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2.1: Climate Change and Site Analysis

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    This page defines climate zones, climatic patterns and the effects of climate change.

    Where Am I?


    There are recurring characteristics in every climate that will affect the land, and what can grow and live there. These recurring characteristics are called climatic patterns. By understanding climatic patterns, you can incorporate the characteristics into your plan, use them to inform your choices and create a more effective permaculture design.

    In this book we will focus on Earth’s three major climate zones (climate types). There are many more then 3 climate zones; the Earth is an incredibly diverse place with great variability! But for the purposes of the introductory book we will look at the three most general categories: Tropical, Drylands and Temperate zones. Let’s take a closer look at these now, and explore the climatic patterns of each one.

    Three Major Climate Zones



    For greater detail, please see the Koppen-Geiger Climate Classification System.

    The Effects of Climate Change


    The climate is changing and weather extremes are increasing throughout the planet. Changing climatic patterns can have an effect on native plants, animals, weather, temperature, agriculture, sea levels, energy use, and much more. A Permaculture design is “permanent” because it is planned around resilience to extreme weather events. A Permaculture designer studies historical and projected weather events, and uses these to make informed design choices. Understanding weather and climate are important for the designer to have all the information to make the best design choices.

    View the following video and explore the links below to learn more about the projected changes for locations around the globe.


    A YouTube element has been excluded from this version of the text. You can view it online here:

    What Will You Do?

    Ask yourself “What are the major climatic patterns that determine the conditions which I will respond to with my Permaculture designs? How are my design parameters potentially affected as the climate changes?”

    Image Sources

    This page titled 2.1: Climate Change and Site Analysis is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Andrew Millison (Oregon State University, Open Educational Resources Unit) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.