What factors determine the climate?

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration‘s (NOAA) map of sea surface temperature anomalies shows warmer surface water temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean during El Niño. Image Credit: NOAA

The two most important factors in the climate of an area are temperature and precipitation. The yearly average temperature of the area is obviously important, but the yearly range in temperature is also important. Some areas have a much larger range between highest and lowest temperature than other areas. Likewise, average precipitation is important, but the yearly variation in rainfall is also important. Some areas have about the same rainfall throughout the year. Other areas have very little rainfall for part of the year and a lot of rainfall for the other part of the year.