Investigating Australia's Physical Environments

Essay by fryj01Junior High, 8th grade May 2008

download word file, 3 pages 0.0

Investigating Australia’s Physical Environments“No country in the world is the same as another, but Australia is particularly rich in characteristics and features that make it unique.” Australia has a very different climate, landforms, fauna, flora, soil and indigenous communities. All these factors contribute to Australia’s uniqueness.

Australia’s climate is unique due to its extremes. Due to its size, the cold ocean currents, overall flatness and the dominance of high pressure systems, Australia has a variety of climates. The main feature is its dryness. Rainfall in Australia is low and very unreliable. Almost two-thirds of Australia’s surface area is desert or semi desert. There are places in Australia which receive less than 300mm of rain a year. Northern Australia lies in the Tropics and they experience warm to hot temperatures all year round. They witness monsoonal weather and get most of their rain in heavy thunderstorms. Eastern Australia receives light rain all year round with warm summers and cold winters, especially in Tasmania and the Snowy Mountains.

Western Australia is dry all year because of high pressure systems. In some places it rains less than 200mm a year. Southern Australia receives light winter rain with dry summers.

Australian flora is among the most unique in the world. The characteristically Australian vegetation is dominated by eucalypts, acacias, wattle, mulga, casuarinas and hammock grasses. The special character of the Australian flora is mainly due to the dominance of eucalypts. Australia’s eucalypts are well adapted to the conditions in which they exist. Sclerophyll forests are forests that have adapted to the harsh, dry Australian conditions and they can withstand drought and regenerate after bushfires. Some non-eucalypt vegetation is acacias, mulga, casuarinas and hummock grasses. Rainforests cover just 0.25% of the Australian continent. Because of long periods of isolation in its geographic history, Australia is...