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IES FRAY PEDRO DE URBINA. GEO.

AND HISTORY DEPARTMENT

CLIMATES ON EARTH
Weather phenomena occur in the lower layer of the atmosphere, called Troposphere,
which in equator reaches 12,000 m. in height.
The different air masses (or anticyclones) that make up it acquire the character of the
area on which they are located (wet if formed on the sea, dry if they do on deserts,
cold if they come from the pole, warm if they do from equator) and are in constant
motion because of two reasons mainly: one is the heat source, the degree of heat and
insolation produced by the sun; another reason is dynamic, the rotation of the earth.
The warm tropical air masses and polar cold ones collide and mix in the temperate zone,
forming a front of depressions in constant motion.
Thus, there are in the world three major climatic zones or bands that grouped all
climates, tropical, temperate and polar.
TROPICAL CLIMATES. (The seasons are not noted because of temperature)
1) Equatorial humid.
High temperatures throughout the year, around 26 C, with little annual range (23 to 27
degrees: 4 annual oscillation). It rains all the months (more than 30 mm.). No dry
months, the annual total usually exceeds 2000 mm.
These climates occur on both sides of equator, up to 5 latitude. The intense heat and
high humidity prevailing result in the jungle and the large rivers. Soils are poor by the
constant washing and harvests are collected in difficult conditions (tropical diseases).
It occurs in the Amazon and Congo basins, the Gulf of Guinea, Madagascar, South India,
Indonesia, etc.
2) Tropical with dry and wet season.
Between 5 and 25 degrees in latitude. Temperatures range is 10 between the warmest
and the "coldest" months, but they are still generally warm all year round.
Rainfall distributed in a wet season, which gets almost all (in SE Asia, the heavy rains
are due to monsoon winds, which come from the ocean in summer full of water), and a
dry season. As we move away from equator, the dry season extends and rainfall
decreases, but in general it can easily exceed 1500 mm. in the rainy season.
Decreasing rainfall, vegetation will also become scarce, from tropical forest to dense
gallery forest along rivers, savannah woodland, herbaceous savannah and finally the
steppe to the edges of the desert.
It occurs in Central America and the Caribbean, much of South America, Africa South
of Sahara, SE of Asia and N. of Australia.

3) Warm Desert.
It centers around the tropics: Arizona, Peru coast, Southwest of Pampa, Sahara,
Ethiopia, Kalahari, Arabia, Iran, Central Australian Desert.
The desert climate has a large number of dry months and precipitations below 350 mm.
The dryness is extreme and temperatures sometimes rise to 30 monthly average
(absolute maximum recorded is 58 in Libya). Sometimes there is a greater variation
between night and day than between coldest and hottest months. Absence of rivers and
vegetation.

MILD OR TEMPERATE CLIMATES. (The seasons are noticed in the curve of


temperatures)
4) Cold deserts and steppes.
In Nevada, Patagonia, Caucasus, Southern Siberia and the Gobi.
Precipitation also very slim, but in this desert climate very low average temperatures
occur in winter, around O , and there is a large difference in temperatures between
winter and summer.
Vegetation is sparse: weeds and isolated brush (the Great Plains of North America are
cold steppes).
5) Mediterranean. (West coast of the continents).
California, central coast of Chile (Valparaiso), shores of the Mediterranean, the Iberian
peninsula except N. of Portugal, Galicia and the Cantabrian, SW. of South Africa, SW.
of Australia.
Rainfall between 400 and 800 mm., concentrated in autumn and spring, no rain in
summer (dry season).
Mild and short winters (normally more than 10), hot summers (over 25 ), which the
water deficit worsens in.
The typical vegatation is the holm oak (evergreen) and fragrant steppe plants (thyme,
rosemary).
6) Chinese (subtropical humid, east coast of the continents).
SE. USA, River Plate, SE. of South Africa, Eastern Australia, coasts of China and South
of Japan, east coast of Europe to the Black Sea (Bulgaria, etc.).
Temperatures are similar to the Mediterranean climate, but here rainfall is around 1000
mm. Furthermore, it rains especially in the summer, while winter rainfall is lower, but
there arent dry months.
The laurel forest is typical of this area.
7) Oceanic (wet in west coasts of the continents).
Pacific Coast of Canada, Southern Chile, Western Europe, New Zealand and Tasmania.

Between 40 and 60 degrees in latitude.


It rains regularly throughout the year and rainfall exceeds 1000 mm. (not always), there
is little rain in summer, but no dry months.
The summers are cool (less than 20 ) and mild winters (between 5 and 10 ), there is
little temperature difference between both (about 12 ) because the sea softens
temperatures.
Oak and beech forest (deciduous), heathland with gorses and bracken and grasslands
are typical of this climate.
8) Continental.
Canada, interior and NE. USA, Central Europe, Siberia and N. of China and Japan.
High thermal contrast (more than 20) between winter (freezing temperatures) and
summer, which is cool (generally less than 20) and the rainy season. Precipitations
reach 800 mm. per year. In winter you may see some dry month.
The typical vegetation is coniferous forest (taiga) and tallgrass prairie where it rains
less.

SUBPOLAR AND POLAR CLIMATES.


9) Subpolar.
Above 60 in latitude to the poles (North Asia and North America) .
Freezing winters, freezing temperatures, with very few hours of light, short and cold
summers (below 10), when upper layer of soil thaws and a seasonal herbal vegetation
(tundra) grows, surrounded by ponds. Scarce precipitations, as snow. The temperature
variation between winter and summer can reach 60 degrees, with the absolute minimum
recorded -78 in North Siberia.
MOUNTAIN CLIMATE.
Rockies, Andes, Cantabrian Mountains, Pyrenees, Central System, Sierra Nevada, Alps,
Carpathians, Scandinavian Mountains, Caucasus, Balkans, Urals, Himalayas, Tibet, Kunlun,
Pamir, Altai, Zagros, Hindu Kush...
It occurs above 2000 m. in height anywhere on the planet. For every 100 m. in altitude
temperatures go down 0.64. As a result, several months register negative data. Rainfall
is abundant, exceeding 1000 or 2000 mm. There are not usually dry months. The rivers
become torrents with the spring thaw. The vegetation (forests, moors, meadows) is
adapted to the different conditions of sunlight, humidity, wind and cold forming
cliseries (altitudinal zonation): plants change with altitude, if the sunshine or shady,
leeward or windward, etc.