Shop Windows to the Universe

Become a nitrogen atom in the nitrogen cycle in our Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit/Game. See all our games, activity kits and classroom activities.
This map shows the eight biomes of the world. The orange area is tundra, purple is taiga, green is grassland, black is temperate forest, yellow is desert, blue is tropical rain forest, brown is chaparral and the white is ocean.
Click on image for full size
Windows to the Universe original image

Climate Changes with Latitude

Places far from the equator receive less sunlight than places close to the equator. The amount of sunlight and the amount of precipitation affects the types of plants and animals that can live in a place.

The equator of our planet received the most sunlight. The sunlight makes this area very warm. The types of ecosystems that develop in this warm environment are:

  • Rainforests: There’s a lot of rain in a rainforest and the temperature stays warm all year long.
  • Savanna: This ecosystem has a wet season and a very dry season.
  • Deserts: There is very little rain in deserts and they are very warm.

The area between the warm equator and the chilly poles is called the mid latitudes. Climates in this zone are affected by both warm, tropical air moving towards the poles and cold, polar air moving towards the equator.

  • Chaparrel: This ecosystem has wet-winters and dry-summers.
  • Grasslands This ecosystem is typically found on the dry interior of continents.
  • Temperate forest: A moist climate allows leafy trees to thrive.

High latitudes receive the least sunlight, creating cold climates.

  • Taiga: The forests of the taiga ecosystem survive despite long and very cold winters. Summers are short and still quite cool.
  • Tundra: Ocean winds in arctic coastal areas keep the temperatures from being too harsh.
Last modified May 18, 2004 by Lisa Gardiner.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

The Spring 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist focuses on the ocean, including articles on polar research, coral reefs, ocean acidification, and climate. Includes a gorgeous full color poster!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

What Is Climate?

How do you know to pack your bathing suit and sunhat for a trip to a tropical island or pack warm sweaters and coats for a trip to Alaska? If you know a little about regional climates, then you know what...more

Content for Climate Change Education Courses

Looking for online content that can be used for a climate change education course or module? Pages linked below can be used to support an introductory climate change education for either a unit or a full...more

A New Plan to Help Earth’s Changing Climate

Leaders from the countries of the world are heading to Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009 to decide how the world will deal with climate change. They will make decisions about how to send less greenhouse...more

Earth's Greenhouse Gases

Only a tiny amount of the gases in Earth’s atmosphere are greenhouse gases. But they have a huge effect on climate. There are several different types of greenhouse gases, but they all have something in...more

Space Missions to study Earth's Atmosphere & Climate

Some satellites study Earth from space. Some of them study our atmosphere and weather. Some take pictures of clouds. Others use special instruments to make measurements of temperature, humidity, or the...more

Modeling the Future of Climate Change

To figure out what the Earth might be like in the future, scientists need to know how Earth reacts to changes. Models help scientists to better understand how the Earth works and how it will react to climate...more

Effects of Climate Change Today

Have you ever taken your temperature to see if you are getting sick? Scientists have been taking the Earth's temperature and have found that it is getting warmer. During the past 100 years, the Earth's...more

Please log in

Username:

Password:

Forgot password?

Undergrad Student Login
Undergrad Faculty Login

Become a member
Member Benefits, No Ads

Science Blogs

Perspectives on Earth and Space Science Education

Real Climate: climate science from climate scientists

EPA Greenversations

Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment

Citizen Science Buzz


Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA