Asia - Climate, Vegetation and Wildlife
• Asia is the largest continent of the earth, that’s why it has regions of a wide variety of climates; some of the coldest, hottest, wettest and some of the driest places on earth.
• Factors that influence climate, are latitudes, distance from the sea, monsoon winds, direction of mountain ranges, and ocean currents.
a. Asia lies between 10° South and 80° North latitudes. It extends from Equator to the Arctic Circle.
b. A large part of Asia lies more than 1500 km away from the sea. The interior parts of the continent experience extremes of temperature.
c. Monsoon winds shed their moisture to the south of the Himalayas and mountains of Central Asia.
• Ocean currents act much like a conveyer belt, transporting warm water and precipitation from the equator toward the poles and cold water from the poles back to the tropics.
• All the three components i.e. climate, vegetation and wildlife are interwoven to create a fabric of natural region or climatic region.
a. Equatorial Type of climate is found between 10° north and south of the Equator. Evergreen forest are found in this region. Most of the animals found in this type of climate live on trees.
b. Monsoon Type of climate is found in South and South East Asia. The most important tree of these forests are teak, sal, deodar, rosewood and bamboo. Tiger, elephant, various types of snakes, monkey, leopard and rhinoceros, etc., are some important animals of this region.
c. Tropical Desert type of climate is found in Arabian Desert in Saudi Arabia and Thar Desert in India and Pakistan. Some of the plant that are in the desert are cacti, small shrubs, and dryed up grass. The most important animal found here is camel.
d. Mediterranean type of climate is found in a small part of west Asia in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. Mediterranean vegetation is composed of broad-leaved evergreen shrubs, bushes, and small trees. Not much wild life is found in this type of climate.
e. Temperate grasslands are also known as Steppes. They are found in the belt extending from Ukraine in Europe to South-West Siberia and Eastern Mongolia. The region is covered with short grass. The wildlife of this area consists of horses, antelopes, mules and wolves.
f. Temperate desert covers the plateau of Mongolia. The temperature remains below freezing for several months during winter. Vegetation is sparse and only scattered tufts of coarse grass and shrubs are found. Some lizards, rodents and insects are found.
g. China Type of Climate is experienced in Central and eastern China, Southern Japan and Korea. Mixed and evergreen forests are found in some areas due to high temperature and heavy rain. Monkeys, Apes, Foxes, Pheasants, Peacocks, Parrots, Cranes and Herons, etc., are found in this region.
h. The Manchurian type of climate is found in northeast China and the northern parts of Japan. Thick coniferous forests are found on the mountains region. Fur bearing animals like squirrel, bear and fox are found.
i. The taiga climate is for the most part dominated by cold arctic air. It stretches in a broad belt through Northern Russia and Northern Siberia, between latitudes 55° North and 70° North. Vegetation in Taiga region mainly consists of coniferous trees and evergreen trees. Small and fur bearing animals like lynx, mink, sable and squirrel are found.
j. Tundra climate is usually found between the 60-75 degree latitudes along the coast of the Arctic Ocean in the northern parts of Russia. Mosses and lichens are found as they can survive in winters and less moisture. Reindeer is most important animal of the tundra region. Other animals with thick fur and wooly undercoat like Arctic fox, musk ox, polar bear and sable are found here.