What's a Temperate Climate?
Warm summers, wet springs, colorful falls, and cold, snowy winters. Where in the world can you find these four different seasons? The temperate climate zone, that's where!
The word climate means the weather conditions of an area over a long period of time. It is different than weather, which we think about and measure on a day-to-day basis. Climate refers to patterns of weather over the course of years, decades, even centuries.
The word temperate means moderate, or in the middle. This is helpful in understanding the climate in the temperate zone - it does not have extremes. While the polar climate is extremely cold and the tropical climate is very hot, the temperate climate has some hot weather and some cold weather. While there is a lot of rain and snow in other zones, the temperate zone has just a moderate amount of rain and snow.
The temperate climate zone circles the Earth in both the north and the south. In the north, it makes up the space below the Arctic circle and above the hot tropical areas above the equator. In the south, the temperate climate zone is between the cold climates of Antarctica and the warm climates just below the earth's hot middle. Looking at a map, you would see the temperate climate zone covering most of North America, all of Europe and much of northern Asia, and the very southern tip of South America.
There are two main types of temperate climates: maritime and continental. Let's explore the differences between these moderate weather regions.
Maritime Temperate Climate
The word _maritime means near the sea, so maritime temperate climates are found in places in the temperate zone that touch the ocean. The ocean and the wind influence the weather in maritime areas.
Even though maritime climates have the same four moderate seasons as other temperate climates, they tend to have cooler summers and milder winters than non-maritime areas. This is mostly because seawater is good at holding on to heat; once the ocean warms up in the summer, it maintains its temperature and warms the air around it through the winter.
Some areas that are in a maritime temperate climate are England, Scotland, Ireland, Nova Scotia (in Canada), and Japan.
Continental Temperate Climate
Now that you know what the word maritime means, it's easy to understand its opposite, continental. Continental areas are those that are in the middle of large pieces of land, far from the oceans. While the ocean moderates the temperature in maritime climates, its effects do not reach continental areas. This means that, even in the temperate climate zone, continental areas tend to have hotter summers and colder winters. These areas can also have less rain and snow than maritime areas.
Some areas that are in a continental temperate climate are the midwestern United States, central Russia, and northern China and Mongolia.
The temperate climate zone covers areas of moderate weather in the northern and southern hemispheres. The temperate climate zone does not have temperature extremes, and areas in this zone experience moderate rain and snow. There are two main types of temperate climate zones: the maritime zone near the oceans and the continental zone located inland.
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Temperate Climate Zone: True or False Activity
This activity will help you assess your knowledge of the definition and facts of the temperate climate zones.
Determine whether the following statements are true or false. To do this, print or copy this page on a blank paper and underline or circle the answer.
True | False 1. Weather refers to climate patterns over the course of years, decades, even centuries.
True | False 2. Temperate climates are distinguished into two types, namely continental and maritime.
True | False 3. Continental areas, in a temperate climate zone, tend to have hot summers and cold winters.
True | False 4. Asian countries like the Philippines and Taiwan are not located in the temperate climate zone.
True | False 5. Places in temperate climate zones have four different seasons.
True | False 6. Countries in the equator do not exhibit a temperate climate; these areas have tropical climates.
True | False 7. The southernmost part of South Africa is also located in the temperate climate zone.
True | False 8. England, Scotland, and Japan belong in maritime temperate climate zones.
True | False 9. Maritime areas, like northern China and Mongolia, have less rain and snow.
True | False 10. Climate refers to the short-term manifestations of weather and other atmospheric conditions in a given area or country.
- False, because the correct statement is: Climate refers to weather patterns over the course of years, decades, even centuries.
- False, because the correct statement is: The southernmost part of South America is also located in the temperate climate zone.
- False, because the correct statement is: Continental areas, like northern China and Mongolia, have less rain and snow.
- False, because the correct statement is: Climate is concerned with the long-term manifestations of weather and other atmospheric conditions in a given area or country.
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