Tropical Wet-Dry Climate

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What is Tropical Climate?

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The tropical wet and dry climate in geology is also called the tropical savanna and is part of the Köppen climate division system that groups climates based on vegetation. Having signs of the monsoon climate, the tropical climate is represented by a wet season and a dry season. It is situated between 5° and 25° latitude, in Africa, Australia, Central and South America, and in Southern Asia. In essence, a tropical season tends to either observe less rainfall than a tropical wet climate or have more pronounced dry seasons.

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What is Tropical Wet Dry Climate known for?

Tropical Wet and Dry climate is known for its two seasons i.e.

1. Wet season (summer)

2. Dry season (winter)   

Generally, the dry season lasts longer. During the dry season, plant life and animal life struggle to tackle the dry conditions, but as the rainy season starts, plants turn green, ponds fill up, and animal life blossoms.

What Causes Wet and Dry Seasons?

This tropical savanna climate is caused by changing wind and ocean currents.

Tropical Wet Season

The wet season in the tropical savanna usually stays from June to October in the northern hemisphere and from December to April in the southern hemisphere. The rain is an outcome of a combination of warm, tropical air masses from huge bodies of water and the sun located higher in the sky. Temperatures remain quite high during the wet season but can drop drastically at night. Depending on the year and the location, the wet season can result in annual rainfall of below 10 inches to more than 50 inches.

Tropical Dry Season

The dry season in a tropical savanna remains for most of the year when there is little or no rainfall because of the continental tropical air masses and the sun is lower in the sky. Usually, the higher the latitude of the area, the longer the dry season is disposed to be.

Most dry seasons start around November and last through June when the rains return in the northern hemisphere. Dry seasons lean-to last from about May through November in the southern hemisphere. Temperatures reach their highest around the end of the dry season before the rain occurs. The average daily temperature in the dry season usually remains in the upper 70's Fahrenheit, but, depending on the location, daytime temperatures can soar above 100° Fahrenheit.

Location of Tropical Wet Dry Climate

Tropical wet and dry climate is typically observed within the tropics. The tropics are two lines of latitude at 23.5° north and 23.5° south of the Equator. Land within this area obtains direct sunlight throughout most of the year.

The tropical climate is observed between the tropical wet climate and the tropical dry climates in both the northern and the southern hemispheres. It varies in latitude from between 5° and 10° to between 15° and 20°. Most people realize the tropical savanna to be in Africa, though this climate is also recognized in Brazil, Venezuela, the Caribbean, Central America, and Indo-China, parts of India and even areas of Florida.

How are Dry Climate Regions Identified?

Do you know how we distinguish between a tropical wet and a tropical dry climate?

Tropical dry climates happen in deserts, while tropical wet climates generally are seen along the rainforest belt. Tropical wet and dry climates acknowledge a distinct dry season and a distinct wet season. Places that undergo tropical wet climates receive sufficient rainfall to sustain a population of trees.

How Much Rain Does Tropical Wet and Dry Climate Receive?

Amount and change in precipitation are what provides this climate type with its name.  Precipitation only falls in the summer months, generally from May-August with June and July experiencing the heaviest rainfall. The whole dry season generally receives less than 4 inches of rain. During the wet season, a minimum of 25 inches will fall. Some areas of Tropical Savanna in the path of monsoon winds can receive unbelievable amounts of rain. Cherrapunji, India once received more than 1,000 inches of rain in a year! Northern Madagascar reported the record for rain having -71 inches in one day!  Mawsynram, India is popularized as the "wettest place on earth" since it receives an average of 467 inches of rain per year. These incredible rainfall records are because of the seasonal winds called monsoon, which bring along dangerous amounts of rain.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What Plants are Observed in Tropical Wet and Tropical Dry Climates?

Answer: Due to the inconsistent rainfall, vegetation on the tropical savanna is not verdant like it is in the monsoon or the rainforest climate. Rather, tall grasses domineer over the land, with infrequent areas of drought-resistant trees and shrubs. Plantlife can contain waxy leaves and thorns, which enable it to survive the dry climate. Some areas of forests and woodlands are found in this climate.

While farming does occur in the region, most involve the upheaving of livestock which can graze on the grass of the land. The rainfall pattern is not a paragon perfection for crop growth, though farms do yield a variety of products, including cowpeas, groundnuts, pearl millet, sorghum, subtropical fruit, and various grains.

Q2. What Animals are Found in Tropical Wet and Tropical Dry Climates?

Answer: Larger animals found in the tropical climate are most commonly migratory and travel in herds, such as the zebras, giraffes, gazelles and wildebeest in Africa. These larger herbivores that manage to survive on the grass of the savanna get along with them, such as lions in Africa and tigers in India. Many carnivores (meat-eaters) follow and run down the herbivores. Lions, cheetahs, hyenas, and huge birds hunt the savannas of Africa. Smaller animals, like rodents and small mammals, birds of prey and various species of insects, are also recognized in this climate.

Q3. What are the Temperatures Experienced in Tropical Wet and Dry Climate?

Answer: In the wet season, temperatures average about 77°F. While, during the dry season, temperatures average about 68°F. The temperature remains high throughout the year due to the latitude where this climate is seen. Areas near the equator obtain consistent direct sunlight and thus, heat. A little difference in temperature is sufficient to change the wind patterns and keep this area dry for most of the year until the winds shift and the rainy season starts.