Earth Science

Atmospheric Processes

Climate Zones and Biomes

Study Tip
Think of the word “biome” as “bio-home”. A biome houses certain types of plants and animals.

Climate Zones and Biomes

  • Climate zones are geographical areas separated by their climate. Similar climates may be found at similar latitudes across the world.
  • A biome is a large geographic area that is characterized by its plants and animals.
Study Tip
Think of the word “biome” as “bio-home”. A biome houses certain types of plants and animals.

Climate Groups

  • In the Köppen classification system, climate zones are classified by temperature, precipitation, and the times of the year when precipitation occurs.
  • The Köppen classification system recognizes five major types of climate groups: tropical moist climates, dry climates, moist subtropical mid-latitude climates, continental climates, and polar climates.
Climate Group
Temperature
Precipitation
Location
Vegetation
Tropical moist
High average temperatures of at least 18˚C (64˚F)
Heavy rainfall of at least 150 cm (59 inches) per year
Found within 15º-25º N and S of the equator
Tropical rainforests
Dry
Hot summers and cold winters
Experiences more evaporation than precipitation, irregular rainfall
Found in various locations
Little vegetation
Moist subtropical mid-latitude
Mild summers, great season distinction
There is a lot of rain in this type of climate
Exists along coastal areas
Medium vegetation
Continental
Temperate weather
Winters have lots of storms and snowfall
Found in North America between 40ºN and 70ºN
There are a lot of trees in these climates
Polar
Winters are extremely cold and dark while summers are cool.
Generally dry, with little precipitation each year
Found in the North Pole, Greenland, and Antarctica
No vegetation

Earth Science

Microclimates

  • Microclimates are small areas that have slightly different climates than the surrounding area.
  • Altitude is generally responsible for such phenomena.
  • An area of land may be at low latitude, but if it is also at a high altitude, the features in this piece of land will be similar to those of higher latitudes.
Microclimates
Mountains can create microclimates
Concept Check
  • What are climate zones? What are biomes?
  • How are the five climate groups split up? What is the unit that measure the amount of light reflected off a surface?