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Climate and Adaptations

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Climate and Adaptations - Lesson Summary

The average weather pattern taken over a longer time is called the climate of the place.

Different parts of the earth have different types of climate. The sun is responsible for this difference in climatic conditions.

Climate is described in terms of overall temperature distributions and air pressure. Based on the precipitation and the temperature five major types of climates are recognised. They are,
     •  Moist tropical climate
     •  Dry climate
     •  Humid middle latitude climate
     •  Continental climate
     •  Cold climate

Moist Tropical Climates are known for their high temperatures and large amount of rain around the year.

Dry Climates are characterised by little rain and a high daily temperature range.

In Humid Middle Latitude Climates, land or water differences play a key part. These climates have warm, dry summers, and cool, wet winters.

Continental Climate is characterised by winter temperatures low enough to support a fixed period of snow cover every year, a relatively moderate precipitation occurring mostly in summer, and an even distribution of precipitation.

Polar areas have cold climates as they are covered by ice almost all the year round. Most areas are covered by glaciers or by a semi-permanent layer of ice.

Climate has an intense effect on all living organisms. Animals adapt themselves to survive various conditions in which they live. Animals that live in extreme climates acquire some special features to protect themselves from it. Animals evolve to acquire these features and habits to adapt to their environment.
Example: The camel has a hump to store food in the form of fat, and hooves to tread on the desert sand with ease.

Adaptation of animals in Polar region
Regions like, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Alaska in the United States and Siberia in Russia are in the northern polar region.
The temperature in the polar areas may go down to -370C during winters.
Animals like polar bears, penguins and many types of fish, musk oxen, reindeer, foxes, seals, whales and birds are found in the polar regions.

Adaptation in Polar bears - Camouflage
     •  Polar bears protect themselves with the thick fur on their bodies.
     •  They have two layers of fur for protection from the extreme climate.
     •  They also have a layer of fat under the skin, and are very well insulated. In fact, they often take rest to avoid getting overheated.
     •  The polar bear often goes for a swim to cool off on warm days. Its wide and large paws are useful for swimming as well as for walking on the snow.

Adaptation in Penguin
The bodies of penguins are white, and merge into the background. They have a thick layer of skin and move around in groups to keep warm.
Their streamlined bodies and webbed feet make penguins swift swimmers.

Fish survival in Polar region
Water retains its warmth under the icy layer. Fish go deeper in the water to stay warm.

Migration of Siberian cranes
Birds have to stay warm to survive. Hence, at the onset of winter, these birds migrate to warmer areas. They come back again in the summer.

Siberian cranes migrate to far-off places like Bharatpur in Rajasthan, Sultanpur in Haryana and also to some wetlands of north-eastern India. They fly here all the way from Siberia. Birds travel thousands of kilometers to migrate. During the day, the sun guides them, and the stars do so in the night.

Tropical rain forests
Tropical rain forests spread around the equator. Temperatures like 15°C in winter and 40 ° C in summer are characteristic features of this region. Day and night are of equal duration through year. The Western Ghats and Assam in India, South East Asia, Central Africa and the Amazon in Central America experience this type of climate.
These regions receive abundant rainfall. A significant feature about this region is the tropical forest.
A wide variety of plants and animals are found in these regions due to the continuous warmth and rain.
The major types of animals living in this type of rainforests are monkeys, apes, gorillas, lions, tigers, elephants, leopards, lizards, snakes, birds and insects.

Adaptation in Tropical Rain Forests
     •  Most of the tropical animals have sensitive hearing, sharp eyesight and thick skin. They also have skin colour that helps them to disguise and protect themselves from predators.
     •  All animals have some special feature, like good eyesight, sharp claws, long beaks, sensitive hearing or long trunks, to protect themselves.
     •  Some animals of the rainforest have special features that help them to find food and live on trees.
For example, a toucan has a long, large beak. This helps it to reach the fruits on branches that are otherwise too weak to support its body weight.
     •  Red-eyed frogs have sticky pads on their feet to help climb trees. Monkeys also have long tails that help them to hold on to branches. This is how they adapt to find food and live on trees.
     •  A lion-tailed macaque stands out for the silver-white mane that covers the head from the cheeks to the chin. It is also known as a Beard ape and can climb very well. It survives mainly on fruits, seeds, stems, young leaves, flowers and buds. Macaques spend the maximum time of life on trees as they get sufficient food on the tree itself.
     •  The elephant has such large ears and tusks. The tusks are modified teeth and are used to tear the bark of trees for food. The large ears help it hear even very soft sounds. They also keep it cool in this hot and humid climate. 

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