The Alpine biome is one of the coldest biomes in the world. It is so cold because of its high altitudes. Summer temperature range between -12 degrees Celsius to 10 degrees Celsius. The average precipitation is 30 cm a year.
It is very much like the Tundra biome. Both the alpine and the tundra biomes are cold and dry throughout the year. The Alpine biome is also similar to the arctic biome.
Alpine biomes are located all around the world in high altitudes. The Alpine and Arctic biomes cover 16% of the earth's surface area.
Alpine biomes are located on mountains where trees can't grow. The growing season (for plants) is about 180 days. The night temperature is almost always below freezing. Unlike the arctic tundra, the alpine soil is well drained.
The problem of light is quite different in alpine biomes than in other biomes. The little amount of atmosphere at high altitudes exposes the Alpine area to sunlight, especially UV, at a dangerous level.
Some of the plants in an alpine biome are tussock grasses, dwarf trees, small-leafed shrubs, and heaths. Some animals in the alpine biome are; mountain goats, sheep, elk, beetles, grasshoppers and butterflies.
by Grace Murphy, 2000
The latitude range of the Himalayan climate is about 28° to about 33° north of the equator. The Himalayan Alpine climate varies according to the elevation. It gets colder as the elevation increases and gets wetter as the elevation drops. Because of this, the temperature changes very quickly. There are very sudden monsoons, floods, high winds, snowstorms and other types of precipitation, which makes the climate very dangerous.
The Alpine climate is similar to the climate of the biome surrounding it. For example, there are two different types of biomes on each side of the Himalayan mountains, therefore the climate on one side of these mountains is different from that on the other side.
The winter and summer are the main seasons in the Himalayan Alpine. In the winter it is usually always snowing with very icy temperatures. In the summer conditions are much milder, but throughout all of the months it is generally snowing.
The Himalayan Alpine climate is a harsh environment, therefore few animals and plants can live there. The few plants that do inhabit the Alpine consist of rhododendrons, the tea plant and shrub type plants. They have to adapt to the freezing temperatures, high winds and to a short growing season. That is why most of the plants grow low to the ground.
The mountain animals that are found in the Himalayan Alpine are similar to the mountain animals found in the surrounding biome. Some animals have adapted, such as the mountain goat, which has a thick coat for warmth and strong hooves for running up the rocky slopes.
Koppen°s climate classification letter for the Alpine or Highland climate is H. The average temperature per year is around 47° Fahrenheit. This may not sound too cold, but temperatures can change rapidly. In the winter the average temperature is around 33° Fahrenheit. The lowest temperature reached was in the month of January, at 14° Fahrenheit. In the summer, temperatures average around 56° Fahrenheit. The highest temperature was reached in June
at 75° Fahrenheit.
The average precipitation reaches around 16 inches per year. In the summer there is around 3 inches of precipitation. In the winter there is about .5 inches of precipitation. Sleet, snow and rain are some forms of precipitation that falls in the Himalayan Alpine. Because of the melting
snow more drainage occurs in the summer than in the winter. However all year round the air is filled with some form of precipitation.
By Hilary Wall 2001
"Climate Data for Lhasa, Tibet", http://www.onlineweather.com/China/climate/Lhasa.html (March 2000)
"Indian Seasons", http//www internetindia.com/travelnotes/climate.html, (November 2000)
Greghen. "Plants and Animal Adaptations", http://members.triped.com/gregahn/mountains.html 1999
Strahler, A.N., Strahler, A.H., Elements of Physical Geography, John Willey & Sons, Inc. 1984
World Atlas, Rand Mackinly and Company, Revised Edition, 1999
The Andes mountain climate is one of the most interesting climates in the world, because it changes drastically throughout the region. For instance, in Ecuador there are some tropical rainforests and just a couple of miles away is Cotopaxie, a frosted peek. Another thing about the Andes Mountain climate is that the temperature changes drastically when you move to a neighboring country, such as from Colombia to Ecuador. In Colombia it rains often, but in Ecuador it is usually dry. The climate is split up in many different zones. Tierra caliente is the hot land, where jungles, fruit and crocodiles grow and live, but paramo (wasteland) is a hardy place where the only things that can survive are lichens and mosses.
The Andes Mountains have a very high snow line in Peru and northern Chile reaching an altitude of over 19,000 feet. The Andes Mountains are the longest stretch of mountains in the world. They stretch for 4,500 miles on the west coast of South America. It is one of the highest mountain ranges in the world. The peek called Anconcagua in Argentina is 22,834 feet high. The Andes Mountains, even though they are very tall, do not compare with the Himalayas, which are still more rugged and taller.
The Köppen climate classification system is a way of showing on a map where certain climates are found. Vladimir Köppen devised it in 1918. The climates, precipitation and temperature classify it month by month. The Köppen system represents each climate by one or more letters. For instance, in Af the A stands for heat and precipitation, and f stands for precipitation in all months, which is the climate zone for rainforests. H stands for highland, or mountain climates.
The following classifications are the classifications for the biomes at the base and around the Andes Mountains. As you go up the mountains the temperature goes down. The classification surrounding the Andes Mountains starting with Colombia is Af, which equals tropical rainforest climates. This is where you find the "cloud forests" of the Andes. Moist, warm air meets cold mountain air which creates mists or clouds most of the year. In Ecuador the classification is Aw which is Tropical climates and has its dry season in winter. The Andes experience a summer and winter season here. In Peru the classification is also Aw and that is tropical climates and desert climates. High altitude plains are found here. In Bolivia the classification is Bwh. That is dry climates, with desert climates and dry and hot. Chile has two classifications, which are Csb and Cfb. Csb is warm temperatures, dry season is in summer and warmest month is 71.6ºF. Cfb is Warm temperatures, precipitation in all months and warmest month is 71.6ºF. Argentina is Bwk. That means dry climates, dry season in winter and dry and cold. All of the Andes Mountains are classified as H.
The temperatures of the biomes around the Andes Mountains vary from place to place. In Colombia it is wet and warm, with an average temperature of 64°F. In Ecuador it is very warm in the deserts and the average is 68°F and stays that temperature through out Peru, until you get to Bolivia. In Bolivia you would find that it is dry and hot with an average of 64°F. Then you would find the last and largest country that is home to the Andes Mountains, Chile. Chile is split up into two different temperature regions; the northern part of Chile has an average of 64°F, and the southern part has an average of 71°F. In winter the temperatures usually averages about less than 52°F. In the summer it usually averages 68°F. These temperatures are mainly from biomes around and in the Andes Mountains.
The precipitation of the Andes Mountain climate changes but not drastically between two places. In Colombia there is a lot of rainfall all year round. In Ecuador there is the desert climate without much rainfall. Peru is simalar to Ecuador. In Chile there are two different climates but in both there is a sufficient rainfall all year round. The rain fall in the summer averages less than 8 in. In the winter it averages less than 4 in. These numbers are from biomes in and around the Andes Mountains.
The Andes Mountain climate extends from at latitude 10°North latitude to 50° South and longitude 65° to 80° West.
by Christian C. 2002
"Andean Climate", http://www.ddg.com/LIS/aurelia/andcli.htm
Jacobson, Daniel. (1998). "Andes". Grolier. Connecticut.
Critchfield, Howard. 1998. "Climate". Grolier. Connecticut.
Strahler, Arthur. & Strahler, Alan. Elements of Physical Geography. New York.
Anderson, James. World Atlas. New York. Dorling Kindersley. (1997).