Saturday, October 17, 2009

Introduction: The Dry Tropics

My garden is located in an area of northern Australia that is best described as a 'dry tropics' region. The area has a tropical climate - but because of its geographical location, it does not receive as much rainfall as elsewhere in the tropics. Further north the coastline runs north/south and the trade winds are lifted to produce rainfall through the year. However, my region lies on a section of coastline that turns east/west. so the lifting effect is not present. This results in over 300 days of sunshine and a very long dry spell each year.

Our climate can be characterized by two distinct seasons: a short 'wet' with considerable rainfall, and a long 'dry' period for the remainder of the year.

The summer months (December to February) are hot and humid with tropical thunderstorms usually starting around mid-December. Bursts of monsoon rains can occur from late December through to early April and it's during this period that tropical cyclones can also threaten our region.

Most rain falls during our 'wet' season from December to March. But due to the 'hit and miss' nature of tropical thunderstorms, there is considerable variation from year to year. We can record around 450mm in a dry year and around 1700mm in a very wet year.

The winter months (June to August) are dominated by strong south-east trade winds and mostly fine weather, blue skies, warm days and cool nights - although every now and then we can experience a day or two of showery weather.

Temperatures here can range from a minimum daytime temp. of 13 degrees C in the winter months ... to a maximum of 35 degrees C in the summer months.

During the 'dry'

During the 'wet'

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