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Climate and Terrestrial Biodiversity. Chapter 7. The Earth Has Many Different Climates. Weather – local areas short term temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind speed, cloud cover and other physical conditions of the lower atmosphere

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Climate and Terrestrial Biodiversity

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Climate and terrestrial biodiversity

Climate and Terrestrial Biodiversity

Chapter 7

The earth has many different climates

The Earth Has Many Different Climates

  • Weather –local areas short term temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind speed, cloud cover and other physical conditions of the lower atmosphere

  • Climate – general atmospheric conditions measured over a long period of time

What factors influence climate

What Factors Influence Climate?

  • An area's climate is determined mostly by solar radiation, the earth’s rotation, global patterns of air and water movement, gases in the atmosphere, and the earth’s surface features.

Climate and terrestrial biodiversity

  • Air circulation in lower atmosphere due to

    • Uneven heating of the earth’s surface by the sun

    • Rotation of the earth on its axis

    • Properties of air, water, and land

Connections between wind climate and biomes

Connections between Wind, Climate, and Biomes

  • Wind

    • Indirect form of solar energy,

    • part of the earth’s circulatory system for heat, moisture, plant nutrients, soil particles and long lived air pollutants

Dust blown from West Africa – soil nutrients in Amazonian rain forests, toxic air pollutants in the US

The earth has many different climates1

The Earth Has Many Different Climates

  • Prevailing winds blowing over the oceans produce mass movements of water called currents. Driven by prevaining winds and the earth’s rotation, the major oceancurrents redistribute heat from the sun from place to place., thereby influencing climate and vegetation.

Climate and terrestrial biodiversity

Global Air Circulation

  • Currents

    • Prevailing winds

    • Earth’s rotation

    • Redistribution of heat from the sun


Cold deserts

Air cools and descends at lower latitudes.




Northeast trades

Hot deserts

Warm air rises and moves toward the poles.


Solar energy


Air cools and descends at lower latitudes.

Southeast trades

Hot deserts


The highest solar energy input is at the equator.



Cold deserts


Fig. 7-3, p. 142

Climate and terrestrial biodiversity

Energy Transfer by Convection in the Atmosphere



Heat released radiates to space

Condensation and precipitation

Cool, dry air

Rises, expands, cools

Falls, is compressed, warms

Hot, wet air

Warm, dry air

Flows toward low pressure, picks up moisture and heat



Moist surface warmed by sun

Fig. 7-4, p. 143

Climate and terrestrial biodiversity

Oceans absorb heat from the earth’s circulation patterns : most of this heat is absorbed in tropical waters, which receive most of the sun’s heat

Heat and differences in water density (mass/unit volume) create warm an cold ocean currents.

Prevailing winds and irregularly shaped continents interrupt these currents and cause them to flow in roughly circular patterns between the continents

Clockwise – northern hemisphere

Anti clockwise – southern hemisphere

Climate and terrestrial biodiversity

High density cold waters sinks and flows beneath warmer and less dense sea water

Creates a connected loop of deep and shallow ocean currents which act like a giant conveyor belt

Transfers warm and cold water between the tropics and the poles

Ocean currents are affected

by winds in the atmosphere and heat from the ocean affects atmospheric circulation

Climate and terrestrial biodiversity

Warm, less salty, shallow current

Cold, salty, deep current

Connected Deep and Shallow ocean currents

Fig. 7-5, p. 143

Climate and terrestrial biodiversity

Moist air rises, cools, and releases moisture as rain

Polar cap

Arctic tundra

Evergreen coniferous forest

Global Air Circulation,

Ocean Currents,

and Biomes


Temperate deciduous forest and grassland



Tropical deciduous forest


Tropical rain forest

Tropical deciduous forest



Temperate deciduous forest and grassland

6 giant convection cells

moist air rises ,cool dry air sinks


Polar cap

Fig. 7-6, p. 144

Greenhouse gases warm the lower atmosphere

Greenhouse Gases Warm the Lower Atmosphere

  • Greenhouse gases

    • H2Oallow mostly visible light and some infra red

    • CO2 radiation and some UV radiation from the sun

    • CH4 to pass through the atmosphere

    • N2O

  • Greenhouse effect – long wave length infra red radiation (heat) rises to the lower atmosphere

  • Human-enhanced global warming – burning fossil fuels, clearing forests

Allow visible light , infra red and UV radiation from the sun to pass through the atmosphere

Flow of energy to and from the earth

Flow of Energy to and from the Earth

The earth s surface features affect local climates

The Earth’s Surface Features Affect Local Climates

  • Heat is absorbed and released more slowly by water than by land. Creates land and sea breezes

  • World’s oceans and large lakes moderate weather and climate

  • Effect of earth’s surface features

    • Mountains-interrupt flow of prevailing winds and movement of storms

      • Rain shadow effect

    • Cities -Microclimates bricks, concrete, asphalt absorb and hold heat and buildings block wind flow. Cars release large amount of pollutants. More haze and smog, higher temperatures and lower wind speeds

Climate and terrestrial biodiversity

Prevailing winds pick up moisture from an ocean.

On the windward side of a mountain range, air rises, cools, and releases moisture.

On the leeward side of the mountain range, air descends, warms, and releases little moisture.

Rain Shadow Effect

Fig. 7-7, p. 145

How does climate affect the nature and locations of biomes

How Does Climate Affect the Nature and Locations of Biomes?

  • Differencesin average annual precipitation and temperature lead to the formation of tropical, temperate, and cold deserts, grasslands, and forests, and largely determine their locations.

Climate affects where organisms can live

Climate Affects Where Organisms Can Live

  • Major biomes – large terrestrial regions characterized by similar climate, soil, plants and animals. Mosaic of patches each with some basic similarities but different biological communities

  • Latitude and elevation

  • Annual precipitation

  • Temperature –tropical, temperate, polar

The earth s major biomes

The Earth’s Major Biomes

Climate and terrestrial biodiversity

Effects of Elevation and Latitude on Climate and Biomes


Mountain ice and snow

Tundra (herbs, lichens, mosses)

Coniferous Forest

Deciduous Forest


Tropical Forest

Coniferous Forest

Tundra (herbs, lichens, mosses)

Deciduous Forest

Tropical Forest

Polar ice and snow

Fig. 7-9, p. 147

Climate and terrestrial biodiversity






Coniferous forest

Decreasing temperature



Deciduous forest






Rain forest



Tropical seasonal forest


Decreasing precipitation

Fig. 7-10, p. 147

There are three major types of deserts

There Are Three Major Types of Deserts

  • Tropical deserts

  • Temperate deserts

  • Cold deserts

  • Fragile ecosystem

    • Slow plant growth

    • Low species diversity

    • Slow nutrient recycling

    • Lack of water

Climate and terrestrial biodiversity

Climate Graphs of Three Types of Deserts

Stepped Art

Fig. 7-11, p. 149

There are three major types of grasslands

There Are Three Major Types of Grasslands

  • Tropical – savanna : grazing animals, browsing animals

  • Temperate – tall grass prairie and short grass prairie-

  • Cold (arctic tundra) – permafrost, very fragile biome

Climate and terrestrial biodiversity

Climate Graphs of Tropical, Temperate, and Cold Grasslands

Stepped Art

Fig. 7-12, p. 151

Monoculture crop replacing biologically diverse temperate grassland

Monoculture Crop Replacing Biologically Diverse Temperate Grassland

Temperate shrubland nice climate risky place to live

Temperate Shrubland: Nice Climate, Risky Place to Live

  • Chaparral

  • Near the sea: nice climate

  • Prone to fires in the dry season

Climate and terrestrial biodiversity

Chaparral Vegetation in Utah, U.S.

Stepped Art

Fig. 7-14, p. 152

There are three major types of forests

There Are Three Major Types of Forests

  • Tropical rain forests

    • Temperature and moisture

    • Stratification of specialized plant and animal niches

    • Little wind: significance

    • Rapid recycling of scarce soil nutrients

    • Impact of human activities

There are three major types of forests1

There Are Three Major Types of Forests

  • Temperate deciduous forests

    • Temperature and moisture

    • Broad-leaf trees

    • Slow rate of decomposition: significance

    • Impact of human activities

There are three major types of forests2

There Are Three Major Types of Forests

  • Evergreen coniferous forests: boreal and taigas

    • Temperature and moisture

    • Few species of cone: bearing trees

    • Slow decomposition: significance

  • Coastal coniferous forest

  • Temperate rain forests

Climate and terrestrial biodiversity

Climate Graphs of Tropical, Temperate, and Cold Forests

Stepped Art

Fig. 7-15, p. 154

Climate and terrestrial biodiversity


Harpy eagle

Blue and gold macaw

Tropical Rain Forest

Squirrel monkeys

Climbing monstera palm


Green tree snake

Slaty-tailed trogon

Tree frog





Producer to primary consumer

Primary to secondary consumer

Secondary to higher-level consumer

All producers and consumers to decomposers

Fig. 7-16, p. 155

Climate and terrestrial biodiversity



Emergent layer

Harpy eagle



Toco toucan




Height (meters)


Under story

Wooly opossum



Brazilian tapir

Shrub layer


Black-crowned antpitta

Ground layer


Fig. 7-17, p. 156

Temperate rain forest in washington state u s

Temperate Rain Forest in Washington State, U.S.

Mountains play important ecological roles

Mountains Play Important Ecological Roles

  • Majority of the world’s forests

  • Habitats for endemic species

  • Help regulate the earth’s climate – snow and ice covers reflect solar radiation back. Cool earth and off set global warming

  • Can affect sea levels by storing and releasing water in glacial ice. Warmer earth adds water by melting of glaciers

  • Major storehouses of water

    • Role in hydrologic cycle

Mount rainier national park in washington state u s

Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State, U.S.

How have we affected the word s terrestrial ecosystems

How Have We Affected the Word’s Terrestrial Ecosystems?

  • In many areas, human activities are impairing ecological and economic services provided by the earth’s deserts, grasslands, forests, and mountains.

Humans have disturbed most of the earth s lands

Humans Have Disturbed Most of the Earth’s Lands

  • Deserts

  • Grasslands

  • Forests

  • Mountains

Climate and terrestrial biodiversity


Major Human Impacts on Terrestrial Ecosystems





Clearing for agriculture, livestock grazing, timber, and urban development

Conversion to cropland


Timber extraction

Release of CO2 to atmosphere from burning grassland

Mineral extraction

Hydroelectric dams and reservoirs

Soil salinization from irrigation

Conversion of diverse forests to tree plantations

Increasing tourism

Overgrazing by livestock

Urban air pollution

Depletion of groundwater

Increased ultraviolet radiation from ozone depletion

Damage from off-road vehicles

Oil production and off-road vehicles in arctic tundra

Land disturbance and pollution from mineral extraction

Soil damage from off-road vehicles

Pollution of forest streams

Large desert cities

Soil destruction by off-road vehicles

Stepped Art

Fig. 7-20, p. 158

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