BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Global Health and Tropical Climate



Tropical Climates are generally described as dry climates in which there are average temperatures of at least 18 °C (64 °F). The tropics are characterized by hot and humid weather as well as abundant rainfall due to the active vertical uplift or convection of air. In areas that have tropical climates, there are usually two seasons- the wet and the dry seasons only. Typically, these kinds of climates, located around the equator, feature no frost and have limited changes in the solar angle. Temperatures in tropical climates remain relatively constant- mostly hot, throughout the two seasons of the year. There are three variations of the tropical climates and they include:

  1. Tropical rain forest climate: In cities like Kismu, Kenya and Santos, Brazil
  2. Tropicalmonsoon climate: In cities like Kochi, India and Libreville, Gabon
  3. Tropical wet and dry climate: In cities like Lagos, Nigeria and Naples Florida in the United States

As stated earlier, the major characteristic of tropical regions is the persistence of high temperatures almost all year round. High temperatures have health impacts and consequences in countries and geographical locations with tropical climates.  This is because temperature has an important influence on the presence and survival of insect vectors that cause vector-borne infectious disease. Specifically, warm temperatures are known to enhance vector breeding as well as facilitate the maturation period of pathogens within vector organisms. Of most significance are various species of mosquito vectors, which transmit diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and yellow fever. This perpetuates the death toll of malaria since adult mosquitoes thrive mostly in warm tropical temperatures because they need humid conditions to remain viable.

The sensitivity of diseases to climate is demonstrated by the fact that diseases such as malaria are mostly confined to tropical and subtropical regions. This climatic sensitivity is also illustrated by the increased transmission of malaria in deserts and highland fringe areas where there are high temperatures and rainfall. Additionally, diarrhoeal diseases vary seasonally in the tropics, suggesting sensitivity to climate. They typically peak during rainy seasons emphasizing that floods and droughts increase the risk of diarrhoeal diseases. Important etiologic agents of diarrhoea linked to heavy rainfall and contaminated water supplies are: Cryptosporidium, E. coli, Giardia lambia, Shigella dysentrae, and Hepatitis A virus.

Given their humidity, many tropical areas provide the desired environment required for the adaptation of their various domicile plants and animals. The tropics are homes for many small animals including monkeys, birds, snakes, rodents, frogs, and lizards. Many of these animals and a multitude of insects remain on trees, never setting foot on the ground- using the tall trees for shelter and hiding places from their predators.


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