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In
geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the word γεωγρα ...

geography
, the temperate climates (sometimes ''tepid climates'') of
Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is Water distribution on Earth, covered wit ...
occur in the
middle latitudes The middle latitudes (also called the mid-latitudes, sometimes midlatitudes, or moderate latitudes) are a spatial region on Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of E ...
(40° to 60° N/S of Equator), which span between the
tropics The tropics are the region of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continent A continent is one of several larg ...

tropics
and the
polar regions of Earth The polar regions, also called the frigid zones, of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continent A continent ...
. These zones generally have wider
temperature Temperature is a physical quantity that expresses hot and cold. It is the manifestation of thermal energy, present in all matter, which is the source of the occurrence of heat, a flow of energy, when a body is in contact with another that is ...

temperature
ranges throughout the year and more distinct
season A season is a division of the year based on changes in weather, ecology, and the number of daylight hours in a given region. On Earth, seasons are the result of Earth's orbit around the Sun and Earth's axial tilt relative to the ecliptic plane. In ...

season
al changes compared to
tropical climate Tropical climate is one of the five major climate groups in the Köppen climate classification. Tropical climates are characterized by monthly average temperatures of 18 ℃ (64.4 ℉) or higher year-round and feature hot temperatures. A ...
s, where such variations are often small. In temperate climates, not only do latitudinal positions influence temperature changes, but sea currents, prevailing wind direction, continentality (how large a landmass is), and altitude also shape temperate climates. The
Köppen climate classification The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification 350px, Leslie Holdridge's Life Zone Classification system is essentially a climate classification scheme. Climate classification is a way of categorizing th ...
defines a climate as "temperate" when the mean temperature is above but below in the coldest month. However, other climate classifications set the minimum at .


Zones and climates

The north temperate zone extends from the
Tropic of Cancer The Tropic of Cancer, which is also referred to as the Northern Tropic, is the most northerly circle of latitude In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted t ...

Tropic of Cancer
(approximately 23.5° north latitude) to the
Arctic Circle The Arctic Circle is one of the two polar circle A polar circle is a geographic term for a conditional circular line (arc) referring either to the Arctic Circle or the Antarctic Circle. These are two of the keynote circles of latitude ( ...

Arctic Circle
(approximately 66.5° north latitude). The south temperate zone extends from the
Tropic of Capricorn The Tropic of Capricorn (or the Southern Tropic) is the circle of latitude that contains the subsolar point at the December (or southern) solstice. It is thus the southernmost latitude where the Sun can be seen directly overhead. It also reaches ...
(approximately 23.5° south latitude) to the
Antarctic Circle 350px, ''Map of the Antarctic with the Antarctic Circle in blue.'' The Antarctic Circle is the most southerly of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomic ...
(at approximately 66.5° south latitude). ''In some climate classifications'', the temperate zone is often divided into several smaller climate zones, based on monthly temperatures, the coldest month, and rainfall. These include
humid subtropical climate A humid subtropical climate is a zone of climate characterized by hot and humid summers, and cool to mild winters. These climates normally lie on the southeast side of all continents, generally between latitude In geography, latitude is a g ...
,
Mediterranean climate A Mediterranean climate or dry summer climate is characterized by dry summers and mild, wet winters. The climate receives its name from the Mediterranean Basin, where this climate type is most common. Mediterranean climate zones are typicall ...
,
oceanic Oceanic may refer to: *Of or relating to the ocean *Of or relating to Oceania **Oceanic climate **Oceanic languages **Oceanic person or people, also called "Pacific Islander(s)" Places *Oceanic, British Columbia, a settlement on Smith Island, Br ...
, and
continental climate Continental may refer to: Places * Continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarded as continents. Or ...
.


Subtropics

These are the climates that are typically found toward the more equatorial portion of the temperate zone between 23.5° and 35° north or south, and thus are far more influenced by the tropics than any other temperate climate type, usually having warmer temperatures over the year, longer summers and mild, short winters. Freezing precipitation is uncommon in this portion of the temperate zone. On the winter solstice within this range of latitude, the sun still rises to an altitude of between 31.5 and 43 degrees above the horizon respectively thus contributing to the warmer winters however it does not quite reach the zenith (directly overhead) on the summer solstice hence the definition of being within the temperate zone.


Humid subtropical (Cfa) and monsoon subtropical (Cwa)

Humid subtropical climate A humid subtropical climate is a zone of climate characterized by hot and humid summers, and cool to mild winters. These climates normally lie on the southeast side of all continents, generally between latitude In geography, latitude is a g ...
s generally have long, hot and humid summers with convective showers in summer and a peak seasonal rainfall in the hottest months. Winters are normally mild in the humid subtropics, and warm ocean currents normally are found in coastal areas with humid subtropical climates. This type of climate is normally located along leeward lower east coasts of continents such as in southeast and central
Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America. Sharing the bulk of the Southern Cone with Chile to the west, the country is also bordered b ...
,
Uruguay Uruguay (; ; pt, Uruguai), officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay ( es, República Oriental del Uruguay), is a country in South America South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern He ...

Uruguay
and south of
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, ...
, the southeast portions of
East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the ...
, the
southern United States The southern United States, also known as the American South, the southern states, or simply the South, is a geographic and cultural List of regions of the United States#Official regions of the United States, region of the United States. It is ...
,
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics of South Africa, 59 million people, it is the world's List of countries by population, 23rd-most populous nation a ...

South Africa
,
Ethiopia Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea and Djibouti to the north, Somaliland to the northeast, Somalia to the east, Kenya to the south ...

Ethiopia
, and eastern
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, smal ...

Australia
. In some areas with a humid subtropical climate (most notably southeast
China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 billion. Covering approximately 9.6& ...
and
North India North India is a loosely defined region consisting of the northern part of India. The dominant geographical features of North India are the Indus-Gangetic Plain and the Himalayas, which demarcate the region from the Tibetan Plateau and Central ...

North India
), there is an even sharper wet-dry season, called subtropical monsoon or Cwa. In these regions, winters are quite dry and summers have very heavy rainfall. Some Cwa areas in southern China reported more than 80% of annual precipitation in the 5 warmest months (southwest monsoon).


Mediterranean (Csa, Csb)

Mediterranean climate A Mediterranean climate or dry summer climate is characterized by dry summers and mild, wet winters. The climate receives its name from the Mediterranean Basin, where this climate type is most common. Mediterranean climate zones are typicall ...
s, opposite to the humid subtropical and monsoonal climates, have a dry summer, with rainfall in the winter and cooler months. They occur mostly at the western edges and coasts of the continents and are bounded by arid deserts on their equatorward sides that cause the dry season of summer, and oceanic climates to the poleward sides that are influenced by cool ocean currents and air masses that bring the rainfall of winter. The five main Mediterranean regions of the world are the
Mediterranean Basin In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin (also known as the Mediterranean region or sometimes Mediterranea) is the region of lands around the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by ...
in northwestern
Afro-Eurasia Afro-Eurasia (or Afroeurasia, Field, Henry.The University of California African Expedition: I, Egypt, ''American Anthropologist,'' New Series Vol. 50, No. 3, Part 1 (Jul. - Sep., 1948), pp. 479-493. or Eurafrasia), nickname A nickname is a ...

Afro-Eurasia
, coastal
California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States. With over 39.3million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the List of states and territories of the United States by population, most populous and the List of ...
in the
United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., federal di ...

United States
, the southwest of
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, smal ...

Australia
, the
Western Cape The Western Cape ( af, Wes-Kaap; xh, iNtshona-Koloni) is a provinces of South Africa, province of South Africa, situated on the south-western coast of the country. It is the List of South African provinces by area, fourth largest of the nine pr ...
of
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics of South Africa, 59 million people, it is the world's List of countries by population, 23rd-most populous nation a ...

South Africa
and the south and southwestern coast of Chile.


Subtropical highland (Cfb, Cwb)

These are variants of the subtropical climates found in high altitude plateaus or montane systems either in the tropics or subtropics, they have characteristically mild temperatures year-round, featuring the four seasons in the subtropics and no marked seasons in the tropics, the latter usually remaining mild to cool through most of the year.


Middle latitudes

These climates occur in the middle latitudes, between approximately 23.5° and 66.5° north, and 23° and 66.5° south, and are the ones with the most equal influence from the equator and the poles, and the most prototypical temperate climates with the typical distinct four-season pattern. In these the temperatures remain relatively cool through most of the year, as opposed to mild and warm in the subtropics and cold in the subpolar zone.


Oceanic (Cfb)

The
oceanic climate An oceanic climate, also known as a maritime climate or marine climate, is the Köppen climate classification, Köppen classification of climate typical of west coasts in higher middle latitudes of continents, generally featuring mild summers ...
s are created by the onshore flow from the cool high latitude oceans to their west. This causes the climate to have cool summers and cool (but not cold) winters, and relative humidity and precipitation evenly distributed along the year. These climates are frequently cloudy, and are fairly milder both in winter and summer in comparison to other temperate climates. Annual rainfall is spread throughout the entire year. Regions with this climate include
Northwestern Europe Northwestern Europe, or Northwest Europe, is a loosely defined subregion of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any stri ...
, Northwestern North America, southeastern and southwestern
South America South America is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered fr ...

South America
, southeastern
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, smal ...

Australia
and most of
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island () and the South Island ()—and more than 700 List of islands of New Zealand, smaller islands, coveri ...

New Zealand
.


Subpolar zone

These are temperate climates that compared to the subtropics are on the poleward edge of the temperate zone. Therefore, they still have four marked seasons including a warmer one, but are far more influenced by the polar zones than any other but the very polar climates (
tundra In physical geography, tundra () is a type of biome A biome is a collection of plants and animals that have common characteristics for the environment they exist in. They can be found over a range of continents. Biomes are distinct biologic ...

tundra
and
ice cap climate upright=1.4, Effect of Sun angle on climate, Solar radiation has a lower intensity in polar regions because it travels a longer distance through the atmosphere, and is also spread across a larger surface area due to its oblique angle of approach. A ...
).


Subpolar oceanic (Cfc, Cwc, Csc)

Areas with subpolar oceanic climates feature an oceanic climate but are usually located closer to polar regions. As a result of their location, these regions tend to be on the cool end of oceanic climates. Snowfall tends to be more common here than in other oceanic climates. Subpolar oceanic climates are less prone to temperature extremes than
subarctic climate The subarctic climate (also called subpolar climate, or boreal climate) is a climate Climate is the long-term average of weather, typically averaged over a period of 30 years. More rigorously, it is the mean and variability of meteorological vari ...
s or
continental climate Continental may refer to: Places * Continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarded as continents. Or ...
s, featuring milder winters than these climates. This variant of an oceanic climate is found in parts of coastal
Iceland Iceland ( is, Ísland; ) is a Nordic Nordic most commonly refers to: * Nordic countries, written in plural as Nordics, the northwestern European countries, including Scandinavia, Fennoscandia and the List of islands in the Atlantic Ocean#No ...

Iceland
, the
Faroe Islands The Faroe Islands ( ), or simply the Faroes or Faeroes ( fo, Føroyar ; da, Færøerne ), are a North Atlantic archipelago located north-northwest of Scotland, and about halfway between Norway ( away) and Iceland ( away). Like Greenland, it ...

Faroe Islands
, parts of
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a 96-mile (154 km) Anglo-Scottish bo ...

Scotland
, northwestern coastal areas of
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standard for the Norwegian language, alongside Nynorsk. Bokmål is the preferred ...

Norway
such as
Lofoten Lofoten () is an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of islands, or sometimes a sea containing a small number of scattered islands. Indonesian Archipelago, A ...

Lofoten
and reaching to 70° north on some islands, uplands near the coast of southwestern Norway, the
Aleutian Islands The Aleutian Islands (; ; ale, Unangam Tanaa, literally "Land of the Aleut The Aleuts (; russian: Алеуты, Aleuty), who are usually known in the Aleut language The Aleuts (; russian: Алеуты, Aleuty), who are usually known in the ...
of
Alaska Alaska (; ale, Alax̂sxax̂; ; ems, Alas'kaaq; Yup'ik The Yup'ik or Yupiaq (sg & pl) and Yupiit or Yupiat (pl), also Central Alaskan Yup'ik, Central Yup'ik, Alaskan Yup'ik ( own name ''Yup'ik'' sg ''Yupiik'' dual ''Yupiit'' pl; rus ...

Alaska
and northern parts of the Alaskan Panhandle, some parts of Southern
Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America. Sharing the bulk of the Southern Cone with Chile to the west, the country is also bordered b ...
and Chile (though most regions are still classified as continental subantarctic), and a few highland areas of
Tasmania Tasmania (), abbreviated as TAS, is an island States and territories of Australia, state of Australia. It is located 240 km (150 mi) to the south of the Mainland Australia, Australian mainland, separated from it by Bass Strait. Th ...
, and the
Australian Australians, colloquially referred to as "Aussies", are the citizens Citizenship is the Status (law), status of a person recognized under the law of a country (and/or local jurisdiction) of belonging to thereof. In international law it i ...
and
Southern Alps / Kā Tiritiri o te Moana The Southern Alps (officially, Southern Alps / Kā Tiritiri o te Moana) are a mountain range extending along much of the length of New Zealand's South Island, reaching its greatest elevations near the range's western side. The name "Southern ...
. This type of climate is even found in the very remote parts of the Papuan Highlands in Indonesia. The classification used for this regime is Cfc. In the most marine of those areas affected by this regime, temperatures above 20 °C (68 °F) are extreme weather events, even in the midst of summer. Temperatures above 30 °C (86 °F) have been recorded on rare occasions in some areas of this climate, and in winter temperatures down to −20 °C (−4 °F) have seldom been recorded in some areas.


Human aspects


Demography, fauna and flora

The vast majority of the world's human population resides in temperate zones, especially in the
northern hemisphere The Northern Hemisphere is the half of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continent A continent is one of s ...

northern hemisphere
, due to its greater mass of land. The biggest described number of taxa in a temperate region is found in
southern Africa Southern Africa is the south South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earlier Pro ...
, where some 24,000 taxa (species and infraspecific taxa) have been described, but the native fauna and flora of this region does not have much cultural importance for the majority of the human population of the world that lives in the Temperate Zones of the Northern Hemisphere, only environmental importance.


Agriculture

Farming is a large-scale practice in the temperate regions (except for boreal/subarctic regions) due to the plentiful rainfall and warm summers, because most agricultural activity occurs in the spring and summer, cold winters have a small effect on agricultural production. Extreme winters or summers have a huge impact on the productivity of agriculture.


Urbanization Urbanization (or urbanisation) refers to the population shift from rural A rural landscape in Lappeenranta, South Karelia, Finland. 15 July 2000.">South_Karelia.html" ;"title="Lappeenranta, South Karelia">Lappeenranta, South Karelia, Finla ...

Temperate regions have the majority of the world's population, which leads to large cities. There are a couple of factors why the climate of large city landscapes differs from the climate of rural areas. One factor is the strength of the absorption rate of builds and asphalt, which is higher than natural land. The other large factor is the burning of fossil fuels from buildings and vehicles. These factors have led to the average climate of cities to be warmer than surrounding areas.


Misconceptions

"Temperate Climate" refers to climates between Polar and Tropical. However, there is a gradual change from polar to tropical climates across the middle latitude temperate zones. Normally, in the northern hemisphere, the northern portions of the temperate zone feature
Boreal Boreal, meaning "(far) northern" in Latin and Greek language, Greek, may refer to: Climatology and geography *Boreal (age), the first climatic phase of the Blytt-Sernander sequence of northern Europe, during the Holocene epoch *Boreal climate, a c ...
,
Continental Continental may refer to: Places * Continent * Continental, Arizona, a small community in Pima County, Arizona, US * Continental, Ohio, a small town in Putnam County, US Arts and entertainment * Continental (album), ''Continental'' (album), an alb ...
, and
Oceanic climate An oceanic climate, also known as a maritime climate or marine climate, is the Köppen climate classification, Köppen classification of climate typical of west coasts in higher middle latitudes of continents, generally featuring mild summers ...
s, while the southern portions of the temperate zone are often
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin (also known as the Mediterranean region or sometimes Mediterranea) is the region of lands aroun ...
and
humid subtropical climate A humid subtropical climate is a zone of climate characterized by hot and humid summers, and cool to mild winters. These climates normally lie on the southeast side of all continents, generally between latitude In geography, latitude is a g ...
s. These different climates all fall within the temperate zone which has a basic definition as being any climate with a mean temperature above but below in the coldest month. Obviously winter temperatures will be more mild in southerly portions and colder in the more northerly portions of the northern temperate zone and vice versa in the southern temperate zone. From a floristic standpoint, each of these climate zones have generally temperate vegetation. There is however, an obvious change in flora from the far northern portions of the temperate zone (Boreal) to the far southern portion (humid subtropical). Pines and conifers are endemic and more abundant in the northern portion of the temperate, while palms may be endemic to far southern portions of the temperate zone. Along with this, the humid subtropical climate may be wrongly separated from the Temperate group of climates, and further associated with the Tropical climates, much because of its name, temperatures and the vegetation found in Subtropical zones which can be somewhat similar to that of Tropical regions (For instance the
Atlantic Forest The Atlantic Forest ( pt, Mata Atlântica) is a South America South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. It can ...

Atlantic Forest
of
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, ...
is spread across both Temperate and Tropical zones of the country). Additionally, both temperate and tropical species can be found side by side in the far southern portions of the temperate zone (for example in central Florida), while subarctic species might be found growing in northern portions of the continental zone (for example in Northwest Europe).


See also

*
Geographical zone The five main latitude In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. T ...
*
Habitat Ibex in an alpine habitat In ecology, the term habitat summarises the array of resources, physical and biotic factors that are present in an area, such as to support the survival and reproduction of a particular species. A species habitat c ...

Habitat
*
Köppen climate classification The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification 350px, Leslie Holdridge's Life Zone Classification system is essentially a climate classification scheme. Climate classification is a way of categorizing th ...
*
Middle latitudes The middle latitudes (also called the mid-latitudes, sometimes midlatitudes, or moderate latitudes) are a spatial region on Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29 ...
*
Polar circle A polar circle is a geographic term for a conditional circular line (arc) referring either to the Arctic Circle or the Antarctic Circle. These are two of the keynote circles of latitude (parallels). On Earth Earth is the third planet ...

Polar circle
*
Subtropics The subtropical zones or subtropics are geographical zone, geographical and Köppen climate classification, climate zones located to the north and south of the tropics, Torrid Zone. Geographically part of the Geographical zone#Temperate zones, ...

Subtropics


References

{{Authority control Köppen climate types