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How does a continents placement effect the climate ?

According to the plate tectonics theory, tectonic plates that bear the continents of the world are slowly moving in relative to each other. These movements rearrange the continents in a very visible way in a time scale of numerous years. The movement speed of tectonic plates is comparable to the growth of human fingernails. This movement is caused by seafloor spreading where the plates in the ocean are continuously being subsumed in the mantle.

The continents’ position affects the climate globally in different ways. The arrangement of the continents controls the incoming and outgoing of ice ages more than any other factor. If the continent’s location is in the polar region, it will definitely glaciate influencing the climate globally. Antarctica for instance, is exclusively polar, where circumpolar current circulates the continent that causes glaciations and cooling. The surface of the Antarctic is considered the largest desert in the entire planet. (Desert defined as the absence of moisture). The tremendously low temperature in Antarctica locks the moisture in ice.

Millions of years ago, the continent of Antarctica had lush greens. The movement of the tectonic plates placed the continent in the polar region, turning everything into ice. The fossils of dinosaurs found twenty degrees paleolatitude of the South Pole have backed up this fact.

Another factor that greatly influenced the global climate is when the continents are pushed up apart or against each other. If the continents are intact forming a super continent, most places will be too far from the ocean making it hard for moisture to reach them, making every surface deserts. Today, continents are scattered allowing moisture to reach most places. Back in the Mesozoic and Paleozoic eras, the entire land mass of earth is compressed into a supercontinent. The supercontinent known as Pangaea, which has the largest desert located on its center would have devoid of nearly all life.

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