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Watch the Seasons Change
Tropical vs. Temperate Zones

Watch how the seasons change in different parts of the globe. Try this simple activity once a month from March to June. Predict the temperature and day length at your home in the temperate zone. Do the same for the monarch’s winter home in the tropics. Each month, check your predictions against the actual data.

Charts for Predictions and Data

Weather and Photoperiod of Monarch Sanctuary Region

  1. When do you predict the monarchs will leave the over-wintering region?
  2. Why do you think they’ll leave on the date you predicted?
  3. What environmental cues might tell them it’s time to leave?

Seasons in the Tropics: Wet and Dry

What causes the wet and dry seasons in the tropics? See National Weather Service

Find the Tropic of Cancer on a globe (23.5 N). If you live north of this line, you live in the "temperate zone." In general, temperatures fluctuate greatly with the seasons in the temperate zone. So does the amount of day light (photoperiod).

Below the Tropic of Cancer--and all the way to the Tropic of Capricorn (23.5 S)--is the region known as the "tropics." In the tropics, temperatures and photoperiod don't vary much year round. However, precipitation does vary greatly.

There are distinct dry and rainy seasons in the tropics. The cycle of the seasons in the sanctuary region of Mexico follows this pattern:

  • Dry Season: November to May
  • Rainy Season: May to October


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