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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.
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 (approximately 23.5° south latitude) to the Antarctic Circle (at approximately 66.5° south latitude).
In some climate classifications, the temperate zone is often divided into several smaller climate zones, based on latitude. These include Humid subtropical climate, Mediterranean climate, oceanic, and Continental climate.
Subtropical climates are 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 South America.
Mediterranean climates, occur 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. These climates occur near the rimlands of the Mediterranean Sea, in western Australia, in California, 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, and parts of New Zealand.
The Continental climates occur in middle latitudes, between 35° or 40° to 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.
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.
- Geographical zone
- Habitat (ecology)
- Köppen climate classification
- Middle latitudes
- Polar circle
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