World Climate Zones
As the planet earth is spread out over a vast and diverse terrain having various topography. There are many climate zones across the world which are being influenced by various factors such as latitude, altitude, distance from sea, ocean currents, etc. These climate zones have been classified in many ways, however, most widely used classification is developed by V. Koeppen. In this classification certain values of temperature and precipitation are used for classifying the climates. It is an empirical classification based on mean annual and mean monthly temperature and precipitation data. As a number of questions are being asked every year related to world climate zones, we have put together all the important information related to various zones across the world. Six of the major types of climate in the world are as below:-
- Tropical Humid Climate
- Dry Climate
- Warm Temperate (Mid-Latitude)
- Cold Snow Forest Climates
- Polar Climates
- Highland Climates
Tropical Humid Climate
This type of climate mainly exist between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. The sun rays falls directly on the head throughout the year makes the climate very hot and humid. This zone receives high rainfall throughout the year. This climate zone is basically divided into three types which are as below:-
- No dry season
- Found near equator.The major areas are the Amazon Basin in South America, western equatorial Africa and the islands of East Indies.
- Receives a lot of rainfall in every month.
- Maximum temperature of 30 C and minimum of 20 C.
- Evergreen forests with large biodiversity
- Found over the Indian sub-continent, North Eastern part of South America and Northern Australia.
- Heavy rainfall occurs mostly in summer. Winter is dry.
Tropical wet and dry
- Found in north and south of Tropical monsoon type climate regions.
- The annual rainfall in this climate is considerably less than that in Tropical monsoon type climate regions.
- The wet season is shorter and the dry season is longer with the drought being more severe.
- Temperature is high throughout the year and diurnal ranges of temperature are the greatest in the dry season.
- Deciduous forest and tree-shredded grasslands occur in this climate
This type of climate is found in most abundant, covers latitudes from 15° - 60° north and south of the equator. It receives low rainfall, therefore, not many plants are found in this type of climate. It is further divided into steppe and desert climate. They are further subdivided as subtropical steppe and subtropical desert at latitudes from 15° - 35° and mid-latitude steppe and mid-latitude desert at latitudes between 35°-60.
- Subtropical steppe receives slightly more rainfall than the Subtropical desert.
- There is sparse grasslands in subtropical steppe.
- The rainfall in both the climates is variable. In the subtropical desert, rain occurs in short intense thundershowers.
- Maximum temperature in the summer is very high
Warm Temperate (Mid-Latitude)
This type of climate mainly extends between 30° - 50° of latitude. It is normally found on the eastern and western margins of the continents. Summers are a bit warm in this type of climate and the winters are mild. These are further divided into four types which are placed below:-
Humid Subtropical Climate
- Locations:- This type of climate is found in North Indian plains and South China interior plains.
- Climate conditions:- Similar to that of Tropical wet and dry climate. However, the temperature in winter is warm.
- Mediterranean Climate
- Locations:- It occurs around Mediterranean sea, along the west coast of continents in subtropical latitudes between 30° - 40° latitudes. Few of the locations are Central California, Central Chile, along the coast in south eastern and south western Australia.
- Climate conditions:-These areas come under the influence of sub tropical high in summer and westerly wind in winter, therefore, in this climate summers are hot and dry and winters are mild and rainy.
- Temperature:- In this type if climate, temperature in summer is around 25° C and in winter it is below 10°C.
- Rainfall:- The annual precipitation ranges between 40- 95 cm.
Humid Subtropical Climate
- Locations:- It lies on the eastern parts of the continent in subtropical latitudes. Few of the locations are eastern USA, southern and eastern China, southern Japan, northeastern Argentina, coastal south Africa and eastern coast of Australia.
- Rainfall:- Rainfall occurs throughout the year due to unstable air masses. The annual averages of precipitation vary from 80-145 cm. Rainfall also occurs in winters.
- Temperature:- Average temperature in summer is around 26°C. The temperature in winters varies from 6°-13° C. The range of temperature is small in this type of climate.
Marine West Coast Climate
- Locations:- It lies poleward from the Mediterranean climate on the west coast of the continents. Few of the locations are Northwestern Europe, west coast of North America, north of California, southern Chile, southeastern Australia and New Zealand.
- Due to marine influence, the temperature is moderate and in winter, it is warmer than for its latitude.
- Temperature:- The average temperature in summer is from 16°-20°C and in winter 5°-10°C. The range of temperature is small in this type of climate.
- Rainfall:- Rainfall occurs throughout the year. Here in this type of climate rainfall varies from 50-250 cm which is a huge variation.
Cold Snow Forest Climates
This type of climate occur in the huge continental area in the northern hemisphere between 40°-70° north latitudes in Europe, Asia and North America. It is further divided into two types which are as below:-
Cold Climate with Humid Winters
- Locations:- Cold climate with humid winter occurs poleward of marine west coast climate and mid latitude steppe. It lies in the in the northern hemisphere between 40°-70° north latitudes in Europe, Asia and North America.
- Climate conditions:-The winters in this type of climate are cold and snowy. The frost free season is short.
- Temperature:- The range of temperature is large in this type of climate. The weather changes are abrupt and short. If we go towards Pole, the conditions are more difficult, temperature drops as we move towards Pole.
Cold Climate with Dry Winters
- Locations:-It lies mainly over North-eastern Asia.
- Climate conditions:-The development of pronounced winter anti cyclone and its weakening in summer sets in monsoon like reversal of wind in this region.
- Temperature:- Here in this climate winters witness below freezing point temperatures and summers temperatures are also lower
- Rainfall:- Rainfall mainly takes place in summers. The annual rainfall is very less in this type of climate i.e. around 13-16 cm
This type of climate mainly lies beyond 70° latitude. This is further divided into two types of climates i.e. Tundra and Ice Cap.
- Vegetation:-This type of climate is named after the vegetation like low growing mosses, lichens and flowering plants.
- Climate conditions:-This is the region of permafrost where the sub soil is permanently frozen. The short growing season and water logging support only low growing plants.
- During summer, the tundra regions have very long duration of day light.
Ice Cap Climate
- Locations:- The ice cap climate occurs over interior Greenland and Antartica.
- Even in summer, the temperature is below freezing point.
- Rainfall:- This area receives very little precipitation.
- The snow and ice get accumulated and the mounting pressure causes the deformation of the ice sheets and they break.
- They move as icebergs that float in the Arctic and Antarctic waters. Plateau Station , Antarctica ,79°S, portray this climate.
Highland climates are governed by topography.
- Temperature:- In high mountains, large changes in mean temperature occur over short distances.
- Rainfall:-Precipitation types and intensity also vary spatially across high lands.
- There is vertical zonation of layering of climatic types with elevation in the mountain environment.
Few of the important topics related to Geography which would be very helpful for various Government exams are as below:-