This figure is significantly less than that cited
by Fahrer and Harris. (The rate is greater in winter than summer, as might be
expected.)
I
also completed a transect running from Brownsville (TX) to Thompson
(MAN) (Fig. 3). This data yields a rate of decrease in temperature of 0.9"C per
Keith Montgomery (Ph.D. University
of Waterloo Ontario,
1996)
is
an associ-
ate professor of Geography-Geology at UW
Marathon County. Originally from Scotland
(University of Glasgow), he currently
researches the history
of
geology and teaches
a
number of introductory earth science courses
at this UW liberal-arts transfer college.
30
25
s
-
g
20
P
$
15
2
z
2
10
5
0
I
KENYA:
I
I I
I I
I
0
500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500
4000
ALTITUDE ASL
(m)
I
COLORADO
A
NE INDIA +MEXICO
rn
KENYA
0
BOLIVIA
I
Figure
1.
Temperature and altitude by region.
Journal of Geography
105: 133-135
02006
National Council
for
Geographic Education
133
Keith
Montgomep
10
-1 5
0
500 1000 1500 2000 2500
3000
3500 40(
FiguB
2.
TemCeatuD and altitude, comfilation
of
FiguB
1.
25
W
0
a
a
go
-5 25
30
35 40 45
50
55
60
Figui2
3.
AveBge annual tem0eBtuD and latitude, inteCioOof
NoDh
AmeClca.
134
Variation in Temperature With Altitude and Latitude
30
25
o^
W
;
20
1
l5
a
Y
10
J
3
25
z
a
a
a
a
go
g
-5
Y
-1
0
25
30
35 40 45 50 55
60
LATITUDE (ON)
I
+
EAST
COAST
A
WEST COAST
rn
INTERIOR
I
~~
Figure 4. Average annual temperature and latitude, interior, west coast, east coast of North America.
degree of latitude (-1.6”F/degree latitude). The rate in win-
ter is over twice the summer rate, as might be expected,
and it will vary depending on the coast.
Combining both the average “altitude” and the average
“latitude” results, we get a new rule of thumb for mid
latitudes: roughly, a 200-meter increase in elevation is
equivalent to a one-degree increase in latitude (i.e. half of
the previous rule).
EXERCISES
Break the class into three groups. Have each group
go
to
www.worldclimate.com and obtain data on average annu-
al temperatures for one of
the
following three transects:
1.
West coast (La Paz, BCS, MX; San Diego, CA;
San Francisco, CA; Newport,
OR;
Quatsino, BC;
Ketchikan, AK)
2.
Interior (Brownsville, TX; Jackson, MS; St.
Louis, MO; Minneapolis, MN; Winnipeg, MAN;
Thompson, MAN)
3. East coast (Miami, FL; Savannah, GA; Atlantic
City, NJ; Halifax, NS; Fogo, NF; Nain, NF)
Have each group plot its results versus latitude (latitude is
provided at www.worldclimate.com) (Fig. 4). Groups now
compare their results and discuss reasons for the similari-
ties or differences.
Other permutations that can be completed easily
include:
1.
Seasonal differences on any given transect (i.e.
2. Extend either survey into tropical and polar
3.
Compare east coast versus west coast locations in
the tropics (influence of cold ocean currents).
If one wished, one could have students obtain the data
prior to class and use it as a means of introducing and
later summarizing the subject matter. Exercises such as
these could be used in conjunction with the “LAMPPOST”
system of explanation.
plot January and July temperatures).
latitudes.
REFERENCES
Danielson, Eric W., Levin, James, and Abrams, Elliot,
2003.
Meteorology,
2nd ed. Boston, McGraw Hill.
Fahrer, Chuck, and Harris, Dan, 2004. LAMPPOST A
Mnemonic device for teaching climate variables.
journal
of
Geography
103:86-90.
135
... For AT, we found that all the station-pairs were strongly related (i.e., r � 0.99 Considering the PS values, we found that at least five stations (i.e., C1, C2, C4, C5, and L1) would be required for representing this network. The other two stations (i.e., C3 and L2) were similar to C1 station, which would be likely due to their spatial closeness (see Fig 1) and similar altitude (303 to 331 m msl) [50]. For RH, we observed that all the station-pairs were highly related with a r � 0.83 and AAE values within the acceptable range of SOP (i.e., less than 10% [41]; see Table 3). ...
... Considering the PS values, all stations were required in the network for AT measurements. Such low similarity in the network would be due to the largely spaced distribution of the stations (see Fig 1), and significant altitude differences among these stations (i.e., 256 to 626 m msl) [50]. ...
... Considering the PS values, all six stations were required in the network. Here, such a dissimilarity was observed probably due to the widely spaced distribution of the stations (see Fig 1), and significant altitude differences [50] that ranged from 299 m to 520 m msl. ...
Article
Full-text available
Our objective was to quantify the similarity in the meteorological measurements of 17 stations under three weather networks in the Alberta oil sands region. The networks were for climate monitoring under the water quantity program (WQP) and air program, including Meteorological Towers (MT) and Edge Sites (ES). The meteorological parameters were air temperature (AT), relative humidity (RH), solar radiation (SR), barometric pressure (BP), precipitation (PR), and snow depth (SD). Among the various measures implemented for finding correlations in this study, we found that the use of Pearson’s coefficient (r) and absolute average error (AAE) would be sufficient. Also, we applied the percent similarity method upon considering at least 75% of the value in finding the similarity between station pairs. Our results showed that we could optimize the networks by selecting the least number of stations (for each network) to describe the measure-variability in meteorological parameters. We identified that five stations are sufficient for the measurement of AT, one for RH, five for SR, three for BP, seven for PR, and two for SD in the WQP network. For the MT network, six for AT, two for RH, six for SR, and four for PR, and the ES network requires six for AT, three for RH, six for SR, and two for BP. This study could potentially be critical to rationalize/optimize weather networks in the study area.
... The effects of elevation on the rate of SOC and N change are shown in Figure 5. Because 35°N latitude is the golden section line for spherical celestial bodies (Guo et al., 1992), and every 200 m of elevation is equivalent to an increase of one degree in latitude (Montgomery, 2006), the location of site JFS5 is equivalent to the position of 35°N. In addition, JFS5 had the highest SOC storage. ...
... On the one hand, due to high temperature and limited soil moisture at low elevations, the residues on the soil surface were rapidly mineralized; On the other hand, it showed that the most noteworthy research where climate change affects SOC storage in the mountainous area was mid-elevation. Elevation and latitude are closely related, a 200-m increase in elevation is roughly equivalent to a one-degree increase in latitude (Montgomery, 2006). Thus, the 2100-m altitude of the Jinfo Mountain is equivalent to 29°-38° north latitudes. ...
Article
Full-text available
Elevation changes create gradients in abiotic factors, which in turn affect soil erosion and carbon cycling. However, how elevation changes control soil ecological processes through temperature and the mechanism that affects the carbon cycle remain unclear. Therefore, we have studied the distribution of temperature, bulk density (BD), soil pH, mean weight diameter (MWD), clay, and diversity of soil fungal community diversity, and discussed the critical factors affecting soil organic carbon (SOC) and nitrogen (N) in a typical karst mountainous area. The results showed that the dominant phyla were Ascomycota (42.28%), Mortierellomycota (20.6%), Basidiomycota (17.83%), and Rozellomycota (11.82%). The elevation distributions of MWD, fungal diversity, the rate of SOC and N stocks change per temperature index, and SOC and N stocks all exhibited unimodal patterns. Additionally, temperature, fungal diversity, MWD, BD, and clay were the dominant factors explaining the variability of SOC and N, and SOC and N had a positive relationship with pH, BD, MWD, clay‐silt content, warmth index, and Sobs and Shannon diversity. Analyses showed that the warmth index regulated soil aggregates through fungal diversity and combined with BD to affect carbon sequestration, which was controlled by clay, the C:N ratio, and pH during the process. These conclusions have important implications for improving the SOC sequestration capacity in karst mountainous areas.
... Previous studies (Li et al., 2018;Xu et al., 2018b) have verified our results. Altitude is the main factor affecting the temperature distribution in mountainous areas (Aizen et al., 1995(Aizen et al., , 1997Keith, 2006;Deng et al., 2015;Giorgi et al., 1997;Wang et al., 2011;You et al., 2010). East Tianshan is dominated by plains and basins, with an average elevation of 1215 m, while west Tianshan and middle Tianshan are dominated by high mountains, with average elevations of 2057 and 2186 m, respectively. ...
... Compared with east Tianshan, the temperature is lower in west Tianshan and middle Tianshan. In addition, latitude directly affects the distribution of solar radiation, which has an important influence on temperature distribution (Wallace et al., 2010;Keith, 2006). Compared with west Tianshan, the higher latitude is also an important reason for the lower temperature in the middle Tianshan. ...
Article
The impacts of climate change on runoff and water resources have been widely concerned. Meteorological stations and observation data are very limited in the mountainous areas of Northwest China, thus challenging accurate hydrological forecasting and water resource evaluation. To address this issue, we developed a method to reconstruct high-resolution temperatures in mountainous areas. Based on the ERA-Interim temperature and high-resolution DEM, nonlinear regression models were fitted and corrected via bilinear interpolation. Using the developed method, monthly temperatures from January 1979 to August 2019 with a spatial resolution of 90 m × 90 m were reconstructed and then verified against observations from 30 meteorological stations. The verification results indicate the high accuracy of the reconstructed data. Based on the reconstructions, we found that over the past 40 years, annual mean temperatures in the Tianshan Mountains had increased by 0.3 °C per decade. The highest annual mean temperature of 8.32 °C was found in East Tianshan (87°47′E-96°E), followed by 5.21 °C in West Tianshan (73°E-80°E), and 3.62 °C in Middle Tianshan (80°E-87°47′E). Altitude is the main factor affecting the spatial distribution of temperature in the study region. We also simulated runoff in the Aksu River and the Kaidu River, both of which originate from the Tianshan Mountains, using reconstructed temperature data. Comparing the accuracy of the simulated runoff with that of simulated using the observed temperature and the raw ERA-Interim temperature data revealed that the simulated runoff using our reconstructions showed the highest accuracy.
... Contemporary and historical climate variation is likely to influence patterns of Streptomyces biogeography. Elevation has a clear impact on temperature, as land temperatures decline 0.42 • C for every 100 m of elevation, such that a 200 m change in elevation approximates the temperature shift associated with a 1 • change in latitude (Montgomery, 2006). Phylogenetic conservation of thermal traits has been shown to influence Streptomyces dispersal across latitude (Choudoir and Buckley, 2018), and such thermal adaptation likely contributes to the latitudinal diversity gradient observed for North American Streptomyces (Andam et al., 2016b). ...
Article
Full-text available
Dispersal governs microbial biogeography, but the rates and mechanisms of dispersal remain poorly characterized for most microbial taxa. Dispersal limitation is driven by limits on dissemination and establishment, respectively. Elevation gradients create striking patterns of biogeography because they produce steep environmental gradients at small spatial scales, and these gradients offer a powerful tool to examine mechanisms of dispersal limitation. We focus on Streptomyces , a bacterial genus common to soil, by using a taxon-specific phylogenetic marker, the RNA polymerase-encoding rpoB gene. By targeting Streptomyces , we assess dispersal limitation at finer phylogenetic resolution than is possible using whole community analyses. We characterized Streptomyces diversity at local spatial scales (100 to 3,000 m) in two temperate forest sites located in the Adirondacks region of New York State: Woods Lake (<100 m elevation change), and Whiteface Mountain (>1,000 m elevation change). Beta diversity varied considerably at both locations, indicative of dispersal limitation acting at local spatial scales, but beta diversity was significantly higher at Whiteface Mountain. Beta diversity varied across elevation at Whiteface Mountain, being lowest at the mountain’s base. We show that Streptomyces taxa exhibit elevational preferences, and these preferences are phylogenetically conserved. These results indicate that habitat preferences influence Streptomyces biogeography and suggest that barriers to establishment structure Streptomyces communities at higher elevations. These data illustrate that Streptomyces biogeography is governed by dispersal limitation resulting from a complex mixture of stochastic and deterministic processes.
... While our study area covers a variety of climatic conditions due to the c. 3,000 m elevation range (equivalent to approx. >1,500 km latitudinal gradient; Montgomery, 2006), the generality of this, and our other findings, across ecoregions (Miller et al., 2018;Petitpierre et al., 2016), geographical scales (Birkhofer et al., 2012;Graf, Bollmann, Suter, & Bugmann, 2005) and other groups (e.g. below-ground macrofauna; Decaëns, 2010) remains to be assessed. ...
Article
Full-text available
Assessing the degree to which climate explains the spatial distributions of different taxonomic and functional groups is essential for anticipating the effects of climate change on ecosystems. Most effort so far has focused on aboveground organisms, which offer only a partial view on the response of biodiversity to environmental gradients. Here, including both above‐ and belowground organisms, we quantified the degree of topoclimatic control on the occurrence patterns of > 1,500 taxa and phylotypes along a ca. 3,000 m elevation gradient, by fitting species distribution models. Higher model performances for animals and plants than for soil microbes (fungi, bacteria and protists) suggest that the direct influence of topoclimate is stronger on aboveground species than on belowground microorganisms. Accordingly, direct climate change effects are predicted to be stronger for aboveground than for belowground taxa, whereas factors expressing local soil microclimate and geochemistry are likely more important to explain and forecast the occurrence patterns of soil microbiota. Detailed mapping and future scenarios of soil microclimate and microhabitats, together with comparative studies of interacting and ecologically dependent above‐ and belowground biota, are thus needed to understand and realistically forecast the future distribution of ecosystems.
... Previous research indicates that there are relationships between dissimilarities in temperature and morphology within linear cranial dimensions (Betti et al., 2010;Roseman, 2004). There is a correlation between how different locations are in their latitude and in temperature (Harvati & Weaver, 2006a), and an association between latitude and temperature seems clear (see Montgomery, 2006), with absolute latitude been deployed in research in the place of temperature (Gustafsson & Lindenfors, 2009); as absolute latitude increases, so too does the size of the cranial module (Short, 2016). However, the magnitude to which populations are dissimilar in cranial (centroid) size is not correlated with population latitude, or temperature, differences (Harvati & Weaver, 2006b). ...
Research
Full-text available
The cranial diversity of modern humans is thought to be congruent with population bottlenecks occurring in an expansion which started from an African origin; in previous research, cranial diversity declined as geographical distance from Africa greatened. The present study explored if distance from Africa correlates with the sexual size dimorphism of the modern human cranium. For an insight into why a correlation may occur, analyses tested if cranial size correlates with distance from Africa, and whether cranial size dimorphism greatens with size. Measurements were of modern human crania in the Howells dataset. The size or size dimorphism of crania was controlled for absolute latitude. Cranial size dimorphism increased with distance from Africa. Furthermore, geographical distance (calculated from worldwide origins) and cranial size dimorphism were indicated to be associated most strongly when using Africa as the origin. However, results suggested that the extents to which cranial size dimorphism and cranial diversity signal the expansion from Africa might not be a good representation of the situation for individual cranial dimensions. Size dimorphism was found to increase alongside cranial size, however, distance from Africa and size were not correlated. Consequently, it seems puzzling why distance from Africa is correlated with cranial size dimorphism. A possibility is that certain cranial dimensions change with distance from Africa differently for males than for females. It is reasoned that there is uncertainty over whether adjusted cranial size dimorphism reflects the expansion, although future research can address this.
... Latitude and elevation were given special consideration since they were available for every record and correlate with other abiotic conditions such as light availability, growing season length, and temperature, which have been shown to impact D. geminata growth. Latitude and elevation were combined to give a single metric, termed an equivalent latitude by using the relationship of 1 degree latitude for each 200 m of elevation (Montgomery, 2006). If there were multiple records for a single stream, then the values were averaged and used as a single record. ...
Article
Full-text available
Despite two decades of research, the cause of blooms of the diatom Didymosphenia geminata remains uncertain. Blooms have been associated with low nutrient, oligotrophic streams. In this study, we used available data from across the globe and conducted experiments to determine how D. geminata responds to soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) concentrations. Globally, D. geminata blooms have been found in streams with SRP below 11 μg P l−1. In North America, blooms only occurred at high equivalent latitudes when SRP was very low, whereas at lower latitudes blooms were observed under higher SRP concentrations. Using an in situ experiment, we found that following physical removal of D. geminata from stones, regrowth did not occur despite low SRP concentrations. In a second experiment, we found that there were no differences in D. geminata growth between a treatment which depleted SRP and a treatment which maintained elevated springtime SRP levels. These findings indicate that D. geminata blooms do not always form when SRP is low, even when cells are present. Bloom formation that is not exclusively related to low SRP suggests additional chemical or biotic factors, specific physical conditions, a seasonal timing requirement, or some combination of these with low P that are necessary to produce blooms.
... Latitude and elevation were used as biogeographic variables. Latitude is related to regional environmental factors, such as temperature (Montgomery 2006) and productivity in both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems (Hawkins et al. 2003b;Gillman et al. 2015;Henriques et al. 2017). Elevation is a proxy for one or more spatially structured factors that co-vary with elevation and is expected to directly influence species distribution (Rahbek 2005;K€ orner 2007). ...
Article
Human activities are causing a rapid loss of biodiversity, which impairs ecosystem functions and services. Therefore, understanding which processes shape how biodiversity is distributed along spatial and environmental gradients is a first step to guide conservation and management efforts. We aimed to determine the relative explanatory importance of biogeographic, environmental, landscape and spatial variables on assemblage dissimilarities and functional diversity of dung beetles along the Atlantic Forest-Pampa (i.e. forest-grassland) transition zone located in Southeast South America. We described each site according to their biogeographic position, environmental conditions, landscape features and spatial patterns. The compositional dissimilarity was partitioned into turnover and nestedness components of b-diversity. Mantel tests and generalised dissimilarity models were used to relate b-diversity and its components to biogeographic, environmental, landscape and spatial variables. Variation partitioning analysis was used to estimate the pure and shared variation in species composition and functional diversity explained by the four categories of predictors. Biome domain was the main factor causing dung beetle compositional dissimilarity, with a high species replacement between Atlantic Forest and Pampa. Biogeographic, environmental, landscape and spatial distances also affected the patterns of dung beetle dissimilarity and b-diversity components. The shared effects of the four sets of predictors explained most of the variation in dung beetle composition. A similar response pattern was found for dung beetle functional diversity, which excluded biogeographic effects. Only the pure effects of environmental and spatial predictors were significant for species composition and functional diversity. Our results indicate that dung beetle species composition and functional diversity are jointly driven by environmental, landscape and spatial predictors with higher pure environmental and spatial effects. The forest-grassland transition zone promotes a strong species and trait replacement highly influenced both by environmental filtering and dispersal limitation.
... Moreover, elevation not only contains geographic information but also reflects meteorological and vegetational conditions. Meteorological factors such as temperature and precipitation have clear trends with elevation in a hilly terrain (Montgomery 2006), and these changes further influence vegetation cover (Qiu and Zhong 2013). This means that if a soil property is influenced by elevation, it can be the result of gravitational substance flow, change in soil moisture content, temperature, vegetation, or all of them. ...
Article
Full-text available
PurposeTopography-soil relationships usually vary with climate, vegetation type, degree of human disturbance, type of parent material, and the scale being studied. In this paper, we studied the topography-soil relationship in a hilly forest in subtropical China. Materials and methodsThe influence of topography on soil properties (soil moisture, organic carbon (C), total nitrogen (N) and total phosphorus contents, C:N ratio, and pH) was evaluated using a recursive partitioning conditional inference tree (CIT) as well as a multiple linear regression (MLR) method. Results and discussionThe CIT models generally performed better than MLR in describing the topography-soil relationships. Topographic parameters chosen by the CIT models, which indicate the mechanisms at play for the spatial variation of the soil properties, varied with the soil property of concern. The soil moisture, organic C, and total N models contained only primary terrain attributes, the soil C:N ratio and pH models contained both primary and secondary terrain attributes, while the total phosphorus model contained mostly secondary terrain attributes. Conclusions The CIT method worked well for exploring the topography-soil relationships in the studied undisturbed hilly forest. We conclude that (1) soil moisture, organic C, and total N were strongly affected by location-specific topographic features such as gravitational potential, the amount of precipitation, temperature, and vegetation type; (2) total phosphorus was affected by catchment-related hydrological activities and soil C:N ratio; and (3) pH was affected by location-specific topographic features and catchment-related hydrological activities.
Article
A number of insects have been suggested to perform seasonal migration between low‐ and high‐altitude areas. In these insects, support for the occurrence of migration mainly came from observations that focal insects disappeared from a certain range of altitudes but appeared at different altitudes with short time lags. In some insects, further support was obtained by mark–recapture studies, analyses of the seasonal change of age structure or reproductive conditions in individuals from different altitudes and studies on dormancy or temperature tolerance. Other means that can be used to assess the occurrence of altitudinal migration are briefly mentioned. Two types of migration, the dormancy‐associated and dormancy‐independent types, are discriminated. In the former type, insects usually breed in spring, migrate to high‐altitude areas in late spring or early summer, usually for aestivation, and return to low‐altitude areas in autumn. In this type, the same individuals perform upward and downward migration. In the latter type, insects also perform upward migration in late spring or early summer and downward migration in autumn, but they breed both in low‐ and high‐altitude areas. The adaptive and evolutionary aspects of altitudinal migration are briefly mentioned.
Article
This article introduces the word "LAMP-POST" as a mnemonic device to aid in the instruction of climate variables. It provides instructors with a framework for discussing climate patterns that is based on eight variables: latitude, altitude, maritime influence and continentality, pressure systems, prevailing winds, ocean currents, storms, and topography. It focuses on ways to introduce the variables in a logical sequence that provides a smooth transition from one variable to the next. It is primarily designed for instructors with a background in human geography or the social sciences who wish to incorporate elements of physical geography into their lectures.