Q:

What is an equatorial climate?

A:

Areas lying near or at the equator have a tropical rain forest climate, or equatorial climate. This type of climate is characterized by warm, moist air; heavy rainfalls year-round; and an average temperature of 77 F.

Tropical rain forests receive an average of 4 inches of rain every month. Because the air in these areas is so humid, at least 50 percent of the rainfall received is formed in the area rather than travels to the area from somewhere else. After the rain falls, it is heated by the sun and turned into vapor which is pulled back up into the air, creating more rain. Equatorial climates have a large number of trees with wide leaves and branches. This canopy of trees keeps a large amount of the rainfall the area receives from ever reaching the ground. The water primarily stays in the trees. Because of the location at or near the equator, the temperature rarely drops below 64 F. The closer to the equator an area is, the more solar radiation it is exposed to which creates warmer temperatures. Because equatorial areas don't experience much movement closer or further away from the sun, the climate does not experience a seasonal change throughout the year like other areas do.

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