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8.22: Tropical Moist Climates

Difficulty Level: Basic Created by: CK-12
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What kind of climate is this?

Whether a place is wet all year round or dry for some time really affects what can grow there. In the tropics, places that are wet year round have lush vegetation. Places that are dry some of the time are much less lush.

Tropical Climates

Tropical climates are found around the equator. As you'd expect, these climates have warm temperatures year round. The warm air rises at the equator. As it rises it cools, causing it to rain. Tropical climates may be very wet, or wet and dry.

Tropical Wet Climate

Tropical wet climates occur at or very near the equator. They have high rainfall year round. Tropical rainforests grow in this type of climate.

A tropical rainforest in Malaysia, Asia.

Tropical Wet and Dry Climate

Tropical wet and dry climates occur between 5° and 20° latitude and receive less rainfall. Most of the rain falls in a single season. The rest of the year is dry. Few trees can withstand the long dry season, so the main plants are grasses (see Figure below). Wildlife thrive on these grasslands.

Africa is famous for its grasslands and their wildlife.


  • tropical rainforest: A forest that grows in a tropical wet climate with high rainfall year round.


  • Tropical climates are found at or near the equator. Because warm air rises at the equator, there is a lot of rain.
  • Tropical wet climates get rain year-round. Tropical rainforests grow in this climate zone.
  • Tropical wet and dry climates have a rainy season and a dry season. The vegetation is largely grass.


Use this resource to answer the questions that follow.

Assignment Discovery: The Tropical Biomes at http://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/28111-assignment-discovery-the-tropic-biomes-video.htm (2:11)

  1. Describe the tropical climate.
  2. Where are the tropic biomes found?
  3. What is the canopy?
  4. Why is the soil poor?
  5. List examples of some of the animals found in this biome.


  1. How does atmospheric circulation lead to there being rainforests in the tropics?
  2. How does a tropical wet climate differ from a tropical wet and dry climate?
  3. How do the differences in tropical climates lead to differences in vegetation?


tropical rainforest

tropical rainforest

Forest that grows in a tropical wet climate with high rainfall year round.

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