palmsOrl Posted September 29, 2013 Report Share Posted September 29, 2013 I know there have been similar topics discussed on Palmtalk in the past. My recent visit to the Miami area, however, has compelled me to want to explore it further. It is usually stated and written that South Florida's climate is subtropical. I would argue that extreme South Florida (and at the very least the coastal Miami/Ft. Lauderdale areas) has a fully tropical climate. Note, the FL Keys tend to be considered truly tropical already, so I won't include the Keys in this discussion. I contend that, based on my first-hand observations of the area's vegetation and weather, as well as climate data available, extreme SE Florida meets all different definitions of a tropical climate except the definition that relates to latitude (Since all of Florida is north of the tropic of cancer). By the Koppen climate classification definition of a tropical climate, much of extreme South Florida (and certainly the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale areas) is tropical. This is because the average temperature of every month of the year in much of extreme South Florida is 64F or higher. For example, Miami's average January temperature is 67F, which is several degrees above the minimum temperature required to be considered a tropical climate. The vegetation of extreme South FL ranges from predominantly tropical in much of the region to almost exclusively tropical in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale as well as their adjacent barrier islands. Miami Beach looks every bit as tropical as the Bahamas and Cozumel. On the other hand, areas of South Florida such as Fort Myers and West Palm Beach have predominantly temperate native vegetation. Temperatures in these areas are right on the borderline of qualifying as tropical by the Koppen definition. Of course, these areas are more prone to killing freezes as well. It is true that extreme South Florida does occasionally experience chilly weather and even frost and freezing temperatures from December through February. There are many other tropical areas worldwide that can experience the same level of cold weather on occasion. This mainly applies to areas on the southern portions of continents where particularly potent cold waves can surge relatively unmodified all the way to tropical regions. Even Cuba, an undoubtedly tropical island had killing frost and freezing temperatures in certain areas during the 1989 cold wave. This is just one of many examples I am familiar with. While Miami and Ft. Lauderdale proper have rarely experienced freezing temperatures, Miami Beach has never officially recorded a below freezing temperature. One final thought. I feel an area's climate should be classified by averages not rare extremes. This does not mean, however, that an area's flora and fauna will not be dictated by the extremes as well as averages. What are everybody's thoughts on this? Can extreme South Florida be considered tropical. If not, why? -Michael Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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