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The tropics are the regions of surrounding the . They are defined in by the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere at N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere at S. The tropics are also referred to as the tropical zone and the (see geographical zone).

In terms of climate, the tropics receive sunlight that is more direct than the rest of Earth and are generally hotter and wetter as they are not affected as much by the . The word "tropical" sometimes refers to this sort of climate in the zone rather than to the geographical zone itself. The tropical zone includes deserts and snow-capped mountains, which are not tropical in the climatic sense. The tropics are distinguished from the other climatic and biomatic regions of Earth, which are the and the polar regions on either side of the equatorial zone.

The tropics constitute 39.8% of Earth's surface area and contain 36% of Earth's . , the region was home also to 40% of the world's , and this figure was then projected to reach 50% by 2050. Because of , the weather conditions of the tropics are expanding with areas in the , having more extreme weather events such as heatwaves and more intense storms. These changes in weather conditions may make certain parts of the tropics uninhabitable.


Etymology
The word "tropic" comes via from τροπή]] (), meaning "to turn" or "change direction".


Astronomical definition
The tropics are defined as the region between the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere at N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere at S; these latitudes correspond to the axial tilt of the Earth.

The Tropic of Cancer is the Northernmost latitude from which the can ever be seen , and the Tropic of Capricorn is the Southernmost. This means that the tropical zone includes everywhere on Earth which is a at least once during the . Thus the maximum latitudes of the tropics have equal distances from the equator on either side. Likewise, they approximate the angle of the Earth's axial tilt. This angle is not perfectly fixed, mainly due to the influence of the moon, but the limits of the tropics are a geographic convention, and their variance from the true latitudes is very small.


Seasons and climate
Many tropical areas have both a dry and a wet season. The , rainy season or green season is the time of year, ranging from one or more months when most of the average annual in a region falls.Glossary of Meteorology (2009). Rainy season. American Meteorological Society. Retrieved on 2008-12-27. Areas with wet seasons are disseminated across portions of the tropics and , some even in temperate regions.Michael Pidwirny (2008). CHAPTER 9: Introduction to the Biosphere. PhysicalGeography.net. Retrieved on 2008-12-27. Under the Köppen climate classification, for , a wet-season month is defined as one or more months where average precipitation is or more. Some areas with pronounced rainy seasons see a break in rainfall during mid-season when the intertropical convergence zone or moves poleward of their location during the middle of the warm season;J . S. 0guntoyinbo and F. 0. Akintola (1983). Rainstorm characteristics affecting water availability for agriculture. IAHS Publication Number 140. Retrieved on 2008-12-27 Typical vegetation in these areas ranges from moist seasonal tropical forests to . the wet season occurs during the warm season, or , precipitation falls mainly during the late afternoon and early evening hours. The wet season is a time when improves, freshwater quality improves and vegetation grows significantly due to the wet season supplementing flora, leading to crop yields late in the season. Floods and rains cause rivers to overflow their banks, and some animals to retreat to higher ground. nutrients are washed away and erosion increases. The incidence of increases in areas where the rainy season coincides with high temperatures. Animals have adaptation and survival strategies for the wetter regime. The previous dry season leads to food shortages into the wet season, as the crops have yet to mature.

However, regions within the tropics may well not have a tropical climate. Under the Köppen climate classification, much of the area within the geographical tropics is classed not as "tropical" but as "dry" ( or semi-arid), including the , the and Australian Outback. Also, there are and snow-capped peaks, including , Mount Kilimanjaro, and the as far south as the northernmost parts of and Perú.


Climate change
The climate is changing in the tropics, as it is in the rest of the world.
(2014). 9781107057999 .
The effects of steadily rising concentrations of on the climate may be less obvious to tropical residents, however, because they are overlain by considerable natural variability. Much of this variability is driven by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The Tropics has warmed by 0.7-0.8°C over the last century—only slightly less than the global average—but a strong El Niño made 1998 the warmest year in most areas, with no significant warming since. Climate models predict a further 1-2°C warming by 2050 and 1-4°C by 2100.


Ecosystems
and animals are those species native to the tropics. Tropical ecosystems may consist of tropical rainforests, seasonal tropical forests, dry (often deciduous) forests, spiny forests, , savannahs, and other habitat types. There are often wide areas of , and species present, particularly in rainforests and seasonal forests. Some examples of important biodiversity and high-endemism ecosystems are El Yunque National Forest in , and rainforests, Amazon Rainforest territories of several countries, Madagascar dry deciduous forests, the Waterberg Biosphere of , and eastern rainforests. Often the soils of tropical forests are low in content, making them quite vulnerable to techniques, which are sometimes an element of shifting cultivation agricultural systems.

In , the tropics are divided into Paleotropics (Africa, Asia and Australia) and Neotropics (Caribbean, Central America, and South America). Together, they are sometimes referred to as the . The system of biogeographic realms differs somewhat; the Neotropical realm includes both the Neotropics and temperate South America, and the Paleotropics correspond to the Afrotropical, Indomalayan, , and tropical Australasian realms.


Flora
]] are plants found in a specific region at a specific time. Some well-known plants that are exclusively found in, originate from, or are often associated with the tropics include:


Tropicality
Tropicality refers to the image of the tropics that people from outside the tropics have of the region, ranging from critical to verging on fetishism. Tropicality gained renewed interest in geographical discourse when French geographer published Les pays tropicaux ( The Tropical World in English), in the late 1940s.Arnold, David. "Illusory Riches: Representations of the Tropical World, 1840-1950", p. 6. Journal of Tropical Geography Tropicality encompassed two major images. One, is that the tropics represent a 'Garden of Eden', a heaven on Earth, a land of rich biodiversity or a tropical paradise.Arnold, David. "Illusory Riches: Representations of the Tropical World, 1840-1950", p. 7. Journal of Tropical Geography The alternative is that the tropics consist of wild, unconquerable nature. The latter view was often discussed in old Western literature more so than the first. Evidence suggests over time that the view of the tropics as such in popular literature has been supplanted by more well-rounded and sophisticated interpretations.

Western scholars tried to theorise why tropical areas were relatively more inhospitable to human civilisations than colder regions of the Northern Hemisphere. A popular explanation focused on the differences in climate. Tropical jungles and rainforests have much more humid and hotter weather than colder and drier temperaments of the Northern Hemisphere, giving to a more diverse biosphere. This theme led some scholars to suggest that humid hot climates correlate to human populations lacking control over nature e.g. 'the wild Amazonian rainforests'.Arnold, David. "Illusory Riches: Representations of the Tropical World, 1840-1950", p. 13. Journal of Tropical Geography


See also


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