Tropical climate

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Locations of tropical climates, with subtypes.
Beach in Naples, Florida lined with coconut trees is an example of a tropical climate. Although it lies in the subtropics over a hundred miles north of the tropic of cancer, the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico give it a monthly mean temperature never under 18 °C (64 °F), classifying its climate as tropical.
Intertropical Convergence Zone vertical velocity at 500 hPa, July average in units of pascals per second. Ascent (negative values) is concentrated close to the solar equator; descent (positive values) is more diffuse.

A tropical climate is a climate of the tropics. In the Köppen climate classification it is a non-arid climate in which all twelve months have mean temperatures of at least 18 °C (64 °F). Unlike the extra-tropics, where there are strong variations in day length and temperature, with season, tropical temperature remains relatively constant throughout the year and seasonal variations are dominated by precipitation.

Subtypes

Within the tropical climate zone there are distinct varieties based on precipitation:

Note that, in this scheme, many places within the tropics do not have a tropical climate: for example, the Sahara desert. Mountaintops within the tropics, e.g. Mount Kenya, can be cold. However, like lowlands in the tropics (and unlike cold winter temperate zone regions), there is little seasonal variation of temperature in alpine regions of the tropics.

Intertropical Convergence Zone

Because of the effect of sun angle on climate most areas within the tropics are hot year-round, with diurnal variations in temperature exceeding seasonal variations. Seasonal variations in tropical climate are dominated by changes in precipitation, which are in turn largely influenced by the tropical rain belt or Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), a portion of the Hadley cell. The ITCZ is shown, for July average, in the graphic. Areas of ascending air have heavy rainfall; areas of descending air are dry. The ITCZ somewhat follows the solar equator throughout the year, but with geographical variations, and in some areas (India) is heavily influenced by local large-scale monsoons.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c McKnight, Tom L; Hess, Darrel (2000). "Climate Zones and Types: The Köppen System". Physical Geography: A Landscape Appreciation. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. pp. 205–211. ISBN 0-13-020263-0. 
  2. ^ Linacre, Edward; Bart Geerts (1997). Climates and Weather Explained. London: Routledge. p. 379. ISBN 0-415-12519-7. 
  3. ^ "CHAPTER 7: Introduction to the Atmosphere". physicalgeography.net. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 

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