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Essay on Atmospheric Circulation

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What is the influence of atmospheric circulation on the distribution of the world's biomes? Throughout the world there are different biomes. The six major biomes are as follows: tundra, desert, rainforest, freshwater, marine and grassland. There are more types of biome, however these are much smaller and only occur occasionally. Biomes are made up of ecosystems, animals, plants etc. The world's biomes are controlled - or rather dependant on, the type of climate that surrounds them. For instance, in a tropical climate, you are more likely to find a rainforest than tundra landscape. Equally, you would not expect to find a desert in a temperate climate. Climate is, for the larger part, controlled by the atmospheric circulation in that area of the world. Climates are based on the hot and cold air regions, formed by the different circulation by the Trade winds and Westerlies. A definition of this is: "Climate is the characteristic condition of the atmosphere near the earth's surface at a certain place on earth." ...read more.


That is what causes the hot and dry tropical climate in which the desert and grassland (plains) biomes are found. The so-called mid-latitude climates are controlled mainly by two different air pockets, as it were. The tropical air that moves from the equator towards the poles, and the polar air moving from the poles towards the equator. Because the two atmospheres are vying for a place to produce their climate, a mid-range climate occurs, known as the dry mid-latitude climate. Within these climates, the main biome to be found is that of grassland. Moving on, the Mediterranean climate, known for its warm, wet winters and hot, dry summers. The descending air of tropical climates causes very dry, hot spells in the summer, which can last for up to five months. As with the winds within and surrounding the 30? latitude band, as the air descends all the moisture evaporates, meaning that the air is dry, and not moist. However, when the air becomes too dry and static, major storms can occur, that 'clear' the air, meaning that the day after the storm, the air is cool and moist, and this is frequently when vegetation flourishes. ...read more.


There is relatively little precipitation, and when it falls it falls in the form of ice (hail) or snow. This climate boasts the tundra biome. It is the world's youngest biome, some 10,000 years old. The ground is permanently frozen, and plays host to plants like heather, gorse and birch trees. Polar bears roam the ice, as do wolves, reindeer and snowshoe rabbits. Global warming is warming our planet, and in 20 years we could already see a difference in our biomes. If we are not careful, then we could completely tip the earth into an irreversible state of confusion, and it would kill most species that are well adapted to their current situations. As you can see, there is a clear connection between the air above us, and the ground on which we live. Biome distribution is controlled by our climates, which in turn is controlled by the air that we breathe, and the winds. If there was to be a dramatic change in the way winds blew, or the rate they blew at, or how hot or cold they were, then we would undoubtedly see a significant change in the biomes that surround us. ...read more.

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