Definition of Vertical Climate

Definition of Vertical Climate
••• Mountain image by Click675 from

Vertical climate is characterized by a terrestrial landscape that changes dramatically with an increase in altitude. As mountains rise, the climate surrounding them changes based on elevation. Vertical climates can exist in all parts of the world, but are most pronounced in the tropics where an ice-covered peak such as Kilimanjaro can be seen from the hot grasslands that are located at the base of the mountain.

Effects of Mountains

Mountain ranges that rise to a considerable height have two basic effects on circulating air masses. The large land mass causes the air to lose heat as it rises up the side of the peak. As the air is cooled, it loses its ability to hold water, and as a result increased precipitation can occur.

Climate Zones

The different types of flora and fauna that grow and live on mountain slopes usually exist in very distinct climate zones. These zones are primarily based on elevation with changes being rather abrupt. In Latin America, for example, the mountain zones are called tierra caliente, or "hot land;" tierra templada, or "temperate land;" tierra fria, the "cold land;" and tierra helado, or "land of ice," which contains the mountain's perpetual snow line.

Mountain Ranges

Large mountain ranges that run in a north-south direction often exhibit more pronounced effects of vertical climate change. This is because the formidable wall of rock and stone forms a long barrier to westward moving air masses. As a result, there is much uplifting of air and a subsequent large release of moisture on the west side of the mountains. Meanwhile, the eastern flanks remain dry and rocky.

Related Articles

What Happens When Air Goes Down the Leeward Side?
What Causes a Rain Shadow?
How Do Mountains Affect Precipitation?
How Do Landforms and Bodies of Water Affect Climate?
The Three Types of Weather Fronts
What Are the 4 Main Types of Landforms?
List of Landforms and Slope Landforms
What Causes Geologic Tilting?
What Are the Most Common Landforms?
How Does Elevation Affect Weather?
Where Are the Temperate Zones Located?
What Are Four Major Landforms?
How Do Temperature Inversions Influence Air Pollution?
What Is the Difference Between the Troposphere & the...
Characteristics of Arid Climates
The Effects of Topography on the Climate
Definition of a Land Ecosystem
How Landforms Affect Weather
What Effect Does Geography Have on Climate?
The Different Types of Landforms

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!