What is a climate?
The weather pattern in a long-term process in a locality, region, or even over the entire globe is known as climate. Generally, it is decided by calculating an average of thirty years' weather in a region. In that sense, the weather and climate are different.
How is weather different from climate?
Weather is a short-term property (such as temperature, pressure, moisture) of atmospheric conditions for a specific place and time. It differs both spatially and temporally. It defines the condition of the atmosphere over a short range of period, whereas climate denotes the entire atmospheric behavior over a long period.
It is the main characteristic of a climatic region. Air temperature and precipitation are the two most important factors that determine an area's climate. Besides, volcano emission, change in the temperature of the sun, carbon dioxide level in the air can also decide the patterns. The climate patterns can be described on the following two scales:
It is the pattern on the global, regional, and local levels. It deals with the principal climatic properties of the larger geographic zones like an ocean, a continent, a region, a country, or even the entire earth. Temperature, wind, humidity, precipitation, sunshine, solar radiation, and cloud cover are the main deciding factors of microclimate.
It represents the conditions in limited areas of small sizes, such as the immediate atmosphere of an organism. It is a kind of localized one. Both macro- and microclimate are very much responsible for a particular region's energy performance or environmental performance. The microclimate is generally different from regional climatic conditions. For example, in a forest, deep foliage lowers the amount of light that reaches the ground. This also results in a changed air temperature profile in a forest. Sun exposure angle, the topography of the land, vegetation, waterbody, land use, energy demand, vehicle pollution are the main determining microclimate factors.
It is defined as any geographical zone or region on the earth loosely divided based on latitude or longitude. Based on variation in mean temperature, the main climate zones are:
- Tropical (0°- 20° latitude)
- Subtropical (20°-40°)
- Temperate (40°-60°)
- Arctic and Antarctic (60°-80°)
The mean temperature declines on moving from the tropical to the arctic region. A similar zonation occurs with increasing altitude in the mountains. A mountain in tropical regions has tropical, subtropical, temperate, and alpine zones, respectively, with increasing altitudes. Within each climate zones, the annual precipitation or snowfall varies considerably.
Types of Climate
Climate classification can occur based on many factors, such as large water bodies or mountains. Mainly the distance of the region or location from the equator determines the climate types because the sun's rays affect the equator region the most. The climate classification can occur into the following five types.
This zone has an average of 64°F temperature all over the year. On average, 59 inches of rainfall occurs annually. Mainly tropical rainforests and savannas are seen in these regions. Mainly equatorial and subequatorial regions have this kind of climate. Malaysia, Indonesia, Brazil, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, Guinea, Gabon are the main areas with this type of condition.
In this zone, the dry condition arises (arid and semiarid), and due to this, the chances of evaporation are always higher than the chances of precipitation. The average temperature of this region is 43°F with 4 inches of annual rainfall. Low latitude deserts that occur in this zone have 0.1 inches of annual rainfall. Northern Mexico, Western United States, Australia, North China, and interior areas of Asia and Europe are the main climate regions of this type.
Temperate or mesothermal
This condition describes mainly warm, humid summer and mild winters. This zone includes the Western coastline of Europe and North America (40°-60° longitude).
Continental climate or microthermal
In this zone, the average temperature can fall below -22°F or less. Here people face cold winters and warm summers. In the monsoon seasons, heavy rainfall can occur. Snowstorms, strong winds, and very cold temperatures are the main characteristic feature of this climate type. United States, Toronto, Canada, Cambridge are included in this zone.
Polar climates are situated at the two poles of the earth: the north polar and south polar regions. Very cold weather is present here, and the average temperature never rises above 50°F. The polar region can be divided into two zones, the tundra zones, divided into the Arctic and Alpine tundra, and the second one is the ice cap region. Frigid cold weather is present in the ice cap region, and the temperature never rises above 0°F.
The Idea of Biome Based on Climate Types
A particular ecological community of organisms living together in a specific climate is referred to as a biome. The biome arrives by different climate changes. Clements and Shelford first introduced this idea. The biome is composed of the climax vegetation and associated successional communities, persistent sub-climax communities, fauna, and soil. Climate change in different areas determines the types of different vegetation that grow in the different areas. The vegetations are classified into aquatic and terrestrial ones. Different types of the major terrestrial vegetations are the following:
- Tropical Rainforests
It occurs at low altitude zones near the equator (found within 23.5° latitude of the equator) and characterized by hot weather, high rain (200 cm annually), and the greatest diversity of species. The average warmth falls between 20°-25°C and varies a little year-round. Winter is absent in these regions.
Savanna is the grassland with scattered individual trees where the climate is the most important factor. Here warm or hot weather is always present, and the annual precipitation is between 30-50 cm. There are frequent fires, and so the dominant plants are fire-adapted.
- Temperate Biome
In this type of vegetation, grasses are present as the dominant plants. It has hot summers and cold winters. The amount of rain is less than the savanna. Two factors are very important to maintain species diversity in this region: seasonal drought and occasional fires.
- Deciduous Forests
A deciduous forest has trees that lose all of their leaves in a particular season (generally winter) every year. Here, a moderate temperature is present with four seasons: winter, spring, summer, and fall. Precipitation is 65 to 130 cm that is distributed evenly throughout the year.
Deserts are found at latitudinal positions between 15° to 35° north and south of the equator. They have annual rain of less than 30 cm. This is probably due to high subtropical pressure and high elevation. There are high levels of variability in the desert types like the hot desert, cold desert, high elevation desert, and rainshadow desert. In deserts, the weather is very hot, with hot days and cold nights. Mostly, succulent plants grow in the desert.
Coniferous or boreal forest (also known as Taiga) is located at higher altitudes, close to the polar region between 50° and 60° north. Here winter is long and very cold, whereas summer is short and cool. Snowfall occurs on an average of 40-100 cm annually. The flora consists of cold-tolerant evergreen conifers with needle-like leaves like pine, fir, and spruce.
It is a polar desert with very cold weather and very low precipitation. This zone is divided into two main types, arctic and alpine. Alpines are found high in the mountains. They are characterized by low rain, a short growing season, and frozen deeper soil known as permafrost. They consist of plants like lichens and grasses. Trees are not found here.
Importance of Climate Zones
- Climate can change atmospheric conditions. It can bring hot seasons, rain, storm, and fires, which are important in people's regular life.
- The proper knowledge about climate is important for gardening and farming.
- Season change, sudden or continuous rain, the stormy atmosphere can affect agriculture a lot. These effects can either be good or harmful.
Context and Applications
This topic is significant in the professional exams for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses, especially for
- Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences
- Master of Science in Biological Sciences
- Bachelor of Science in Zoology
- Master of Science in Zoology
- Master of Science in Environmental Sciences
- Nutrient cycling
- Adaptation and acclimatization
Want more help with your biology homework?
*Response times may vary by subject and question complexity. Median response time is 34 minutes for paid subscribers and may be longer for promotional offers.
Types of Climate Homework Questions from Fellow Students
Browse our recently answered Types of Climate homework questions.