These regions have hot, rainy summers and cold, dry winters. Physical characteristics of continental climates include forests and prairies with tall grasses.
Continental climates have very cold winters and hot summers with an average annual precipitation between 24 and 48 inches. Physical characteristics of polar climates include glaciers and thick layers of ice on the ground.
Tundra climates have at least one month in a year when the average temperature is above freezing levels. The coldest temperatures in the world are found in Antarctica, which is an ice cap climate.
The annual precipitation of alpine climates is about 30 centimeters (about 12 inches) per year. Other plants found in alpine climates include tussock grasses, heaths and shrubs.
In this hot and humid zone, the average temperatures are greater than 64 °F (18 °C) year-round and there is more than 59 inches of precipitation each year. These climate zones are so dry because moisture is rapidly evaporated from the air and there is very little precipitation.
Things like the movement of the oceans and Earth’s tilt and rotation also affect how weather patterns move around the globe. The extra climate zone, labeled “H” on this map, is a special zone called the highlands.
The highlands climate zone is characterized by weather that differs from the surrounding area because of mountains. It’s a specific type of climate zone map that can help you figure out what kinds of plants will survive in your backyard.
These add important information to our records of regional differences in Earth’s climate. The broad climate zones are polar, dry, humid tropical and moist mid-latitude.
Tropical zones often experience hurricanes and other extreme storms during the late summer and early autumn months. One of the most widely used systems is the Köppen climate classification, developed in the early 20th century by a German researcher.
This division system is a bit of an oversimplification, however, and it overlooks the great diversity within these broad zones. Some climates are more hospitable to farming, for example, while others may harbor unique plant and animal species which cannot thrive elsewhere.
Some examples of tropical climates in the Köppen system include the rain forests of South America, the island of Hawaii, and the savanna of India. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.
The Most Beautiful Women Forecasting the Weather Amazing Optical Illusions That Will Play Tricks on Your Mind 40 Wedding Picture Fails You Don't Want to Miss 17 Interesting Maps That Will Change Your Worldview Given that the contiguous United States spans the width of North America, it’s not surprising that the country has no fewer than nine unique climate zones.
Image credit: 272447 from Apixaban Encompassing all of New England, New York, and Philadelphia, the Northeast experiences a diverse seasonal climate, with humid summers, picturesque autumns, and extreme ice and snow storms in the winter. Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, the Northeast has year round precipitation, most notably the frost belt during the frigid winter months.
Image credit: Michael Schweppes/Wikimedia.bordered by the Pacific Ocean and dominated by redwood rainforests and coastal mountain ranges, the Northwest, including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska, experiences a persistently wet climate of year round drizzle, fog, and, at higher elevations, snowy winters. Also called West North Central, this region experiences a continental climate of four distinct seasons including snowy winters and sunny summers.
Image credit: User Egg on cs.wikipedia/Public domainWhile winter temperatures are fairly mild, with seasonal contrasts in trees and foliage, summers in the South regularly climb into the mid 90s, and can even bring droughts. Droughts and floods, blizzards and heatwaves, sandstorms and tornados, the topographical variations of America’s hottest and most arid climate zone result in its widest weather.
The six states comprising the Southeast enjoy a uniform climate over the summer months with temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s, except in the mountain regions. Bordered by both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Mexico, humidity levels are high and storms ranging from thunderclouds to hurricanes occur.
Unsurprisingly the more northern states of Virginia and North Carolina experience colder winters than Florida and Georgia, although polar fronts can dip down and bring frigid air to all the Southeast. Image credit: Thomas Back from PixabayGiven it’s distance from the contiguous United States, it’s not surprising Hawaii belongs to a different climate region, the tropical zone.
Incredibly, the topography of Hawaii is so diverse despite its relatively small size (4,028 square miles) the Big Island alone has 8 of 10 distinct climatic sub-zones ranging from monsoon to dry, arid desert. The earth's tilt, rotation and land/sea distribution affect the global weather patterns we observe.
German climatologist and amateur botanist Wladimir Köppen (1846-1940) divided the world's climates into categories based upon general temperature profile related to latitude. These climates extend from 20°-35° North and South of the equator and in large continental regions of the mid-latitudes often surrounded by mountains.
Its extent is from 30°50° of latitude mainly on the eastern and western borders of most continents. Winters are severe with snowstorms, strong winds, and bitter cold from Continental Polar or Arctic air masses.
Polar climates are found on the northern coastal areas of North America, Europe, Asia, and on the land masses of Greenland and Antarctica. The map (below) shows where these major categories occur in the mainland United States.
The major Köppen zones in the U.S. The classical length of record to determine the climate for any particular place is 30 years, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization (WHO). From frozen icy tundra near the Arctic Circle to lush tropical rainforests straddling the equator, the Earth's climate changes dramatically with each shift in latitude.
The polar climate zones fill the areas within the Arctic and Antarctic Circles, extending from 66.5 degrees north and south latitude to the poles. Extending from the southern edge of the Arctic Circle to the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere, and the northern edge of the Antarctic Circle to the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere, the temperate climate zone falls between 23.5 degrees and 66.5 degrees north and south latitudes.
Temperate climate zones experience warm to hot summers and cool winters, with the greatest temperature variations throughout the year of any climate zone. Climate within the temperate regions ranges from the cold, snowy winters of New England to the balmy, moderate weather associated with the Mediterranean or Southern California.
Thanks to the tilt of the Earth on its axis, the sun strikes the area around the equator at a near-vertical angle, delivering substantial solar heat energy to this region. Closer to the poles, the sun strikes the Earth at a much shallower angle, resulting in less solar heat gain compared to the tropical zone.
This page offers some general guidelines on the definitions of the various climate regions based on heating degree-days, average temperatures, and precipitation. A 67 °F (19.5 °C) or higher wet bulb temperature for 3,000 or more hours during the warmest 6 consecutive months of the year; or A 73 °F (23 °C) or higher wet bulb temperature for 1,500 or more hours during the warmest 6 consecutive months of the year.
(50 cm) of annual precipitation, has approximately 5,400 heating degree days (65 °F basis) or fewer, and where the average monthly outdoor temperature drops below 45 °F (7 °C) during the winter months. (50 cm) of annual precipitation and where the monthly average outdoor temperature remains above 45 °F (7 °C) throughout the year.
Cold A cold climate is generally defined as a region with approximately 5,400 heating degree days (65 °F basis) or more and fewer than approximately 9,000 heating degree days (65 °F basis). Very-Cold A very cold climate is generally defined as a region with approximately 9,000 heating degree days (65 °F basis) or more and fewer than approximately 12,600 heating degree days (65 °F basis).