The planet Coyote is composed of 2/3 land and about 1/3 water. The majority of the water is located in the northern hemisphere. The relatively large size (1.6 times the diameter of the Earth) and 25 hour rotation period leads to a strong northern west to east jet stream blowing over the ocean. The result is plentiful water in all the northern land areas and much of the northern portions of the tropical regions. The high mountains and extensive land areas in the southern portion of the plant results in a large temperate desert where 90% of the little precipitation falls as snow during the winter months. The amount of rain dominates the life on the planet. In the northern hemisphere the majority of the land is covered with lush rain forest, as the tropics are reached there begins to be more savanna and even some hot deserts. In the southern hemisphere, the majority of the land is desert with a few isolated pockets of deciduous forests on the windward side of the few large bodies of water.
The Oceans on Coyote are very rich with life. In the northern hemisphere, there is a strong wind driven clockwise current in the oceans providing plenty of up welling nutrients. As a result the oceans are rich in photosynthesizing single cell life. These primitive creatures form the base of the food chain and about 25% of all the oxygen produced on the planet. It is also widely believed that similar life was the first on the planet 5.5 billion years ago. In the southern hemisphere the oceans are smaller and less affected by the wind. As a result, they have far less nutrients and single cell life. In these oceans, the dominate source of oxygen are the sea weeds and kelps. These plants provide sufficient oxygen for a host of animals which scavenge the dead plants and feed on each other.
The northern temperate rain forests receive between 60 and 350 inches of rain per year and cover about 12% of the planet. In spite of the mild climate, strong winter storms with fierce winds keep the trees from growing too tall. The high winter winds and the gravity of 1.6 times the Earth's make for some very sturdy trees. Under the tree canopy, life of all sorts is very abundant. The trees harbor a host of animals, mosses, algae, parasites and insects. In addition to the rain forests, there are a number of large fresh water swamps and salt water marshes in the relatively flat northern areas. Many of these areas are covered with specially adapted trees which only put down roots as anchors. All collection of water and air is done in the upper portion of the tree. These trees have leaves and flower like collectors which function as roots gathering water and air for respiration. As a result, these trees grow equally well in salt or fresh water. The root system of these trees forms the functional equivalent of a reef, which harbors an enormous variety of life. The temperate wet lands comprise about 5% of the planets land area.
The tropical rain forests are similar to the temperate rain forests, except the trees grow taller and the diversity of life is greater. The tropical rain forests make up about 6% of the land area. In land form the tropical rain forest, lies a great area of savanna about 10% of the total land. In the northern hemisphere rain is plentiful in the winter and scarce in the summer. The resulting area is largely covered with grass, shrubs and a few trees that store water for the dry season. South of the equator, the coastal tropical regions are largely seasonal with slow moving winter monsoons and dry hot summers about 5%. Due to the feast or famine rain these areas are rich in plants which store water or lie dormant during the dry season. Inland from the southern tropical oceans, the climate becomes very arid and is marked by some very hot dry deserts comprising 12% of the land. In these deserts, the majority of the plants lie dormant until water is received when a rapid life cycle takes place.
The southern land area comprises
half the land on the planet and is 85% desert, 10% savanna and 5% deciduous
forest. The few forests are on the windward sides (eastern) sides of the
large bodies of water. The high mountains squeeze what little water there
is in the air into these forests. The interior of the southern land masses
is almost all desert with some seasonal savanna on the southern side of
the large bodies of water. The majority of the deserts are hot in the summer
and cold in the winter. The vast majority of the precipitation that does
fall occurs in the winter in the form of snow. The larger plants in the
area have developed large wax covered leaves which collect the snow, provide
a good dark background to melt it, and funnel it directly into the spongy
interior for storage. This adaptation allows the plant to collect valuable
water even if the ground is frozen solid. Due to the large amount of highlands
there are a number of scattered springs and water sources in the lower
elevations of the southern deserts. These areas provide very localized
regions of rich vegetation and animal life, but they fade rapidly into
desert once the water is used up by the thirsty plant and animal life.
Most of the animal life in the southern hemisphere is adapted for mobility
and economy of water. The thick atmosphere and need for mobility has resulted
in a large number of airborne animal species, and some desert dwelling
animals that can go for a year or more without a single drink of water.
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