In geography, the temperate or tepid climates of
Earth occur in the
middle latitudes, which span between the tropics and the polar
regions. These zones generally have wider temperature ranges
throughout the year and more distinct seasonal changes compared to
tropical climates, where such variations are often small.
In the Koppen climate classification, a climate is termed "temperate"
when the coldest month has a mean temperature above -3 C (26.6 F) but
below 18 C (64.4 F). Later climate classifications and updates
redefined this broad temperate zone into smaller zones to better fit
actual climate and vegetation zones (see below).
1 Zones and climates
1.1 Mediterranean Climates
1.2 Oceanic Climates
1.3 Subtropical Highland climates
1.4 Continental Climates
1.5 Boreal Climate
2 Human Aspects
2.1 Demography, Fauna and Flora
4 See also
Zones and climates
The north temperate zone extends from the Tropic of Cancer
(approximately 23.5° north latitude) to the Arctic Circle
(approximately 66.5° north latitude). The south temperate zone
extends from the
Tropic of Capricorn
Tropic of Capricorn (approximately 23.5° south
latitude) to the
Antarctic Circle (at approximately 66.5° south
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,
Mediterranean climate, oceanic, and continental climate.
Subtropical climates are generally located between 23.5° and 35.0°
north or south latitude on the eastern or leeward sides of landmasses.
This climate has long, generally hot, summers and short, mild winters,
with annual rainfall often concentrated in the warmest part of the
year. These climates may occur in southern Asia, the southeastern
United States, parts of eastern Australia, and in eastern coastal
Mediterranean climates occur generally between 30° and 42° north and
south latitude, on the western sides of landmasses. This climate has
long hot summers and short mild winters; however, seasonal rainfall is
the opposite of that of the subtropical humid type, with a winter or
cool season rainfall peak being typical, and summer as drier season.
These climates occur near the rimlands of the Mediterranean Sea, in
western and southern Australia, in
California and the Pacific
Northwest region of North America, in southwestern South America, and
in the southernmost areas of South Africa.
The Oceanic climates occur in the higher middle latitudes, between
45° and 60° north and south latitude. They 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. These climates are frequently cloudy. Annual rainfall is
spread throughout the entire year. Regions with this climate include
Western Europe, northwestern North America, southeastern and
southwestern South America, southeastern
Australia and parts of New
Subtropical Highland climates
The subtropical highland variety of the oceanic climate exists in
elevated portions of the world that are within either the tropics or
subtropics, though it is typically found in mountainous locations in
some tropical countries. Despite the latitude, the higher altitudes of
these regions mean that the climate tends to share characteristics
with oceanic climates, though it also tends to experience noticeably
drier weather during the lower-sun "winter" season. It mainly occurs
in elevated areas of Subsaharan Africa and South America, on the Andes
Mountains and on the
Brazilian Highlands at the southern and
southeastern portions of the country, and some mountainous areas
Southeast Asia and Southern Europe
The Continental climates occur in middle latitudes, between 40° and
55°. These climates are normally inland or on leeward sides of
landmasses. They feature warm to hot summers and cold winters, with a
large interseasonal temperature variation. Regions with this climate
include northern temperate Asia, the northern United States, southern
Canada, and parts of northeastern Europe.
Climate or Subactic
Climate is a climate characterised by long,
usually very cold winters, and short, cool to mild summers. It is
found on large landmasses, away from the moderating effects of an
ocean, generally at latitudes from 50° to 70°N poleward of the humid
Demography, Fauna and Flora
The vast majority of the world's human population resides in temperate
zones, especially in the northern hemisphere, due to its greater mass
of land. The richest temperate flora in the world is found in
southern Africa, where some 24,000 taxa (species and infraspecific
taxa) have been described.
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
Temperate regions have the majority of the world's population, which
leads to large cities. There are a couple 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
It is common to mistake "Temperate Climate" as being just one climate,
usually naming the
Oceanic climate as being the one and only Temperate
climate, and putting other climates such as the Humid Subtropical,
Continental, Boreal or the Mediterranean as being separate climates
other than Temperate. This is wrong because Temperate is not one
unique climate but rather a basic definition which holds a spectrum of
climates based on average seasonal temperature, humidity and
precipitation, with "Temperate" basically being any climate with a
cold/cooler season (
Winter with a mean temperature above -3 C [26.6 F]
but below 18 C [64.4 F]) and a hot/warmer season (Summer) and further
variations being the Humid Subtropical, Oceanic, Continental,
Mediterranean, Boreal and others.
Along with this, the Humid Suptropical 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
Brazil is spread across both Temperate and Tropical zones of the
country). This can similarly happen to Mediterranean regions (Palm
trees and other plants associated with Tropical, Arid or Hot Semiarid
climates happen to exist in Mediterranean climates)
Köppen climate classification
Climate Change: Climates around the world". Education
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^ "Solar Illumination: Seasonal and Diurnal Patterns".
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^ Cohen, Joel E.; Christopher Small (November 24, 1998). "Hypsographic
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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States
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^ Germishuizen, G.; Meyer, N. L. (2003). "Plants of southern Africa:
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^ a b Burroughs, William J (1999). The
Climate Revealed. New York: The
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ISBN 0 521 77081 5.
Harmattan (West Africa)
Climate types under the Köppen climate classification
Tropical rainforest (Af)
Tropical monsoon (Am)
Tropical savanna (Aw, As)
Desert (BWh, BWk, BWn)
Semi-arid (BSh, BSk, BSn)
Humid subtropical (Cfa, Cwa)
Oceanic (Cfb, Cwb, Cfc, Cwc)
Mediterranean (Csa, Csb, Csc)
Humid continental (Dfa, Dwa, Dfb, Dwb, Dsa, Dsb)
Subarctic (Dfc, Dwc, Dfd, Dwd, Dsc, Dsd)
Ice cap (E