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    Question How do I create Biomes for my World?

    Hi, everyone!

    Little introduction: I'm a beginner at Cartography and already in love with it!

    I've been cooking up this continent for a week, I've tried different angles of attack, but didn't really get far.
    Eventually I decided to make one using this amazing Saderan tutorial I found on this forums.
    So I retraced my initial sketches and lifted up some elevation. However as I was about to add vegetation, I realized I couldn't tell where to put it.

    The problem is that I find it hard to judge Biomes merely by gazing at the elevation. I do know there will be a big desert in the middle, but apart from that I'm kind of clueless.

    Now I'm wondering, does any of you have a way of doing this? For example by predicting rainfall and evaporation patterns etc.

    Oh and if you have any constructive criticism about any other aspect, I'd be glad to hear!

    This is my preliminary continent, I've added some geographical indications so you'd know how big it is and where it is positioned.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Ascension's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
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    If there is going to be a desert in the middle then south of that will be tropical jungle and in the north it will be temperate. If you want the north to be icy cold stuff then the desert will have to be rather small to accommodate the temperature ranges for a full continent.
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  3. #3
    Administrator Redrobes's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
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    If your world rotates in the same direction as Earth then there will be vegetation on the coast lands then when it hits a north south ridge of mountains, the area to the right of it will be dry. The rain will have fallen over them and the air becomes dry. Rivers will flow from them out to the sea along which might be some more vegetation. There may be some oasis in the deserts as well. As soon as you can get some prevailing winds coming in from the sea it will carry rain. Just about anywhere where there is water there is vegetation.

  4. #4
    Guild Adept moutarde's Avatar
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    Oct 2009


    You might want to check out A Magical Society: Guide to Mapping. It's a free (37 page) excerpt from a larger publication that covers all the basics of biomes, wind and air currents, tectonics, and some other things if I remember correctly. Lots of good info in there to help you get a handle on things

  5. #5
    Software Dev/Rep Guild Sponsor waldronate's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    The High Desert


    As I posted in a different thread, an ideal flat continent looks roughly like this:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Note the ocean currents, as they are the major heat transport mechanism and are one of the main reasons for the asymmetry across the latitudes (the biomes are tilted like that rather than going straight across). Also note that altitude has the effect of forcing the biome as if the spot were farther north because the altitude reduces the temperature. If there are other continents around, they will have the potential to strongly influence ocean currents. I recommend at least roughing-in the rest of the continents to see how they would block currents (both air and water). Air currents carry moisture for rainfall. Evaporation is strongest at the equator, with the moist air rising and raining out there; there is a descending limb of that same cell at around 35 degrees latitude that causes the deserts at around those latitudes (see Hadley cells at for more info).

    Take a peek at for some good examples of how the biomes on earth look.

    For your continent (especially with those mountain ranges at top and bottom), you'll have a huge interior desert, as you noted. The latitude variations will probably only show along the left and right edges of the continent. The top-left edge of the continent should be a fair bit warmer than expected due to the ability of warm currents to push into the arctic. The seaward sides of both mountain ranges should have major rainfall because the rising hot air in the interior will pull huge amounts of moist oceanic air toward the center.

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