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spockvr6

Definition of "tropical"?

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JEFF IN MODESTO
As indicated, the Koppen classification suggests that any location with an average temperature in the location's coolest month that exceeds 64 degrees Fahrenheit is tropical.

Interesting subject!

According to my college meteorology instructor, the above statement is partially true.

A true Tropical climate has rainfall equally distributed the year round and its coolest month's mean temp exceeds 64f Fahrenheit.

Now, my college Geography instructor taught me the tropics are between Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn.

My college Botany instructor tught me that a Tropical plant or tree.... Is a plant or tree that originates in the tropics...ie...between the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn.

My question... If it caan be said that California has a Mediteranian type climate, can it also be said that southern Italy has a California type climate?

:)

Jeff

4class-A.GIF

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Walt

Prior to moving to Florida I consulted some climate books at my local library. Like Bubba said, the definition was basically that the coldest month of the year COULD NOT average lower than 64 degrees F. The book had a map of Florida and said this 64 degree line ran from Punta Gorda, on a bias up to Vero Beach. However, I now know that line is way flawed! That line would maybe start at the beach in Punta Gorda, then dive sharply down to the south (going inland) and then turning up sharply again along the Florida's east coast, to the beaches of Vero Beach. And I'm even doubtful of this.

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SoLando

Wow, if the average temp of the coldest month of the year is 64+, then we almost fit into that category. Our ave is 61 in Jan. and 63 in Dec., each month after that is above the 64 line.

I define tropical as anywhere that can grow coconuts in even the coldest microclimates of the area.

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amazondk

This is an interesting subject.  Maybe tropical would be when you have a hard time sleeping without an air conditioner 365 days a year.  That is at least in a city.  When I go to Florida in the winter I often find it quite cold, but then the all time low for Manaus I think was just under 70 F.  When it gets that cold here no one goes out on the streets.  Brazil is the largest tropical country in the world with only the southern most part falling in the sub tropics.  Every year this time a big event is to go to the highest part in the south to see ice on the street, and maybe even a little snow.  There is a town outside of Sao Paulo, Campos do Jordão, which has a great winter festival every year.  The place is at  5,300 ft. elevation and right around 22.7 degrees south Latitude.  Everyone puts on their wool sweaters and hangs out in the little bars and cafes downtown drinking hot wine and eating fondue.  Most of the places now have gas heaters to take the chill off.  It gets right around freezing but rarely below.  This is a tropical place, full of bromeliads in the forest, but sometimes you would have a hard time believing it.  Just for reference you could look at this site Campos do Jordão

dk

Maybe tropical is a state of MIND.

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bgl

Well Don, that's an interesting philosophy about sleeping without a/c. Where we live we never sleep with a/c, and there's a good reason - we don't have one and we don't need one! And we're in the tropics!Pretty amazing but nobody here has either heat OR a/c in their house. I'd say, 85-90% of the time it's just perfect sleeping weather. During this time of the year (July-mid Sept) it may be a little bit sticky some nights, but still relatively comfortable. And if we get too hot, we can just drive up Mauna Kea (not at night, though!!). All the way to the top (13792 ft/4200 m) if we want it REAL cool!!

Bo-Göran

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amazondk

Bo,

Here in Manaus you can use a fan, which a lot of people do as they do not have the money to pay the electric bill.  But, to really sleep well A/C is a requirement.  I am sure your climate is more comfortable at night.  Out in the country here you really can sleep well without A/C, and in fact since most places don't have electricity it is not even a question.  I like to sleep in a hammock in the forest by the riverside.  It gets even chilly during the night.  The main factor here is the heat island effect created by the city.  We don't use A/C all the time like people in Florida do though.  During the day we keep the windows open and let the breeze come through.  The most common type of A/C here is the split unit which allows you to leave part of the home cooled while leaving the other part open, central A/C for homes is unheard of.  During this time of the year when the daytime temperatures hit over 40 C I do end up closing the windows and turning the A/C on.  When I go to Florida I always feel the lack of fresh air in homes due the fact that they stay locked up with the central air on.  Living on a mountain island you have the best of a lot of worlds.

Back to what makes it tropical, maybe it is also what you can't grow, or have a lot of difficulty growing.  People on this forum are always trying to push things the other way, from hot climate plants in cooler climates, but the opposite is also true.  We have a lot of trouble growing good tomatoes, lettuce is tricky (only hydroponic really does well), strawberries no way, apples (I have never seen one growing), etc.  I guess you could do the opposite of Bobby in NY and put plants in reefer units for part of the year.  That might be an interesting project.  People in the more southern areas of Brazil do manage to grow a lot of temperate climate fruits.  But, it is still necessary to bring most of the temperate fruits from Argentina and Chile to supply the market.  

dk

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Daryl

Hi Don, I agree with your vegetable ideas. In Darwin we couldn't grow tomatoes, lettuce etc. Could not buy a decent hamburger ever (all traditional Oz burgers have lettuce and tomato, beetroot, onion etc.) We had no fresh milk..all milk was either powdered or blended (with powder) as there was no local dairy...too hot for dairy cattle. I think they have finally introduced a breed of dairy cow that tolerates the heat and produce reasonable amounts of milk.

After growing up in Darwin, which is tropical, I assumed the tropical areas of Queensland would be the same...definitely not! I'm amazed at how cold a lot of Queensland can get in the winter. They still call many parts of queensland tropical though! Personally I think that a tropical area is defined by it's climate, not by it's location. And that climate means warm nights and hot days x 365.

Daryl.

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SubTropicRay

I still think it best to judge an area tropical by whether or not it sustains tropical vegetation every year for 365 days.

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amazondk

Daryl,

It used to be much the same way here in Manaus.  I started coming here frequently in 1989, but only moved here full time in 2000.  It used to be that almost all produce was flown here from Sao Paulo.  Sao Paulo which is really a subtropical climate produces very good vegetables and fruit.  The Japanese dominate the trade.  A few years ago they started to produce lettuce using hydroponics and have developed ways to grow bell peppers in plastic structures with fans to circulate the air.  There are some dairy cows around, but virtually all the milk comes in tetrapak long life form.   I am going to see what I can do to grow some tomatoes, but they are not easy.

Ray,

What do you consider tropical vegetation to be?  I would imagine for low land tropics it would be the mangosteen, Brazil nut, bread fruit, manicaria, and some other strictly tropical trees.

dk

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bgl

Don,

Well, we do have ceiling fans as well, of course, but only use them during the day, and normally only during the summer months. For the most part no need to use one at night (and I dislike it anyway!). A hot summer afternoon here might be 86F/30C, but that's about it. So, like you, we open the windows and let the tradewind give us a nice breeze.

The word compromise has a somewhat bad connotation, but I've always felt that the climate where we live is the perfect compromise. It's warm enough that I can grow (as far as I know) any tropical palm, yet cool enough that I can also grow many of the palms that Southern Californians like to think of as perfect for them; Howea, Rhopalostylis and Hedyscepe for instance. And because of the mountains here, there's a large variety of locally grown fruit and produce at the Farmer's Market. When in season I can buy, for instance, strawberries (grown in Waimea, an hour away from Hilo at about 2700ft/800m elevation) as well as lots of other stuff. Last year I visited Umauma World Botanical Garden north of Hilo (a nice place, but not nearly as impressive as the name makes it sound...). The director was showing me around and at one point he stopped and he asked me "do you want an apple?". I said "sure, but where...?". He pointed to a few apple trees that had plenty of apples on them. I was just amazed. This place is almost at sea level and I didn't know apples could grow so well in a tropical climate! Maybe a special variety, I don't know.

Bo-Göran

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BobbyinNY

Definition of Tropical: "My greenhouse"...lol

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amazondk

Bo,

You live in a truly priviledged place as far as climate goes.  I am sure that is a major reason you are here.  Take a look at our short term forescast here - Manaus short term forecast .  Those temperatures are at the airport which is an a green zone on the outskirts of town.  For temperatures in town you can add probably 4 or 5 degrees F to the forecast.  At 3 degrees south latitude the sun can bake your brain.   Sometimes this time you look out over town and you can see the heat radiating into the sky with the equatorial sun burning down.  By the time the rainy season starts in late November or December it is real nice to see clouds and rain.   It did rain over the weekend and Saturday night cooled off pretty well.   But, there is a solution to getting through this, go to the beach and soak in the Negro River, the blackish gold clean water is a tonic for what ails you.

Praia da Lua beach looking down the Negro River toward Manaus.  The river gets around 300 feet deep and about 6 miles wide at this point.  I guess you could say that my concept of tropical is laying in the shade watching the river on a hot July day in Manaus.

PraiadaLua.jpg

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jacob

To me, tropical is like florida that has alot of tropical plants, coconut trees, and banyan trees. Florida is tropical and hawaii is tropical because they can grow these types of trees.

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Bilbo

How about "real hot and real humid and never a frost" ?

Regardez

Jon

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Neofolis

(PalmsZA @ Aug. 31 2006,13:56)

QUOTE
Hi guys

Dang!!! Shoot!!! just missed tropical by .7c, our average in winter is 17c. Data from South African Weather Service. http://www.weathersa.co.za/Climat/Climstats/DurbanStats.jsp

Cheers

Dennis

Shouldn't be long before you are tropical then, if global warming does it's thing in Durban.

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