|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
|Part of the nature series|
In geography, temperate or tepid latitudes of Earth lie between the tropics and the polar regions. The temperatures in these regions are generally relatively moderate, rather than extremely hot or cold, and the changes between summer and winter are also usually moderate.
However, in certain areas, such as Asia and central North America, the variations between summer and winter can be extreme because these areas are far away from the sea, causing them to have a continental climate. In regions traditionally considered tropical, localities at high altitudes (e.g. parts of the Andes) may have a temperate climate.
Zones and climate
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 (approximately 23.5° south latitude) to the Antarctic Circle (at approximately 66.5° south latitude).
In some climate classifications, the temperate zone is often broken down into several smaller zones based on latitude. These include Humid subtropical climate, Mediterranean climate, oceanic, and continenta Humid Subtropical climates, located between 23.5 and 35.0 north or south latitude on the eastern or leeward sides of landmasses is the southernmost zone. This climate has long hot summers and short mild winters, with annual rainfall concentrated in the warmest part of the year. These climates occur in southern Asia, the deep southern United States, parts of eastern Australia, and in eastern coastal South America.
Mediterranean climate, occur between 30 and 42 north or 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 common. These climates occur near the rimlands of the Mediterranean Sea, in western Australia, in California, and in the southern most areas of South Africa.
The maritime climate 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 cool summers and cool, but not cold, winters (for their latitude). Annual rainfall is spread throughout the entire year. Regions with this climate include Western Europe, northwestern North America, and parts of New Zealand.
Continental, semi-arid and arid occur from 35 to 50 north and south latitude inland and along eastern sides of landmasses. In these climates winters are cold and summers are hot, as heat loss and reception are aided by extensive land masses. In North America, the Rocky Mountains act as a climate barrier to the maritime air blowing from the west, creating a semi-arid climate to the west, and continental climate to the east. In Europe, the maritime climate is able to stabilize inland temperature, because the major mountain range – the Alps – is oriented east-west (the area east of the long Scandinavian mountain range is an exception).
The vast majority of the world's human population resides in temperate zones (if defined as comprising the subtropics as well), especially in the northern hemisphere because of 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.
- Education Scotland. "Weather & climate Change Climates around the world". educationscotland.gov.uk.
- McColl, R. W. (2005). Encyclopedia of World Geography, Volume 1. (Facts on File Library of World Geography). New York: Facts on File. p. 919. ISBN 0-816-05786-9.
- "Solar Illumination: Seasonal and Diurnal Patterns". Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
- "Köppen Climate Classification: The Temperate Climate". The International Sustainability Council - Audubon. 2008. Retrieved July 6, 2014.
...the north-south aligned Rocky Mountains act as a climate barrier to the mild maritime air blowing from the west.
- "Climate of Switzerland". Swiss University. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
The Alps act as a climate barrier: Southern Switzerland, which is mainly influenced by the Mediterranean Sea, is characterized by a much milder climate than Northern Switzerland.
- Brinch, Brian (2007-11-01). "How mountains influence rainfall patterns". USA Today (Tysons Corner, Virginia: Gannett). ISSN 0734-7456. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
As air ascends mountains, such as the Washington Cascades, it is forced to rise. The rising air cools, condenses, and drops rain on locations situated on the windward slopes, like Seattle. When the air descends the back side of the mountain toward Spokane, it is compressed, warming and drying it out. This sinking, dry air produces a rain shadow, or area in the lee of a mountain with less rain and cloudcover.
- Cohen, Joel E.; Christopher Small (November 24, 1998). "Hypsographic demography: The distribution of human population by altitude". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 95. Washington, D.C.: The Academy. pp. 14009–14014. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
- Germishuizen, G.; Meyer, N. L. (2003). "Plants of southern Africa: An annotated checklist". Strelitzia 14: 1–1231. Retrieved 23 June 2015.