Subtropics: What You Should Know

The subtropics are one of the climatic zones into which the earth is divided. They lie between the tropics and the temperate zone. In the subtropics, the summer is hot like in the tropics, but the winter there has nothing to do with the tropics. In contrast to the tropics, the subtropics have a seasonal climate. This means that you can use the temperature to distinguish between summer and winter. However, these temperature differences are not as strong as in the temperate zone. Depending on how the precipitation falls there, the subtropics are further divided into Mediterranean climates, east-side climates, and dry subtropics.

The Mediterranean climate is so named because it prevails mainly in the area around the Mediterranean Sea. However, Mediterranean climates also exist in California and in small parts of Chile, Australia, and South Africa. In these areas, there is a lot of rain in winter. That is why one also speaks of winter rain areas. However, the temperature rarely drops below 0 degrees Celsius, causing rain but no snow. The summers are hot and dry. Because the plants get little water in the summer months, their leaves have formed a thick outer layer. This means that the sun’s rays cannot easily evaporate the water in the leaves. Examples are the olive tree or the cork oak.

The east side climate prevails in places that are close to the east coast. These include, for example, the southern states of the USA and parts of East Asia. As with the Mediterranean climate, there are hot summers and mild winters. However, there is enough rain throughout the year. In summer it rains even more than in winter. This has to do with the fact that the winds come from the east in summer, i.e. from the sea. As a result, they collect a lot of water, which then rains down over the mainland. In winter, on the other hand, the winds come from the west, where the mainland is. Subtropical rainforests grow in some of these areas. In other areas, such as the Canary Islands, Vietnam, or northern New Zealand, there are laurel forests. Trees grow there with leaves almost as hard as leather, and they don’t fall off. East side climate also prevails in the Pampas in South America.

In the dry subtropics, it is dry all year round. So there is almost no rain. The most desert is found there. The biodiversity of plants is limited to those that can store water well. The northern part of the Sahara is such an area. The southern part is already in the tropics. Other examples are the Atacama Desert in South America and the deserts on the Arabian Peninsula.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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