The weather at the equator is truly unique, it has fierce heat and there’s little to no mention of winter.
The equator isn’t a physical thing per se, it’s an imaginary line that separates the planet into two halves: the Southern Hemisphere and the Northern Hemisphere.
Countries along this line have weather that’s so much different to what most of us are used to, and even different to most of the world.
So what actually is the climate at the equator? That’s what we’re going to talk about in this article, as well as discussing the type of climate the equator has, its main characteristics, what countries live in this area and much more.
Some Things To Know About Earth’s Equator
Just to reiterate what we said earlier, the equator is a huge imaginary line that wraps around the Earth to divide the world into two parts: The Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere.
To put it into perspective, the equator’s latitude is 0 degrees, 24,901 miles and the Earth is at its widest at the equator.
The latitude at the equator is the longest one of the five main circles on Earth, the other four are the two polar circles and the two tropical circles.
You may have heard of something known as the ‘equatorial bulge’, this is to do with the Earth’s diameter being much wider at the equator too.
This is due to a force that’s created by Earth’s rotation, for example, Earth’s diameter at the poles is about 7,900 miles and the diameter at the equator is 7,926 miles, meaning that Earth’s equatorial bulge is around 26 miles.
When the Earth rotates on its axis, the equator doesn’t budge too much, meaning that the equator doesn’t move much from facing the sun at all, meaning that there’s year round sunshine (for the most part).
At the equator, Earth’s rotation speed is about 1,038 miles per hour, whilst the other four circles of latitude spin much slower, and at both of the poles it’s practically zero.
What Is The Climate Like At The Equator?
So now you have a good idea of what the equator is and how it works, the next thing to discuss is what is the climate like there?
Like we said in the previous heading, the equator doesn’t tilt all too much when the Earth is rotating on its axis, so it’s more often than not facing the sun, meaning it is the biggest receiver of the most direct sunlight.
It might not be a surprise that the most direct sunlight equates to the weather at the Earth’s equator being quite hot all year round, winter is rarely, if ever seen here.
With the weather being hot constantly, you may be assuming that the climate is completely tropical around the equator. Whilst you’d partly be correct, there’s a few other climates found here.
The lowlands around the equator typically have a tropical rainforest climate, so they’ll be found closer to the equator where it’s much warmer.
In the tropical rainforests, the monthly rainfall is high and it boasts average hot temperatures throughout the year.
You’ll also see tropical monsoon climates around the equator, this is due to the cold ocean currents, a tropical monsoon climate is almost similar to a tropical rainforest climate, but the former is categorized as receiving more than 39 inches of rainfall in the year.
The Seasons At The Equator
There’s not many of the seasons that we consider ‘the norm’ here, you won’t see terms like spring, winter, fall or summer being used to describe the seasons.
This is because of the Earth’s equator’s relative position to the sun, it hardly ever changes throughout the year, so the concept of seasons can’t and generally don’t apply here.
So instead of categorizing seasons by terms like ‘summer, spring, winter and fall’, the equatorial seasons are generally categorized by ‘wet and dry’. As that’s generally the most change the equator gets in relation to the weather.
Precipitation and Temperature
Places near the equator like the lowlands, or any places that have a tropical rainforest climate usually average temperatures around 73℉ at sunrise and 88℉ in the afternoon.
In the tropical rainforest climates, rainfall is typically very high, reaching 100-140 inches each year with about 200 rainy days out of the year. But impressively the number of average sunshine hours each year comes out at around 2,000 hours.
You’ll find the highest point of Earth’s equator in Ecuador.
It’s found on Volcán Cayambe’s southern slopes and it has an elevation of 15.387 feet and it is the only snowy point that is located above the equator which is a stark contrast to the hot, humid equatorial climate.
Although the sea has high temperatures, you’ll find glaciers in some higher altitudes like in Mount Kilimanjaro and the Andes.
Flora And Fauna
The impressive climates surrounding the equator mean that they’re home to some of the most unique and impressive flora and fauna in the world.
Its warm weather and rain-softened ground allow an abundance of life to thrive for the entire year around the equator.
Take the Amazon and Congo rainforest ecosystems for example, these are both extremely rich in biodiversity because of their proximity to the equator.
In Brazil, one hectare of rainforest can have up to 750 tree species and over 1,000 insect species, so the closer to the equator, the richer the biodiversity.
The climates surrounding the equator are full of intrigue and wonder. It’s interesting that there’s a few different climates on the equator, due to the fact that it is mostly sunshine all year round.
The equatorial bulge is also an interesting concept, which allows the diameter at the equator to be much bigger than it would be around the poles.
The most notable characteristics of the climates surrounding the equator are sunshine and rainfall, and the four seasons we’re used to aren’t used there because they don’t exist.
If you hate cold weather in the winter (like most of us do!), you may want to consider moving to a country near the equator, as you’ll have year long warmth and sunshine.
You may have to put up with a bit of rainfall, depending on what climate you choose to live in, but the 2,000 hours of sunshine definitely make it worth it.
Hopefully through this article you know more about the equator and its climates than you did previously.
If you liked this article, you might enjoy our post on ‘Tornado Alley – Is It Shifting To The East?‘.