Geography

This page is for information about geography and related concerns. I’m learning this for world-building purposes.

Climates and Biomes

Climates and biomes are not the same thing. A biome is derived from a climate, but a climate is based on geographical traits.

Climates

The primary determinants of a climate are sun intensity, hours of daylight, axial tilt, distance from the equator, distance and direction to the nearest mountains, distance and direction to the nearest ocean, and altitude.

The following are traits of a geographic region that determine its climate:

  • Sun intensity
  • Daylight duration
  • Altitude
  • Distance from the nearest ocean
  • Direction towards nearest ocean
  • Distance from the nearest mountains
  • Direction towards nearest mountains
  • Humidity
  • Temperature
  • Axial tilt/angle of sunlight (can be expressed as sun intensity)
  • Distance from the equator (primarily relevant for seasons)

The traits of a climate are the following:

  • Cloud cover (higher in areas of low air pressure)
  • Wind strength (further from mountains = higher)
  • Wind direction (away from high air pressure)
  • Precipitation amount (higher in areas of high humidity)
  • Precipitation frequency
  • Precipitation type (cold = snow, warm = rain)

The following are types of climate:

  • Tropical
  • Dry
  • Temperate
  • Continental
  • Polar

Biomes

A biome has the following traits:

  • Vegetation prevalence
  • Vegetation type
  • Type (either terrestrial, freshwater, or marine)
  • Fauna type
  • Fauna prevalence

The following are types of terrestrial biome (loosely following Whittaker’s scheme):

  • Tropical rainforest
  • Tropical seasonal rainforest
  • Temperate giant rainforest
  • Montane rainforest
  • Temperate deciduous forest
  • Temperate evergreen forest
  • Taiga
  • Elfin woodland
  • Thorn forests and woodlands
  • Thorn scrub
  • Temperate woodland
  • Temperate shrublands
  • Savanna
  • Temperate grassland
  • Alpine grasslands
  • Tundra
  • Tropical desert
  • Warm-temperate desert
  • Cool temperate desert scrub
  • Arctic-alpine desert
  • Bog
  • Tropical fresh-water swamp forest
  • Temperate fresh-water swamp forest
  • Mangrove swamp
  • Salt marsh
  • Wetland

There are also freshwater marine biomes (lakes, rivers, and ponds), and the following marine biomes:

  • Estuary - bays, harbors, lagoons, inlets, sounds, etc.; partially enclosed coastal bodies of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it
  • Island
  • Shore/Intertidal - also called the littoral zone, that part of seas, lakes, or rivers close to the shore
  • Benthic - the bottom of the sea, regardless of depth
  • Pelagic - basically ocean deserts, ecosystem based on phytoplankton
  • Abyssal - technically a pelagic zone, in total darkness
  • Hadal - an abyssal ocean trench, the deepest ocean biome
  • Salt marsh - coastal ecosystem between land and open saltwater, regularly flooded by tides (salt-tolerant plants)
  • Pack ice - floating “islands” or “continents” made of drift ice
  • Kelp forest - underwater areas with high density of kelp, usually in temperate and polar coastal oceans

Regarding fauna in biomes:

  • Cold regions require thicker fur or feathers
  • Grassland regions encourage swift movement
  • Animals generally exhibit traits suited to the biome they live in