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CHAPTER 3
SECTION

Class

Date

2 The Tropics

Climate

BEFORE YOU READ


After you read this section, you should be able to answer these questions:

Where is the tropical zone? What are three biomes found in the tropical zone?

What Is the Tropical Zone?


Remember that latitudes near the equator receive more solar energy than other areas. The area between 23.5N latitude and 23.5S latitude receives the most solar energy. This region is called the tropical zone. It is also known as the Tropics. Because areas in the Tropics receive so much solar energy, they tend to have high temperatures. There are three main biomes in the Tropics: tropical rain forest, tropical savanna, and tropical desert. All the tropical biomes have high temperatures. However, they receive different amounts of rain and have different types of soil. Therefore, different organisms live in each biome. The figure below shows where each of these biomes is found.
STUDY TIP
Compare After you read this section, make a chart comparing the three kinds of tropical biomes.

READING CHECK 1. Explain Why do the different tropical biomes have different organisms living in them, even though they all have high temperatures?

2. Identify Where are the Tropics?


TAKE A LOOK

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Climate

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The Tropics continued


TROPICAL RAIN FORESTS

READING CHECK 3. Explain Why is there little difference between the seasons in a tropical rain forest?

Tropical rain forests are warm and wet. They are located close to the equator, so they receive about the same amount of solar energy all year long. Therefore, there is little difference between the seasons. Tropical rain forests are homes to many different kinds of living things. Animals that live in tropical rain forests include monkeys, parrots, frogs, tigers, and leopards. Plants include mahogany trees, vines, ferns, and bamboo. Many organisms live in tropical rain forests. When dead organisms decay, nutrients return to the soil. However, the nutrients are quickly used up by plants or washed away by rain. As a result, the soil is thin and poor in nutrients.
Tropical Rain Forest
Average Temperature Range 25C to 28C (77F to 82F) Average Yearly Precipitation 200 cm or more Soil Characteristics thin and nutrient-poor

TAKE A LOOK

4. Explain Why is the soil in tropical rainforests thin and nutrient-poor?

TROPICAL SAVANNAS

5. Predict Consequences What could happen to a tropical savanna if people stopped all res from spreading? Explain your answer.

Critical Thinking

Tropical savannas, or grasslands, contain tall grasses and a few trees. The climate is usually very warm. Tropical savannas have two main seasons. The dry season lasts four to eight months. It is followed by a wet season that contains short periods of rain. Because savannas are often dry, fires are common. These fires can help to enrich the soil in the savanna. Many plants in the savanna have adapted to yearly fires and rely on them for growth. For example, some plants need fire to break open their seeds outer skin. Animals that live in tropical savannas include giraffes, lions, crocodiles, and elephants. The figure on the top of the next page shows a tropical savanna.
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Climate

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The Tropics continued

Tropical Savanna
Average Temperature Range 27C to 32C (80F to 90F) Average Yearly Precipitation 100 cm Soil Characteristics generally nutrient-poor

Math Focus

6. Convert About how many feet of rain does a tropical savanna get in a year? 1 in. 2.54 cm

TROPICAL DESERTS A desert is an area that receives less than 25 cm of rainfall per year. Deserts are the driest places on Earth. Tropical desert plants, such as shrubs, are adapted to living in places with little water. Animals such as camels, lizards, snakes, and scorpions also have adaptations for living in the desert. Most tropical deserts are very hot in the daytime. They can be up to 50C (120F) during the day. However, the temperatures at night may be much lower. Therefore, organisms that live in deserts are also adapted to changing temperatures.

READING CHECK 7. Explain Why do tropical desert organisms have to be adapted to changing temperatures?

Tropical Desert
Average Temperature Range 16C to 50C (61F to 120F) Average Yearly Precipitation 0 cm to 25 cm Soil Characteristics poor in organic matter

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Section 2 Review
SECTION VOCABULARY
tropical zone the region that surrounds the equator and that extends from about 23 north latitude to 23 south latitude

1. List What are the three biomes found in the Tropics?

2. Identify What is one thing that all the biomes in the Tropics have in common?

3. Compare Fill in the missing information about the features of each tropical biome. Example of an Example of a animal found plant found here here parrot giraffe poor palm tree

Biome Tropical rain forest

Rainfall

Soil poor

100 cm per year

4. Apply Concepts An area is located at 30N latitude. It receives less than 25 cm

per year of rain and has temperatures as high as 50C during the day. Is the area a tropical desert? Explain your answer.

5. Identify On which continent are most tropical savannas found?

6. Identify Which tropical biome has the largest range of temperatures? Which

tropical biome has the smallest range of temperatures?

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Climate

Weather and Climate Answer Key continued


4. No, because it is not located in the Tropics. 5. Africa 6. tropical deserts have the largest temperature

Review 1. Climate describes the average weather con-

2. 3.

4. 5.

ditions in an area over a long period of time. Weather describes the state of the atmosphere in a specific location at a specific point in time. San Diego receives more sunlight because it lies closer to the equator. Earth is tilted on its axis of rotation, causing some areas to receive more sunlight during some parts of the year than during others. latitude, large bodies of water, topography, ocean currents, winds Air rises to move over a mountain. The air cools as it rises, causing the water vapor in the air to condense into clouds. Precipitation falls on the windward side of the mountain, causing the area to have a wet climate. The air rises over the mountain and sinks. As it sinks, it gets warmer and causes water to evaporate from the land on the other side of the mountain. As a result, the far side of the mountain has a dry climate.

range; tropical rain forests have the smallest temperature range.

SECTION 3 TEMPERATE AND POLAR ZONES


1. They all experience seasonal changes in

weather.

2. chaparral 3. They are probably evergreens, because they

4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

SECTION 2 THE TROPICS


1. They receive different amounts of rain and 2. 3. 4. 5.

still have leaves in the winter and they are found in a temperate forest. grass waxy coatings on leaves to prevent water loss Possible answer: Temperate deserts have a larger temperature range. North America, Asia, Europe The ice in it melts, but the permafrost prevents the water from draining away. 16 in. to 24 in. the climate of a small area

6. 7.

have different kinds of soil. between 23.5N and 23.5S latitude It gets about the same amount of sunlight all year long. Nutrients are quickly used up by plants or washed away by rain. Possible answer: Many plants would die out because they rely on fires for survival or reproduction. about 3 ft The temperature in a desert can be much lower at night than during the day.

Review 1. temperate forest, temperate grassland, 2. 3.

4.

5.

Review 1. tropical rain forest, tropical desert, tropical

savanna 2. high temperatures 3. First row, from left to right: over 200 cm per year, fern Second row, from left to right: tropical savanna, poor, thorny shrub Third row, from left to right: tropical desert, less than 25 cm per year, scorpion

6. 7.

chaparral, temperate desert between 23.5 and 66.5 north or south latitudes They have clear skies and low humidity. This allows the land to heat up a lot during the day and the heat to move easily into the atmosphere at night. The pavement and other structures in cities absorb solar energy and heat up, causing the climate to be warmer. The main plants in the taiga are evergreens with acidic compounds in their leaves. When the leaves fall to the ground and decay, they make the soils acidic. They both receive little to no precipitation. They do not get enough rain.

SECTION 4 CHANGES IN CLIMATE


1. An ice age is a time period in which glaciers

are found at lower latitudes than at other times. 2. Ocean water freezes to form ice. As a result, global sea level drops, exposing more land.

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Weather and Climate