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K12 LibreTexts

12.10: Temperate Climates

  • Page ID
    5537
  • What do these photos have in common? What's different?

    Both photos have grapevines and old-looking stone buildings. The Sun is shining. The photo on the right is in California, where wine has become an enormous business in recent decades. On the left is an ancient village in Tuscany in Italy. These locations both have a Mediterranean climate, which is good for wine, olive oil, artichokes, and an tremendous number of other agricultural products.

    Temperate Climates

    Temperate climates have moderate temperatures. These climates vary in how much rain they get and when the rain falls.

    Mediterranean Climate

    Mediterranean climates are found on the western coasts of continents. The latitudes are between 30° and 45°. The coast of California has a Mediterranean climate. Temperatures are mild, and rainfall is moderate. Most of the rain falls in the winter, and summers are dry. To make it through the dry summers, short woody plants are common (Figure below).

    A manzanita bush in San Mateo County, California

    A manzanita bush in San Mateo County, California

    Marine West Coast Climate

    Marine west coast climates are also found on the western coasts of continents. They occur between 45° and 60° latitude. The coast of Washington State has this type of climate. Temperatures are mild, and there’s plenty of rainfall all year round. Dense fir forests grow in this climate (Figure below).

    Hoh rainforest in Olympic National Park, Washington

    Hoh rainforest in Olympic National Park, Washington

    Humid Subtropical Climate

    Humid subtropical climates are found on the eastern sides of continents between about 20° and 40° latitude. The southeastern U.S. has this type of climate. Summers are hot and humid, but winters are chilly. There is moderate rainfall throughout the year. Pine and oak forests grow in this climate (Figure below).

    Duke Forest in Durham, North Carolina

    Duke Forest in Durham, North Carolina

    Summary

    • Different temperate climates are at different latitudes. The latitude a climate depends on where it is on a continent.
    • The Mediterranean climate has wet winters and dry summers.
    • The marine west coast climate gets lots of rain from the nearby ocean.
    • In the humid subtropical climate, summers are wet but winters are very cold.

    Review

    1. At what latitudes do these three climate types occur?
    2. What types of plants are found in each of the three climate types above?
    3. What is difficult about plants trying to survive in a Mediterranean climate? How do they do that?