Meteorological elements influence surface and subsurface temperature by affecting the rate at which heat is transferred to or from the atmosphere and the ground. The main elements are solar radiation and air temperature. Solar radiation is the single most important factor. Other meteorological factors such as wind or rain can cause significant local variations. Snow is also an important factor affecting ground temperature. Snow has insulating properties, but it also provides a lot of moisture during thaw season.
Terrain has also an effect. In dense vegetation areas, foliage can also provide an insulating effect, protecting the ground from weather extremes, blocking heat transfers to and from the atmosphere.
Subsurface variables that determine its response to temperature changes at the surface are volumetric heat capacity, thermal conductivity, latent heat (the heat required to freeze or thaw a unit volume of frozen soil) and water content. The ratio, K/C (K being volumetric heat capacity, and C being thermal conductivity), known as thermal diffusivity, is important in calculating rate of heat flow in the ground.
Water is also a determining factor. As heat capacity, thermal conductivity and latent heat depend on it, they also are codependent. the larger the water content, the larger the heat capacity, thermal conductivity, and latent heat.