What Do We Mean By The Tropics? I Oxford Open Learning

    The Tropics

    What Do We Mean By The Tropics?

    The Tropics: 5 Interesting Facts And More

    Each year on the 29th of June the International Day of the Tropics is celebrated, a day which shines a light on the challenges and opportunities faced by tropical nations across the world. Like the rest of the world but to a greater and more pressing extent than some, these nations are facing difficult environmental problems, such as  rising sea levels and deforestation, and (at least partially) resulting demographic changes.

    When you hear the word tropics you might envisage a sun-drenched, golden sandy beach framed with lush palm trees, gentle idyllic turquoise seas and sunshine aplenty. But there’s far more to the tropics than hot weather and beaches, so let’s find out more. The Tropics are areas of the Earth which surround the equator and span three continents. In terms of countries and geographical coverage, In what is known as bio-geography, the tropics are divided into two types. These are the Paleotropics; across Africa, Asia and Australia, and the Neotropics; across the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.

    Where Did The Word “Tropics” Come From?

    It is believed to have derived from the Greek word ‘tropos’, which means “turn”, because the apparent position of the Sun moves between the two tropics within a year.

    How Many People Live In The Tropics?

    It is believed that the tropics account for a third of the world’s human population and cover 36 per cent of the Earth’s landmass, across 40 per cent of the planet’s surface. If you’re looking at a map or globe, you’ll be able to locate the tropics between the latitude lines of the Tropic of Cancer and The Tropic of Capricorn.

    The Tropic of Cancer is in the Northern Hemisphere at 23°26′10.5″ (or 23.43624°) N, and passes through 17 countries. The Tropic of Capricorn is in the Southern Hemisphere at 23°26′10.5″ (or 23.43624°) S, passing through 10 countries.

    What Is A Tropical Climate Like?

    Tropical locations are generally hot and experience very little seasonal change in day-to-day temperature. According to the National Geographic Society, across the year they average a toasty 25 to 28 degrees Celsius (77 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit).

    5 Interesting Facts:

    1. According to the British Ecological Society, more than two thirds of the world’s biodiversity reside in tropical regions, providing important ecosystem functions and services at global and local levels.
    2. The tropics are home to more than half of the world’s renewable water resources (54%), yet almost half of their population is believed to be vulnerable to water stress.
    3. The vast majority of the world’s extreme poor are believed to live in tropical countries (85%).
    4. Access to electricity is an issue for 1 in 5 people in the tropics, as over 20% of the population did not have access to electricity as recently as 2017. That is compared to 3.5% of the rest of the world.
    5. At the equator, every day of the year has the same number of hours of light and dark. Between the two tropical zones, which includes the equator, the sun is directly overhead two times per year. The Sun is never directly overhead outside of these tropical areas.

    The tropics are vast, diverse and naturally abundant, but vulnerable in many ways. It is important that we learn about them and their challenges and how we can help to support and protect them.

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