How to Tackle UPSC Questions on Climatology? Climatology Notes for UPSC Geography 

What is Climatology

Studying Geography comes hand in hand with an understanding that the topics in Geography can be divided into ‘Conceptual’ and ‘Factual’ and the expected way in which you should prepare is also somewhat different for both. The major topics which fall under Conceptual topics are Climatology, Geomorphology, Oceanography. These topics discuss various processes that give rise to numerous phenomena like the distribution of climatic zones (Tropical, tundra, etc.), factors behind the formation of landforms (mountains, plateaus, etc.), and the influence of oceans on climate, landform changes, etc. In this article, we will focus on UPSC questions on Climatology.

What is Climatology?

Climatology is the study of the atmosphere and weather patterns over a period of time. This field of science focuses on recording and analyzing weather patterns throughout the world and understanding the atmospheric conditions that cause them. It should not be confused with meteorology, which is the specialized study of weather and weather forecasting.

However, climatology is mainly focused on the natural and artificial forces that influence long-term weather patterns. Specialized scientists in this field are called climatologists.

Climatologists focus on the understanding of three main aspects of climate.

The first aspect is the weather patterns that govern normal conditions in different regions throughout the world.

Secondly, climate scientists try to understand the relationship between different aspects of weather such as temperature and sunlight.

The third aspect of climate that climatologists investigate is the way that weather changes over time.

Results from this type of research have shown that human activities are affecting Earth’s overall climate, such as with increased global temperatures.

Also Read: 6 Best Optional Subjects in UPSC: Guide to Choose Most Scoring Non-technical Subjects

Syllabus Under Climatology UPSC MCQ and Long Answer Type Questions


  1. Temperature and pressure belts of the world
  2. Heat budget of the earth
  3. Atmospheric circulation
  4. Atmospheric stability and instability
  5. Planetary and local winds
  6. Monsoons and jet streams
  7. Air masses and frontogenesis
  8. Temperate and tropical cyclones
  9. Types and distribution of precipitation
  10. Weather and Climate; Koppen’s, Thornthwaite’s and Trewartha’s classification of world climates;
  11. Hydrological cycle
  12. Global climatic change and role and response of man in climatic changes
  13. Applied climatology and Urban climate


  1. Mechanism of Indian monsoons and rainfall patterns
  2. Tropical cyclones and western disturbances
  3. Floods and droughts
  4. Climatic regions

Focal Issues and Current Affairs for Climatology Notes UPSC

  1. Tsunamis, floods, and droughts

  2. Monsoon prediction techniques

  3. El Nino, its consequences and prediction

  4. Recent tropical cyclones e.g. Hudhud, Neelam, etc

  5. Cloud burst, Uttarakhand, and J&K disasters

  6. NAPCC

  7. Climate change negotiations at UNFCCC etc

Recommended Book List For Climatology

  • NCERT, Class XI Physical Geography
  • GC Leong
  • Mcknight’s Physical Geography
  • Atmosphere, Weather and Climate by K. Siddhartha
  • Geography through Maps by K Siddhartha
  • Any good reference Geography dictionary
  • Physical Geography by Savinder Singh
  • Atlas
  • Issues of Geography and You

Preparation Strategy for Climate Section

  • For Climatology you have to have an understanding of various atmospheric phenomena, their causative factors, their impacts on earth and mankind, modifications caused by natural and anthropogenic factors, and their applications.
  • Make good use of the following tools for your answers:
    1. Mind map of the topic
    2. Definition of all the terms and terminologies
    3. Get to be familiar with specific and relevant words that are used frequently for the topic
    4. Diagrams, figures, and presentation to aid your presentation
    5. Learn about different classes of the phenomena; both at global and Indian levels
    6. Spatial distribution of the phenomena i.e. maps
    7. New developments if any
    8. Applications and exceptions
  • Pay attention to basic concepts, insolation and temperature, atmospheric pressure and wind, atmospheric moisture, atmospheric disturbances, climate and climate change, hydrosphere.
Mind Maps

This is to remind us of the scope of the topic i.e. what all we mean to cover. It happens many times that we lose a tab of where we started, what we are reading, and for what purpose after we have entered deep into the pages of any chapter. Mind-maps are different as you never have to face this situation and we are always aware of our position.

Also, Read: Recent GI Tags in India 2020: Current Affairs Booster for UPSC Exam Preparations

Definitions for Terminologies

While reading the chapter, jot down all the terms and terminologies on a separate piece of paper. After you are done with the topic, write down and research about different terminologies and make sure you understand them. Avoid describing the whole concept. Just a line or two shall suffice. Here is an exhaustive list of all such terms and terminologies related to the mentioned topic. These are in addition to the terms and terminologies used in the mind map.

  • Thermal high
  • Thermal low
  • Dynamic high
  • Dynamic low
  • Isobar
  • Geostrophic winds
  • Horse latitude
  • Doldrums
  • Antitrade winds
  • Santa Ana breeze
  • Walker circulation
Diagrams, Figures, and Presentation to Aid Your Presentation

Create an album of self-drawn figures and diagrams and refer to it regularly to remember and picturize the pictures forever in your mind and remember key information. Practicing these diagrams is a must as during examination, your hands don’t move if there is a lack of practice. Remember one thing though. Do not complicate your diagrams. Your diagrams should be simple, standard, and lucid. You can refer to books and the internet for the same. ideally speaking, you should have at least one diagram in mind for all the topics.

Examples of The Phenomena; Both at Global and Indian Levels

Enumerate and remember as many examples for the concept as it will improve your understanding as well as enrichen content and the quality of your answers. For example, if you have understood the concept of sea breeze, you must know and in fact, learn by heart its examples.

Spatial Distribution of The Phenomena I.E. Maps

There is no substitute for Maps in Geography. Therefore, focus on the spatial distribution of phenomena. You don’t have to be precise with it but at least you should have a rough idea regarding the spatial distribution of atmospheric phenomena.

New Developments If Any

UPSC has the habit of asking questions regarding the latest developments in the field. For example, last year UPSC asked a question on Monsoon prediction techniques. You are supposed to keep a tab on such developments through a cursory view of newspapers and magazines. Try and incorporate the collated information in your notes for easy reference and revision and also your answers when you write the exam.

Applications and Exceptions

Applied Climatology is a completely different topic mentioned in the syllabus. However, it has the same theme and type of content as other topics. However, do your best to identify the applications and note and study them separately. Similarly, exceptions should also find mention in your notes and answers as they enrich the quality. Putting these points forward in your answers reflects your in-depth research and study done.


While you start with the strategy explained above, you will be able to get some high-quality questions and score astoundingly well for sure. These questions have been designed to test your analytical skills and your ability to apply the knowledge that you have gained from your study.

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How to Tackle UPSC Questions on Climatology? Climatology Notes for UPSC Geography
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How to Tackle UPSC Questions on Climatology? Climatology Notes for UPSC Geography
Climatology is a large and vital part of the UPSC geography syllabus that needs careful study and specialized handling. Learn how to prepare for it using the most efficient and effective way.
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