HOME

TheInfoList




The subtropical zones or subtropics are
geographical Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10. ...
and climate zones located to the north and south of the
Torrid Zone ''Torrid Zone'' is a 1940 adventure film Adventure films are a genre of film whose plots feature elements of travel. They typically involve protagonists who must leave their home or place of comfort and go to far away lands to fulfill a goal. ...

Torrid Zone
. Geographically part of the North and South temperate zones, they cover the latitudes between and approximately 35° in the
Northern
Northern
and
Southern The name Southern may refer to: * South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earl ...

Southern
hemispheres. The
horse latitudes The horse latitudes are the latitude In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth ...
lie within this range. Subtropical climates are often characterized by hot summers and mild winters with infrequent frost. Most subtropical climates fall into two basic types:
humid subtropical A humid subtropical climate is a zone of climate characterized by hot and humid summers, and cold to mild winters. These climates normally lie on the southeast side of all continents, generally between latitudes 25° and 40° (sometimes 45°) a ...
, where rainfall is often concentrated in the warmest months, for example
Southeast China The points of the compass are the Euclidean vector, vectors by which planet-based directions are conventionally defined. A compass rose is primarily composed of four cardinal directions—north, east, south, and west—each separated by 90 degree ( ...
and the
Southeastern United States The southeastern United States, also referred to as the American Southeast or simply the Southeast, is broadly the eastern portion of the southern United States The Southern United States, also referred to as the Southern States, the Ame ...
, and dry summer or
Mediterranean climate A Mediterranean climate or dry summer climate is characterized by dry summers and mild, wet winters. The climate Climate is the long-term pattern of weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the degre ...
, where seasonal rainfall is concentrated in the cooler months, such as the
Mediterranean Basin In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin (also known as the Mediterranean region or sometimes Mediterranea) is the region of lands around the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by ...
or
Southern California Southern California (sometimes known as SoCal; es, Sur de California) is a geographic and cultural region that generally comprises the southern portion of the U.S. state of California California is a in the . With over 39.3million resi ...

Southern California
. Subtropical climates can occur at high elevations within the
tropics The tropics are the region of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% i ...

tropics
, such as in the southern end of the
Mexican Plateau The Central Mexican Plateau, also known as the Mexican Altiplano ( es, Altiplanicie Mexicana), is a large arid-to-semiarid plateau that occupies much of northern and central Mexico Mexico ( es, México ; Nahuan languages: ), officially the ...
and in the Vietnamese Highlands. Six climate classifications use the term to help define the various
temperature Temperature ( ) is a physical quantity that expresses hot and cold. It is the manifestation of thermal energy Thermal radiation in visible light can be seen on this hot metalwork. Thermal energy refers to several distinct physical concept ...

temperature
and
precipitation In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the (which include and ), with a major focus on . The study of meteorology dates back , though significant progress in meteorology did not begin until the 18th century. The 19th century saw mod ...
regimes for planet
Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is Water distribution on Earth, covered wi ...

Earth
. A great portion of the world's deserts are located within the subtropics, due to the development of the
subtropical ridge Horse latitudes are the latitudes about 30 degrees north and south of the equator. They are characterized by sunny skies, calm winds, and very little precipitation. They are also known as subtropical ridges, or highs. It is a high-pressure are ...
. Areas bordering warm oceans (typically on the southeast sides of continents) are prone to locally heavy rainfall from
tropical cyclone A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation Atmospheric circulation is the large-scale movement of Atmosphere of Earth, air and together with oc ...
s, which can contribute a significant percentage of the annual rainfall. Areas bordering cool oceans (typically on the southwest sides of continents) are prone to fog, aridity, and dry summers. Plants such as palms,
citrus ''Citrus'' is a of trees and s in the family, . Plants in the genus produce citrus fruits, including important crops such as , , s, s, and . The genus ''Citrus'' is native to , , , , and . Various citrus species have been used and domesticat ...

citrus
,
mango A mango is an edible stone fruit ), showing both fruit In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants (also known as angiosperms) formed from the ovary after flowering. Fruits are the means by which angiosper ...

mango
,
pistachio The pistachio (, ''Pistacia vera''), a member of the cashew family, is a small tree originating from Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the east, and from Afg ...

pistachio
,
lychee Lychee (US: ; UK: ; ''Litchi chinensis''; ) is the Monotypic taxon, sole member of the genus ''Litchi'' in the Sapindus, soapberry family, ''Sapindaceae''. It is a tropical tree native to the Guangdong and Fujian provinces of southeastern Chi ...

lychee
, and
avocado The avocado (''Persea americana''), a likely originating from southcentral , is as a member of the family . The fruit of the plant, also called an avocado (or avocado pear or alligator pear), is a large containing a single large seed. Avo ...

avocado
are grown in the subtropics.


Definition

The tropics have been historically defined as lying between the
Tropic of Cancer The Tropic of Cancer, which is also referred to as the Northern Tropic, is the most northerly circle of latitude In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted ...

Tropic of Cancer
and
Tropic of Capricorn The Tropic of Capricorn (or the Southern Tropic) is the that contains the at the December (or southern) . It is thus the southernmost latitude where the Sun can be seen directly overhead. It also reaches 90 degrees below the horizon at solar ...
, located at latitudes north and south, respectively. According to the American Meteorological Society, the poleward fringe of the subtropics is located at latitudes approximately 35° north and
south South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earlier Proto-Germanic language, Proto-Germa ...
, respectively. Several methods have been used to define the subtropical climate. The most well known is the
Trewartha climate classification Trewartha and Andrewartha are Cornish family name In some cultures, a surname, family name, or last name is the portion of one's personal name that indicates their family, tribe or community. Practices vary by culture. The family name may ...
, which defines a subtropical region as one that has at least eight months with a mean temperature greater than and at least one month with a mean temperature under . In most regions in this climate zone the coldest month has a mean temperature of above and the hottest month has a mean temperature of above . In the Trewartha climate classification, most of these climates are located in the southernmost portions of the temperate zone (latitudes between 23.5° and 35° north and south). German climatologists Carl Troll and Karlheinz Paffen defined ''warm temperate zones'' as plain and hilly lands having an average temperature of the coldest month between and in the
Northern Hemisphere The Northern Hemisphere is the half of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remain ...

Northern Hemisphere
and between and in the
Southern Hemisphere The Southern Hemisphere is the half (hemisphere Hemisphere may refer to: * A half of a sphere As half of the Earth * A hemispheres of Earth, hemisphere of Earth ** Northern Hemisphere ** Southern Hemisphere ** Eastern Hemisphere ** Western He ...

Southern Hemisphere
, excluding
oceanic Oceanic may refer to: *Of or relating to the ocean *Of or relating to Oceania **Oceanic climate **Oceanic languages **Oceanic person or people, also called "Pacific Islander(s)" Places *Oceanic, British Columbia, a settlement on Smith Island, Br ...
and
continental climate Continental climates often have a significant annual variation in temperature (hot summers and cold winters). They tend to occur in the middle latitudes (40 to 55 north), within large landmasses where prevailing winds In meteorology Mete ...
s. According to the Troll-Paffen climate classification, there generally exists one large subtropical zone named the warm-temperate subtropical zone, which is subdivided into seven smaller areas. According to the E. Neef climate classification, the subtropical zone is divided into two parts: ''rainy winters of the west sides'' and ''eastern subtropical climate''. According to the Wilhelm Lauer & Peter Frankenberg climate classification, the subtropical zone is divided into three parts: ''high-continental'', ''continental'', and ''maritime''. According to the Siegmund/Frankenberg climate classification, subtropical is one of six climate zones in the world.
Leslie Holdridge Leslie Ransselaer Holdridge (September 29, 1907 – June 19, 1999) was an American botanist and climatologist. He was the father of composer Lee Holdridge. Career Image:Lifezones Pengo.svg, 300px, Diagram of life zone classifications. In his f ...
defined the subtropical climates as having a mean annual
biotemperature 600px, Holdridge life zone classification scheme. Although conceived as three-dimensional by its originator, it is usually shown as a two-dimensional array of hexagons in a triangular frame. The Holdridge life zones system is a global bioclimatic s ...
between the frost line or critical temperature line, 16 °C to 18 °C (depending on locations in the world), and 24 °C. The frost line separates the warm temperate region from the subtropical region. It represents the dividing line between two major physiological groups of evolved plants. On the warmer side of the line, the majority of the plants are sensitive to low temperatures. They can be killed back by frosts as they have not evolved to withstand periods of cold. On the colder temperate side of the line, the total flora is adapted to survive periods of variable length of low temperatures, whether as seeds in the case of the annuals or as perennial plants that can withstand the cold. The 16 °C–18 °C segment is often "simplified" as 17 °C \bigl(2^\ ^\circ\! \mathrm \approx16.97\ ^\circ\! \mathrm\bigr). The Holdridge subtropical climates straddle more or less the warmest subtropical climates and the less warm tropical climates as defined by the Köppen-Geiger or Trewartha climate classifications. However
Wladimir Köppen Wladimir Peter Köppen (; russian: Влади́мир Петро́вич Кёппен, translit=Vladímir Petróvič Këppen); 25 September 1846 – 22 June 1940) was a Russian-German geographer A geographer is a physical scientist, social sc ...
has distinguished the hot or subtropical and tropical (semi-)arid climates (''BWh'' or ''BSh'') having an average annual temperature greater than or equal to from the cold or temperate (semi-)arid climates (''BWk'' or ''BSk'') whose annual temperature average is lower. This definition, though restricted to dry regions, is almost similar to Holdridge's.


Rainfall

Heating of the earth near the equator leads to large amounts of upward motion and convection along the
monsoon trough The monsoon trough is a portion of the Intertropical Convergence Zone in the Western Pacific,Bin WangThe Asian Monsoon.Retrieved 2008-05-03. as depicted by a line on a weather map 250px, A surface weather analysis for the United States on Oct ...
or intertropical convergence zone. The upper-level divergence over the near-equatorial trough leads to air rising and moving away from the equator aloft. As the air moves towards the mid-latitudes, it cools and sinks, which leads to subsidence near the 30th parallel of both hemispheres. This circulation is known as the
Hadley cell#REDIRECT Hadley cell The Hadley cell, named after George Hadley, is a global scale tropical atmospheric circulation Atmospheric circulation is the large-scale movement of Atmosphere of Earth, air and together with ocean circulation is the mean ...
and leads to the formation of the subtropical ridge. Many of the world's deserts are caused by these climatological
high-pressure area A high-pressure area, high, or anticyclone, is a region where the atmospheric pressure Atmospheric pressure, also known as barometric pressure (after the barometer), is the pressure within the atmosphere of Earth File:Atmosphere gas prop ...
s, located within the subtropics. This regime is known as an arid subtropical climate, which is generally located in areas adjacent to powerful cold ocean currents. Examples of this climate are the coastal areas of
Southern Africa Southern Africa is the south South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earlier Pr ...
and the west coast of
South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continent ...

South America
. The
humid subtropical climate A humid subtropical climate is a zone of climate characterized by hot and humid summers, and cool to mild winters. These climates normally lie on the southeast side of all continents, generally between latitude In geography Geograp ...
is often located on the western side of the subtropical high. Here, unstable tropical airmasses in summer bring convective overturning and frequent tropical downpours, and summer is normally the season of peak annual rainfall. In the winter (dry season) the monsoon retreats, and the drier
trade winds The trade winds or easterlies are the permanent east-to-west prevailing winds that flow in the Earth's equatorial region. The trade winds blow mainly from the northeast in the Northern Hemisphere The Northern Hemisphere is the half of E ...
bring more stable airmass and often dry weather, and frequent sunny skies. Areas that have this type of subtropical climate include Australia, Southeast Asia, and parts of South America. In areas bounded by warm ocean like the southeastern United States and East Asia, tropical cyclones can contribute significantly to local rainfall within the subtropics.
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
receives over half of its rainfall from typhoons. The
Mediterranean climate A Mediterranean climate or dry summer climate is characterized by dry summers and mild, wet winters. The climate Climate is the long-term pattern of weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the degre ...
is a subtropical climate with a wet season in winter and a dry season in the summer. Regions with this type of climate include the rim lands of the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
, southwestern Australia, parts of the west coast of South America around
Santiago Santiago (, ; ), also known as Santiago de Chile, is the and largest city of as well as one of the . It is the center of Chile's most densely populated , the , whose total population is 8 million, of which more than 6 million live i ...

Santiago
, the coastal areas of the lower west coast of the United States. J. Horel (2006)
Normal Monthly Precipitation, Inches.
University of Utah. Retrieved on 19 March 2008.


Flora

These climates do not routinely see hard freezes or snow, which allows plants such as palms and citrus to flourish. As one moves toward the tropical side the slight winter cool season disappears, while at the poleward threshold of the subtropics the winters become cooler. Some crops which have been traditionally farmed in tropical climates, such as
mango A mango is an edible stone fruit ), showing both fruit In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants (also known as angiosperms) formed from the ovary after flowering. Fruits are the means by which angiosper ...

mango
,
litchi Lychee (US: ; UK: ; ''Litchi chinensis''; ) is the of the genus ''Litchi'' in the family, '. It is a tree native to the and provinces of southeastern , where cultivation is documented from the 11th century. China is the main producer of ...

litchi
, and
avocado The avocado (''Persea americana''), a likely originating from southcentral , is as a member of the family . The fruit of the plant, also called an avocado (or avocado pear or alligator pear), is a large containing a single large seed. Avo ...

avocado
, are cultivated in the subtropics. Pest control of the crops is easier than in the tropics, due to the cooler winters. Tree ferns (
pteridophytes A pteridophyte is a vascular plant (with xylem and phloem) that disperses spores. Because pteridophytes produce neither flower A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproduction, reproductive structure found in flowe ...
) are grown in subtropical areas, as are dracaena and
yucca ''Yucca'' is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their an ...

yucca
, and trees in the
Taxaceae Taxaceae (), commonly called the yew family, is a conifer Conifers are a group of cone-bearing seed plants, a subset of gymnosperms. Scientifically, they make up the division Pinophyta (), also known as Coniferophyta () or Coniferae. The di ...

Taxaceae
.
Apple An apple is an edible fruit In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this fie ...

Apple
,
pear Pears are fruits produced and consumed around the world, growing on a tree and harvested in the Northern Hemisphere in late summer into October. The pear tree and shrub are a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological ...

pear
and
pomegranate The pomegranate (''Punica granatum'') is a fruit In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who speci ...

pomegranate
also grow well in the subtropics.


Varieties


Humid subtropical climate

The humid subtropical climate is a subtropical climate type characterized by hot, humid summers with frequent tropical downpours of short duration and warm, and frequently dry winters. In summer, the subtropical high pressure cells provide a sultry flow of tropical air with high dew points, and daily thundershowers are typical, though brief. Normally, rainfall is concentrated in the warmest months of the year. With decreasing latitude most humid subtropical climates typically have drier winters and wetter summers. Tropical lows and weakening tropical storms often contribute to seasonal rainfall in most humid subtropical climates.


Mediterranean climate

The Mediterranean climate regime resembles the climate of the lands in the
Mediterranean Basin In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin (also known as the Mediterranean region or sometimes Mediterranea) is the region of lands around the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by ...
, parts of lower West Coast of the United States, parts of
Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, countries that ide ...

Western
and
South Australia South Australia (abbreviated as SA) is a States and territories of Australia, state in the southern central part of Australia. It covers some of the most arid parts of the country. With a total land area of , it is the fourth-largest of Austral ...

South Australia
, in southwestern
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital citie ...

South Africa
and in parts of central
Chile Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in the western part of South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a relatively small portion in the . It can also be described as the southern ...

Chile
. The climate is characterized by hot dry summers and cooler winters with rainfall. In Europe, the northernmost mediterranean climates are found along the
Italian Riviera Image:Map-of-liguria-map-en-wiki.gif, 300px, Liguria and the Italian Riviera The Italian Riviera or Ligurian Riviera ( it, Riviera ligure; lij, Rivêa lìgure) is the narrow coastal strip in Italy which lies between the Ligurian Sea and the mou ...
, located at 44° latitude. Parts of southwestern Australia around Perth have a Mediterranean climate as do areas around coastal South Africa.


Semi-desert/desert climate

According to Köppen, arid subtropical climates are characterized by an annual average temperature above , the absence of regular rainfall, and high humidity.


See also

*
Geographical zone The five main latitude In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. T ...
*
Subtropical cyclone A subtropical cyclone is a weather system that has some characteristics of a tropical and an extratropical cyclone. As early as the 1950s, meteorologists were uncertain whether they should be characterized as tropical or extratropical cyclone ...


References

{{Authority control Physical geography Climate zones