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The Four Types of Climate

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 11/22/2010

Do you know what the 4 basic types of climate are? If you want to know what they are and more about each, read on.

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    Climate is an areas' long-term weather lasting at least 30 years. It is one of the atmosphere's characteristic conditions near the surface of the earth at a specific area on earth. So, what are the 4 basic types of climate? The 4 main types of climate include the Mediterranean climate, oceanic climate, humid continental climate, and subarctic climate. Climate controls world biomes and a regions' life and ability to survive.

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    Mediterranean Climate

    Mediterranean climates are dry in the summer and wet in the winter. Summers may last for as long as five months and are extremely dry due to subtropical highs' sinking air. The Western part of the European continent falls within this type of climate and the latitude range is between 30 and 45 degrees. World regions that experience a Mediterranean climate:

    • Mediterranean Sea shore
    • South Russia's Crimea peninsula
    • Morocco
    • North of Tunisia
    • North of Algeria
    • South Africa's Cape area
    • The Middle East
    • Central and southern California
    • Santiago of Chile
    • Around Perth in Southwest Australia
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    Oceanic Climate

    This type of climate has precipitation that occurs throughout the year. The cold season sees the most precipitation. On the Atlantic shores and what are the 4 basic types of climate from Norway to Portugal, a low temperature variation is present. Deeper in the continents, there is an increase in thermal variations and a decrease in rain. The summers become hotter and the winters become colder. World regions that experience an oceanic climate:

    • Europe's western shores
    • Western littoral of America spanning to British Columbia in Canada from San Francisco in California
    • Portugal to Norway
    • Tasmania
    • Chile
    • New Zealand
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    Humid Continental Climate

    This type of climate is a mix of both temperate climate and humid climate. Main characteristics include a cold winter, a warm summer, and precipitation throughout the year. The Midwestern United States is a good example of humid continental climate. All four seasons are experienced; precipitation, mostly in the form of rain or snow, occurs throughout the year, there is cold weather, and there is warm weather. World regions that experience a humid continental climate:

    • Midwestern United States
    • New England area of the United States
    • Southern Ontario, Canada
    • Most of the Ukraine and Kazakstan
    • Northern European Russia
    • Parts of China and South Korea
    • Atlantic area, Manitoba, Alberta, Quebec, and Saskatchewan, Canada
    • Southeast Norway
    • Southern Finland and Central Sweden
    • Eastern Poland and Germany
    • Most of Moldova and Northern Romania
    • Most of Slovakia and parts of the Czech Republic
    • Balkan's mountainous area
    • Parts of Hungary and Austria
    • Switzerland Alps in Italy
    • Northern Japan
    • Northern North Korea
    • Northwest and northeast Turkey
    • Belarus
    • Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia
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    Subarctic Climate

    The subarctic climate is a type of climate that consists of brief, warm summers, and long and very cold winters. This type of climate consists of some of the planet's most severe seasonal temperature variations. Temperatures can drop as low as negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit and rise to as high as 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Summers tend to last about three months, but never longer. The temperature is on average below freezing for a consecutive five to seven months, resulting in all of the soil's moisture and the subsoil's moisture freezing solid many feet in depth. The warm temperatures of the summer are not enough to completely thaw more than just a few feet in the soil's surface, resulting in permafrost taking over large areas. The seasonal thaw helps to thaw down from two to fourteen feet depending on aspect, ground type, and latitude. This type of climate is considered a subset of the continental climate. World regions that experience a humid continental climate:

    • Northern Scandinavia
    • Northern Quebec
    • Northern Prairie Provinces in Canada
    • Canada's Northwest Territories
    • Far Northern Ontario
    • Most of the Yukon
    • Most of Alaska
    • Most of Siberia
    • Southern Labrador
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    Resources

    United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2010). Climate Change. Retrieved on November 14, 2010 from the United States Environmental Protection Agency: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/

    Blue Planet Biomes. (2010). World Climates. Retrieved on November 14, 2010 from Blue Planet Biomes: http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/climate.htm