Environmental Chemistry

Abiotic Factors – Definition, Types, Examples

These are the non-living parts of our environment that can have a major influence on living organisms in nature. Moreover, these factors involve water, oxygen, sunlight, soil, and temperature. However, water is one of the most important abiotic factors as we say that ‘water is life’. All living organisms require water for their cycle of life.

abiotic factors

Definition of Abiotic Factors

Abiotic factors are typically the one which we can identify very easily. However, there are generally more physical data than biological data. We have huge confidence in measuring things such as temperature than fish landings or the zooplankton abundance. The abiotic factors are traditionally visible as dominating the ecology of high altitudes, this also includes the alpine forest.

Sunlight, temperature, water and the gas phase nutrients can differ with altitude substantially. In addition, many factors that are influencing the leaf energy balance and the temperature might vary with the elevation. Moreover, this also includes solar radiation and longwave radiation, wind and humidity.

The most popular abiotic change with an increase in elevation is the decline of air temperature in response to the lower ambient pressure. The ambient pressure decreases by about 20% at 2 km and over 50% when 6 km. This leads to a maximum dry adiabatic lapse potential of 1.0 degree Celsius/100 m.

Also, dry lapse conditions in the summers generate cold air temperatures at higher elevations that are near values for the wet lapse conditions. This occurs during the winters. Therefore, this helps in evaluating the transpiration potential for plants growing on the hills and the mountains of the temperate and tropical zones.

Types of Abiotic Factors

Some types of Abiotic factors are as follows:

Temperature and Light

The temperature of the air and the water affect the animals, plants, and humans in nature. A rise in temperature is capable of changing the way a living thing develops. This is because it changes the metabolic rate of organisms. All living organisms have a level of tolerance for the range of the temperature.


All living organisms need some intake of water. Water covers 70% of the surface of the earth and also falls as rain and snow on the land. In an environment that has a little water.

In the situation of less water, only the organisms that need a small or very less amount of water can survive over there. Water is essential for each n every living thing. On the other hand, every living organism has a different amount of the requirement.


The atmosphere sustains life on earth. Animals and other living creatures breathe oxygen or they filter it from the water. Whereas the plants grow with the help of the presence of carbon dioxide. Living things combine the oxygen and the carbon as a result, they make carbohydrates.

Chemical Elements

Chemical elements act within the environment to impact what kind of category of the organisms can grow or thrive in that region. The chemical composition that includes the acidity level has a large impact on the plants in the region. However, the chemical elements make all the matter.


Notably, some other factors also affect abiotic factors. This is evident especially with the wind. The wind speed and the directions also affect the temperature and the humidity as well, in a particular area. Wind also helps in carrying seeds and aids pollination, as a result, spreading life. This lets plants forms move out of an area.

Questions on Abiotic Factor

Ques. Which one of the following is an abiotic factor?

A. Trees and temperature.
B. Trees and rainfall.
C. Bacteria and predators.
D. Temperature and rainfall.

Ans. D. Temperature and rainfall.

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