Whittaker biome diagram from Chapin, Matson, Mooney Ecosystem Ecology text.
Whittaker long ago attempted to explain the major patterns of vegetation in the world with combinations of temperature and precipitation. The Whittaker biome diagram is a fundamental starting point for understanding the vegetation of the world.
There are general questions about the overarching role of climate in determining biomes vs. other state and interactive factors, as well as what the boundaries should be and how much to subdivide biomes.
With recent advances in our understanding of the distribution of climate across the globe, we can now see that some of the patterns were not detailed initially correctly. Andrew Elmore and I redrew the Whittaker biome diagram to also include the actual distribution of land area for each combination of temperature and precipitation.
A few major things change.
1) Tropical forests exist in areas much wetter than originally detailed. Much forest exists between 4.5 and 7 m of rain.
2) Most of the world's temperate wet forests are at about 4°C. Whittaker would have lopped off much of them.
3) There are scattered high precipitation areas between what was considered temperate and tropical wet forests. This happens to largely be Hawaii. These have never been classified into temperate vs. tropical biomes.