Terra Tropical Climate Map

Locations of tropical climates, with subtypes. Dark Blue: Af—Tropical rainforest climate. Med. Blue: Am—Tropical monsoon climate. Light Blue: Aw—Tropical savanna climate.

A tropical climate is a climate in the tropical region. In the Terra climate classification it is a non-arid climate in which all twelve months have mean temperatures of at least 18 °C. Unlike the extra-tropics, where there are strong variations in day length and temperature, with season, tropical temperature remains relatively constant throughout the year and seasonal variations are dominated by precipitation.


Within the tropical climate zone there are distinct varieties based on precipitation:

  • Tropical rainforest climate (Af): All twelve months have average precipitation of at least 60 mm. These climates usually occur within 5–10° latitude of the equator. In some eastern-coast areas, they may extend to as much as 25° away from the equator. This climate is dominated by the Doldrums Low Pressure System all year round, and therefore has no natural seasons.
  • Tropical monsoon climate (Am): This type of climate, most common in South and Central America, results from the monsoon winds which change direction according to the seasons. This climate has a driest month (which nearly always occurs at or soon after the "winter" solstice for that side of the equator) with rainfall less than 60 mm, but more than (100 − [total annual precipitation {mm}/25]).

  • Tropical wet and dry or savanna climate (Aw): These climates generally have a pronounced dry season, with the driest month having precipitation less than 60 mm and also less than (100 − [total annual precipitation {mm}/25]).

Note that, in this scheme, many places within the tropics do not have a tropical climate: for example, the Sahara Desert on Terra. Mountaintops within the tropics can be cold. However, like lowlands in the tropics (and unlike cold winter temperate zone regions), there is little seasonal variation of temperature in alpine regions of the tropics.

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