I am trying to make three neighbouring countries with varying climates. One country needs to basically be Arizona (Especially like the Monument Valley area with the red sand and those iconic buttes), the second needs to be more to the south and be like steriotypical Australia (so even more wild/rugged) and then a country to the north that is very mountainous with many peaks and highlands being to far up that they have snow almost year round.

Is it possible to get all these different biomes bordering each other without needing to make each of the countries Russia sized? in other words what is the minumim size these countries would have to be to be physically bordering each other (no between them) while still having abovementioned terrain

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Does Washington State satisfy the requirements for the third country? Also, how is Australia more rugged than Monument Valley? $\endgroup$
    – puppetsock
    Jan 21, 2020 at 19:36
  • $\begingroup$ Australia is diverse. Do you want tropics and temperate zones, or just the outback? $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Jan 21, 2020 at 19:50
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It sounds like you've just described the stretch from the Chihuahua desert in Mexico through Arizona to the Rocky Mountains, which is somewhere around 1000 miles, so that's a decent upper limit as a starting point. $\endgroup$ Jan 21, 2020 at 19:50
  • $\begingroup$ Turn that into an answer @NuclearWang and you have my vote. Especially if you include a map. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Jan 22, 2020 at 0:34

2 Answers 2


I suspect that the border between Arizona and Australia would not be too difficult to arrange as both are hot and arid. The snow covered mountains could be arranged simply by having very tall mountains with a moist prevailing wind. Raising the altitude of the air would produce a drop in temperature and the water would condense. At a high enough altitude it would turn to snow. After passing over the mountains the air would be very dry and could then pass over your other environments warming as it went with the decrease in altitude. I would have thought that 200-500 miles should be enough space to fit all 3 in.


Mountains separate climates in surprising ways. Consider the Atlas Mountains that separate the Mediterranean Basin from the Sub Saharian African area. A river like the Nile can also explain why an area is fertile in an otherwise arid region. A third factor are oceanic currents, that alter temperature ranges and with it wind currents.

  • $\begingroup$ The Atlas mountain range is on the northern boundary of the Sahara; it separates the Mediterranean basin from the Sahara. The entire Sahara lies between the Atlas and sub-Saharan Africa. (It is called sub-Saharan because it is south of the Sahara; the Sahara itself is not part of sub-Sharan Africa.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jan 21, 2020 at 23:07

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