global climate classification and vegetation relationships
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Global Climate Classification and Vegetation Relationships. Weather vs. Climate. Weather short-term condition of the atmosphere days, weeks meteorologists Climate long-term (30 year) average of weather conditions and extremes climatologists. Climate Determinants.

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weather vs climate
Weather vs. Climate
  • Weather
    • short-term condition of the atmosphere
    • days, weeks
    • meteorologists
  • Climate
    • long-term (30 year) average of weather conditions and extremes
    • climatologists
climate determinants
Climate Determinants
  • Insolation and Temperature
    • latitude, altitude, land-water, ocean currents, mountain barriers
  • Precipitation
    • Air pressure (ITCZ and Subtropical Highs)
    • Air mass influences
    • Prevailing winds
the k ppen climate classification
The Köppen Climate Classification
  • A Tropical (equatorial regions)
  • B Deserts (arid, semiarid)
  • C Mesothermal (mild winter)
  • D Microthermal (boreal, cold winter))
  • E Polar (always cold)
  • H Highland (mountains, plateaus)
the k ppen climate classification5
The Köppen Climate Classification

3 letter system

First letter = temperature

Second letter = precipitation

Third letter = finer shades of temp

Csb = mediterranean

C = middle latitude temps

s = summer dry

b = warm summers (as opposed to hot [a])

tropical humid climates af
Tropical Humid Climates (Af)
  • 1/3 of Earth’s total surface (about 20 ºN to 20 ºS)
  • Consistently warm (all months > 18ºC/64.4 ºF)
  • Annual precipitation exceeds evaporation
  • Daily temp range exceeds annual temp range
  • Subcategories based on rainfall (ITCZ influence)
    • Tropical rainforest
    • Tropical monsoon
    • Tropical savanna
tropical rainforest af
Tropical Rainforest (Af)
  • High rainfall all year (>2” / month)
  • Straddles Equator by 5o - 10o
Tropical Rainforest
    • Vegetation : Highest biomass on earth! Highest biodiversity on earth!Thousands of species, tall trees, many canopy layers, evergreen, broadleaf trees, epiphytes, lianas (vines), climbers, stranglers, ferns
    • Fauna:More species than all other biomes combined!, colorful insects, amphibians, reptiles, and birds, few large animals, high density of biomass and incredible species diversity
  • Other: Among most threatened biomes



Deforestation, Malaysia

Strangler Fig

3-Toed Sloth, Panama

Savanna (Aw) – Tropical Grassland Climates
  • Region/Distribution: Subequatorial Africa, and South America, Southern India (25° N and S Latitude)
  • Vegetation: Continuous cover of grasses, scattered trees or shrubs
  • Fauna: Large grazing animals; antelope, zebra, giraffe, elephant, Predators: lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas
  • Other: Susceptible to desertification

Masai Reserve, Kenya

Acacia and Wildebeest Serengeti Plain, Tanzania

dry semiarid climates b
Dry / Semiarid Climates (B)
  • Occupy about 1/3 of Earth’s land area (Most extensive climate over land surface)
  • Evaporation exceeds precipitation (water deficit)
  • Subcategories
    • Desert (BW)
    • Steppe (BS)
deserts bw
  • Widest range: up to 100oF/day!
  • Hot at low latitudes, wide variation at higher latitudes
Deserts (BW):
  • Precipitation:
  • Scarce: <10 inches/year
  • Unreliable: wide variation from average
  • Intense: convective downpours
  • Desert Causation:
  • High Pressure Cells and resultant stability
  • Rainshadows
  • Vegetation: Widely scattered thorny bushes, cacti, small flowers, extensive shallow roots or long tap roots, shrubs, succulents
  • Fauna: Many rodents, lizards, toads, snakes and other reptiles, many birds, owls, vultures, many insects (adaptive strategies)
  • Other: Deserts cover roughly 1/3 of earth. May be growing due to desertification.
  • Steppe: semi-arid high elevation or high latitude
desert plant survival strategies
Desert Plant Survival Strategies
  • schlerophyllousadaptations - small, waxy leaves or thorns replace leaves
  • succulents - stems modified to spongy water storage structures
  • ephemerals(obligate seeders) - fast reproductive cycle
  • wide spacing with shallow roots - collect sparse rainfall

Animal survival strategies?

steppe bs temperate grasslands
Steppe (BS): temperate grasslands
  • more precipitation than BW
  • narrower temperature ranges
  • grasslands
Grassland (temperate)
  • Region/Distribution: Central North America, parts of Africa, Australia, SE South America (Pampas)
  • Soil: very fertile soils, best on earth
  • Vegetation: Grass tall to short prairie, pampas, steppe. Sod forming grasses, Sparse bushes, occasional trees in some areas
  • Fauna: large grazing animals, bison, antelope, wild horses, kangaroos, giraffes, burrowing animals: rabbits, prairies dogs…; predators: coyotes, lions, leopards…...
  • Other: Most N. American grasslands have been converted to agricultural fields. Wild grazers replaced by cattle, sheep, goats. Less than 1% of original grasses left.
mesothermal climates c
Subtropical Forest Sarasota, FloridaMesothermal Climates (C)
  • “Middle temperature”
  • True seasonality (air mass conflict)
  • Subdivisions based on precipitation variation
    • humid subtropical
    • marine west coast
    • Mediterranean

Marine West CoastTemperate RainforestOlympic Peninsula, Washington

mesothermal climates c36
Mesothermal Climates (C)

Humid SubtropicalMarine West CoastMediterranean

humid subtropical midlatitude forests
Humid SubtropicalMidlatitude Forests
  • Hot summer, substantial year-round precipitation
  • Low latitude east coasts (warm currents).
  • Summer max precipitation.
  • Cold spells

Cfa - New Orleans, LA

Temperate Forest (Deciduous)
  • Region/Distribution: Western Europe, East Asia, Eastern U.S.. Between 30-50° north or south
  • Soil: brown soils, good for agriculture
  • Vegetation: Broad-leafed deciduous trees, (120-150’ tall), oaks, hickories, maples,…
  • Fauna: mammals such as white tail deer, porcupines, raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, most carnivores eliminated by hunting i.e. wolf, mountain lion, bobcat; many birds; frogs and salamanders, snakes
  • Other: Biota well adapted to seasonality including hibernation, migration
  • Dry summers (shifting subtropical highs)
  • Surrounds Mediterranean
  • Also on west coasts near 30o N and S (Australia, S. Africa, Chile)
  • Region/Distribution: West coast and Central California, SW. Australia, tip of S. Africa, West Peru. Chile, Mediterranean (good wine places!)
  • Vegetation: Grassland, scattered trees (oaks, eucalyptus), scrub. Fire tolerant, sclerophyllous (hard leaf) evergreens, chaparral (scrubby evergreen)
  • Fauna: Burrowers like ground squirrels, gophers; deer, mountain lions, coyotes, many birds
  • Other: Susceptible to fire during dry season, some species need fire to regenerate, Susceptible to erosion and desertification, development, threatened biome
microthermal climates d
Microthermal Climates (D)

Virtually restricted to Northern Hemisphere.

subarctic climates boreal or taiga
Subarctic Climates (Boreal or Taiga)
  • 50o-70o N latitude
  • long, bitterly cold winters
  • highest annual temp range: up to 100O F
  • Great annual temperature ranges (continentality, air mass conflicts)

Dw – Calgary, Canada

Coniferous (Boreal) Forest – Koppen D
  • Region/Distribution: Northern parts of North America, Europe and Asia, South So. America, much of Russia
  • Vegetation: Coniferous (mostly evergreen) forest, ex. Spruce, Fir, Pine, Larch, needle-leaved
  • Fauna: Large herbivores: moose, elk; small herbivores: squirrels snowshoe hare, beaver; Predators: wolves, foxes, bears, lynx, weasel family; Mosquitoes in summer
  • Other: Acid rain, logging , oil drilling, hunting of predators
Fir Trees, Alaska

Spruce Needles

British Columbia

polar climates e all months 50 o f52
Polar Climates (E)- all months < 50OF
  • Tundra (ET)
    • warmest month 32-50F
  • Ice caps (EF)
    • warmest month below 32F
  • Both have very low precipitation
TundraRegion/Distribution:North of the Boreal Forest, high latitudes of northern hemisphere in a belt around the Arctic Ocean, near the coast Soil: Permafrost, no true soil development Vegetation: Low growing lichens, mosses, grasses, sedges, dwarf shrubs, small plants typically ground hugging or warmth preserving in some wayFauna: Small burrowing mammals, lemmings, also foxes, lynx, owls, grizzly bear, caribou and musk ox: migrants Other: many insects in summer, standing water
highland climates h
Highland Climates (H)

How are these like the poles? How different?

highland climates h56
Highland Climates (H)

How are these like the poles? How different?

  • Lower temperatures
  • More moisture available
  • More insolation
  • High winds in both
the k ppen climate classification67
The Köppen Climate Classification
  • A Tropical (equatorial regions)
  • B Deserts (arid, semiarid)
  • C Mesothermal (mild winter)
  • D Microthermal (boreal, cold winter)
  • E Polar (always cold)
  • H Highland (mountains, plateaus)
the k ppen climate classification68
The Köppen Climate Classification
  • A Tropical (equatorial regions)
  • B Deserts (arid, semiarid)
  • C Mesothermal (mild winter)
  • D Microthermal (boreal, cold winter)
  • E Polar (always cold)
  • H Highland (mountains, plateaus)
riparian vegetation
Riparian Vegetation

Vegetation that grows along water courses.

Often supports richer diversity of plant and animal life, including more hardwood trees in a dry environment.

vegetation succession
Vegetation Succession

Climax Stage

Pioneer Stage

Occurs after disturbances: fires, storms, landslides, etc.

ecological invasions
Ecological Invasions
  • California Invasive Species: Old World Grape, livestock, Eucalyptus (Gum Trees), wild hog, mustards, horse, Mediterranean grasses/mustards
  • Methods of Transfer
    • Domesticated animals (fur, droppings)
    • Ornamentals
    • International tourism/migrations (New Zealand)
  • Problems with Invasives
    • Often out-compete endemics.
    • Don’t provide habitat for local fauna.
    • Upset balance of ecosystem.
the american chestnut
The American Chestnut

100 feet tall, thick symmetrical branches, over an acre of greenery, about a million lush leaves in all. Massive quantities of protein-rich nuts.

In 1904 a handful of Asian chestnut trees were planted in New York City at the Bronx Zoo. An Asian chestnut blight quickly destroyed over 99.99 percent of the American Chestnut population - almost all of four billion trees - annihilating at least six specialized insect species, decimating wild turkey populations, and depriving humans of a priceless resource in a single generation.

This loss represented one fourth of the tree cover in the Appalachians!