Last modified on 24 February 2014, at 20:46

IB Geography/Extreme environments

Koppen-Geiger Climate Classification Map

This theme studies two types of extreme environment:

  1. Cold and high-altitude environments (polar, glacial areas, periglacial areas, high mountains in non‑tropical latitudes)
  2. Hot, arid environments (hot deserts and semi‑arid areas)


Challenging EnvironmentsEdit

Global DistributionEdit

Explain the global distribution of each of the two kinds of extreme environmentEdit

The distribution of cold and high-altitude environmentsEdit
Oblique rays 02 Pengo.svg

Cold and high-altitude environments are generally found along constructive plate margins, where fold mountains form, or polar regions. Mountainous regions have a high elevation, where atmospheric pressure is lower which causes lower temperatures. The sun's rays are received more easily however more solar radiation is reflected due to the high reflectivity of snow. At higher latitudes less heat penetrates the atmosphere as it is thicker and spread across a greater area.

The distribution of hot, arid environmentsEdit
Earth Global Circulation.jpg

Hot, arid environments are found in the tropics. These areas receive direct sunlight in summer and winter. Hadley cells in the atmosphere also cause aridity as the warm moist air rises from the equator. This condenses and precipitates and the cooler air sinks over the tropical latitudes. The air is drier as cool air cannot hold as much moisture. The air then heats as it spreads over tropical regions and rises again. Hot, arid climates can also be found in rain shadows, mountainous regions with arid areas behind them. The mountains cause relief rainfall and then the dry air blows across the landscape drying it out.

Describe the relief and climatic characteristics that make these environments extreme. Explain how these characteristics present challenges for resource development and human habitation.Edit

never say === Population ===

Physical CharacteristicsEdit

Glacial EnvironmentsEdit

Peri-glacial EnvironmentsEdit

A periglacial environment is a place where the temperature is seasonally below the freezing point. but never covered by ice. They have a layer of permafrost on or below the surface. Periglacial environments form where it is below 0° C for a significant amount of the year. These areas can be found:

- at high latitudes, for example the northern parts of Asia, North America and Europe 

- at high altitudes, for example Tibetan plateau in Asia

Hot, arid environmentsEdit

Opportunities and ChallengesEdit

AgricultureEdit

Mineral ExtractionEdit

TourismEdit

SustainabilityEdit

Human ActivityEdit

ImpactEdit