Difference between tropics and subtropics.

The tropics and subtropics are quite close climatic zones - both in geography and in flora and fauna. But both have their own characteristics. What are they?

Facts about the tropics

The territory of the tropics can be defined according to various criteria. Geographically, they are located between the equator and a parallel corresponding to a latitude of 23.5 degrees. In this zone, the Sun is most active throughout the year. This is the reason for the extremely hot climate in the tropics.

The peculiarity of some spaces of the geographic zone in question is a high level of atmospheric pressure, as a result of which precipitation falls on the corresponding territories relatively rarely. It is in such tropics that the largest deserts on the planet are located - the Sahara, Kalahari, Libyan. However, there are tropics with a humid climate - they are mainly found in equatorial Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia.

In tropical zones, where high atmospheric pressure is formed, the average temperature in the summer months is about 25-30 degrees, winter - about 12 degrees. Speaking specifically about the territories of the African deserts, the temperature in summer here can exceed 50 degrees. But in winter, the corresponding indicator is approximately equal to that observed in other zones with high atmospheric pressure.

Facts about the subtropics

Subtropics, again, speaking in the language of geography, are located between the tropics - that is, a parallel at latitude 23, 5 degrees, as well as the temperate zone, which, in turn, begins at about 45 degrees. Note that many experts prefer to measure the subtropics from 30 degrees. Thus, between them and the tropics, if you follow this approach, there is a certain transition zone.

The peculiarity of the subtropics is in hot summers, comparable in terms of basic temperature indicators to tropical ones, and at the same time in rather cool winters.

There are 4 main types of subtropics - semi-dry, semi-humid, humid, and also arid - with mild winters with high rainfall and dry summers. It can be noted that the Black Sea coast of the Russian Federation is represented mainly by semi-dry and semi-humid subtropics.

The average annual temperature in the considered climatic zone is 14 degrees and above. In summer - from 20 degrees, in winter - from 4. At the same time, the corresponding indicator for the coldest month, as a rule, does not fall below 0 degrees. But in the subtropics in winter, significant frosts can also be observed - up to minus 15-20 degrees.


The main difference between the tropics and the subtropics is, first of all, in the geographical latitude. The first climatic zone is within 23.5 degrees relative to the equator. The second is between 23.5 and 45 degrees, or, according to another common version, between 30 and 45.

The summer climate in the tropics is not as strong in contrast to the winter climate as it is in the subtropics. A significant percentage of the tropics are year-round dry areas. They can receive no more than 100-200 mm of precipitation throughout the year. In turn, there are practically no subtropical zones characterized by an equally low amount of precipitation in average annual terms.

Having determined what is the difference between the tropics and subtropics, we will enter the criteria we have identified in a small table.


Tropics Subtropics
Are located to a parallel corresponding to a latitude of 23.5 degrees relative to the equatorAre located between parallels at latitudes corresponding to 23.5 (according to one of the common points of view - 30) and 45 degrees
The average annual temperature in summer is 25-30 degrees, in winter - about 12 degrees, frosts are rareThe average annual temperature in summer is about 20 degrees, in winter - about 4 degrees, frosts are observed regularly
There is a significant percentage of year-round dry areasAn extremely small percentage of year-round dry areas (but precipitation may be minimal in summer)