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 located at high latitudes (far from the equator) receive less sunlight
than places at low latitudes (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 collection of all the living things in a place, as
well as the non-living resources, is called an ecosystem or biome. Listed below
are the types of ecosystems that exist in the climates of different latitudes.
The most sunlight is received at the equator of our planet, making this area
very warm. The types of ecosystems that develop in this warm environment are:
- Rainforests: As the name suggests,
rainforests receive a lot of rain. The temperature stays warm in the rainforest
all year long.
- Savanna: This ecosystem has a wet season and a very dry season.
- Deserts: Deserts receive less rainfall
than other tropical ecosystems but are just as warm.
The area between the warm tropics 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 deciduous 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 as severe as interior regions.
A long, chilly winter season is followed by a mild season.
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!
You might also be interested in:
Tropical rainforests are home to thousands of species of animals, plants, fungi and microbes. Scientists suspect that there are many species living in rainforests have not yet been found or described....more
Deserts are full of interesting questions. How can anything survive in a place with hardly any water? Why is it so dry to begin with? You can find at least one desert on every continent except Europe....more
Over one quarter of the Earth's surface is covered by grasslands. Grasslands are found on every continent except Antarctica, and they make up most of Africa and Asia. There are several types of grassland...more
The temperate forest biome is found in regions where winters are cold and summers are warm. Regions with this climate are common in the mid-latitudes, far from both the equator and the poles. Tropical...more
In the very cold places of the world, survival isn't easy. The soil is frozen, its top surface thawing only during summer, and no trees can grow. Yet plants and animals that are adapted for the harsh...more
The climate where you live is called regional climate. It is the average weather in a place over more than thirty years. To describe the regional climate of a place, people often tell what the temperatures...more
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