Humid continental climate

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Humid continental climate worldwide, utilizing the Koppen climate classification
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Humid continental climate worldwide, utilizing the Köppen climate classification
  Dsa
  Dsb
  Dwa
   Dwb
   Dfa
   Dfb

A humid continental climate is a climatic region defined by Russo-German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1900, [1] typified by four distinct seasons and large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and freezing cold (sometimes severely cold in the northern areas) winters. Precipitation is usually distributed throughout the year but often do have dry seasons. The definition of this climate regarding temperature is as follows: the mean temperature of the coldest month must be below 0 °C (32.0 °F) or −3 °C (26.6 °F) depending on the isotherm, [2] and there must be at least four months whose mean temperatures are at or above 10 °C (50 °F). In addition, the location in question must not be semi-arid or arid. The cooler Dfb, Dwb, and Dsb subtypes are also known as hemiboreal climates.

Contents

Humid continental climates are generally found between latitudes 30° N and 60° N, [3] within the central and northeastern portions of North America, Europe, and Asia. They are rare and isolated in the Southern Hemisphere, due to the larger ocean area at that latitude, smaller land mass, and the consequent greater maritime moderation. In the Northern Hemisphere, some of the humid continental climates, typically in Hokkaido, Northern Honshu, Sakhalin island, Scandinavia, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland are closer to the sea and is heavily maritime-influenced, with relatively cool summers and winters being just below the freezing mark. [4] More extreme and inland humid continental climates found in northeast China, southern Siberia, the Korean Peninsula (except for the southern region in South Korea), the Canadian Prairies, and the Great Lakes region of the American Midwest, New England, and Central Canada combine hotter summer maxima and colder winters than the marine-based variety. [5]

Definition

The snowy city of Sapporo, Japan, has a humid continental climate (Koppen Dfa). Odori Park Sapporo Snow Festival 2007.JPG
The snowy city of Sapporo, Japan, has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa).

Using the Köppen climate classification, a climate is classified as humid continental when the temperature of the coldest month is below 0 °C [32.0 °F] or −3 °C [26.6 °F] and there must be at least four months whose mean temperatures are at or above 10 °C (50 °F). [6] These temperatures were not arbitrary. In Europe, the −3 °C (27 °F) average temperature isotherm (line of equal temperature) was near the southern extent of winter snowpack. In the United States, it is more common to use the 0 °C [32.0 °F] isotherm instead. The 10 °C (50 °F) average temperature was found to roughly be the minimum temperature necessary for tree reproduction and growth. [7] Wide temperature ranges are common within this climate zone. [8]

Second letter in the classification symbol defines seasonal rainfall as follows: [6]

while the third letter denotes the extent of summer heat: [6]

Associated precipitation

Within North America, moisture within this climate regime is supplied by the Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico and adjacent western subtropical Atlantic. [9] Precipitation is relatively well distributed year-round in many areas with this climate (f), while others may see a marked reduction in wintry precipitation, [7] which increases the chances of a wintertime drought (w). [10] Snowfall occurs in all areas with a humid continental climate and in many such places is more common than rain during the height of winter. In places with sufficient wintertime precipitation, the snow cover is often deep. Most summer rainfall occurs during thunderstorms, [7] and in North America and Asia an occasional tropical system. Though humidity levels are often high in locations with humid continental climates, the "humid" designation means that the climate is not dry enough to be classified as semi-arid or arid.

Vegetation

Mixed forest in Vermont during autumn Vermont fall foliage hogback mountain.JPG
Mixed forest in Vermont during autumn

By definition, forests thrive within this climate. Biomes within this climate regime include temperate woodlands, temperate grasslands, temperate deciduous or evergreen forests, [9] coniferous forests, and coniferous swamps. [11] Within wetter areas, maple, spruce, pine, fir, and oak can be found. Fall foliage is noted during the autumn of deciduous forests. [7]

Hot summer subtype

Regions with hot-summer humid continental climates Koppen World Map Dfa Dwa Dsa.png
Regions with hot-summer humid continental climates
Windsor, Canada
Climate chart (explanation)
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Source: [12]
Shenyang, China
Climate chart (explanation)
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Source: China Meteorological Administration [13]

A hot summer version of a continental climate features an average temperature of at least 22 °C (71.6 °F) in its warmest month. [14] Since these regimes are limited to the Northern Hemisphere, the warmest month is usually July or August. High temperatures in the warmest month tend to be in the high 20s or low 30s °C (80s or low 90s °F), while average January afternoon temperatures are near or well below freezing. Frost free periods normally last 4–7 months within this climate regime. [7]

Within North America, this climate includes small areas of central and southeast Canada (including Essex County, the core area of the Golden Horseshoe and Greater Montreal) and portions of the central and eastern United States from 100°W eastward to the Atlantic. Precipitation increases further eastward in this zone and is less seasonally uniform in the west. The western states of the central United States (namely Montana, Wyoming, parts of southern Idaho, most of Lincoln County in Eastern Washington, parts of Colorado, parts of Utah, western Nebraska, and parts of western North and South Dakota) have thermal regimes which fit the Dfa climate type, but are quite dry, and are generally grouped with the steppe (BSk) climates. In the eastern United States Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Ohio, New York, Delaware and Massachusetts have some part of their state in this climate zone.

In the Eastern Hemisphere, this climate regime is found within interior Eurasia, east-central Asia, and parts of India. Within Europe, the Dfa climate type is present near the Black Sea in southern Ukraine, the Southern Federal District of Russia, southern Moldova, Serbia, parts of southern Romania, and Bulgaria, [15] [16] but tends to be drier and can be even semi-arid in these places. In East Asia, this climate exhibits a monsoonal tendency with much higher precipitation in summer than in winter, and due to the effects of the strong Siberian High much colder winter temperatures than similar latitudes around the world, however with lower snowfall, the exception being western Japan with its heavy snowfall. Tōhoku, between Tokyo and Hokkaidō and Western coast of Japan also has a climate with Köppen classification Dfa, but is wetter even than that part of North America with this climate type. A variant which has dry winters and hence relatively lower snowfall with monsoonal type summer rainfall is to be found in northern China including Manchuria and parts of North China, and over much of the Korean Peninsula; it has the Köppen classification Dwa. Much of central Asia, northwestern China, and southern Mongolia have a thermal regime similar to that of the Dfa climate type, but these regions receive so little precipitation that they are more often classified as steppes (BSk) or deserts (BWk).

Dsa climates are rare; they are generally restricted to elevated areas adjacent to Mediterranean climate regions with a Csa climate well inland to ensure hot summers and cold winters. They are generally found in the highly elevated areas of south-eastern Turkey (Hakkâri), north-western Iran and parts of Central Asia.

This climate zone does not exist at all in the southern hemisphere, where the only landmass that enters the upper-middle latitudes, South America, tapers too much to have any place that gets the combination of snowy winters and hot summers. Marine influences preclude Dfa, Dwa, and Dsa climates in the southern hemisphere.

Warm summer subtype

Regions with warm-summer humid continental climates Koppen World Map Dfb Dwb Dsb.png
Regions with warm-summer humid continental climates
Moscow, Russian Federation
Climate chart (explanation)
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Source: pogoda.ru.net
Halifax, Canada
Climate chart (explanation)
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Source: Environment Canada [17]
Erzurum, Turkey
Climate chart (explanation)
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Source: CLIMATEDATA [18]
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk
Climate chart (explanation)
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Source: ユジノ・サハリンスクの気候 [19]
Nosappu
Climate chart (explanation)
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Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Japan Meteorological Agency [20]

Also known as Hemiboreal climate , areas featuring this subtype of the continental climate have an average temperature in the warmest month below 22 °C (72 °F). Summer high temperatures in this zone typically average between 21–28 °C (70–82 °F) during the daytime and the average temperatures in the coldest month are generally well or far below the −3 °C (27 °F) (or 0 °C (32.0 °F)) isotherm. Frost-free periods typically last 3–5 months. Heat spells lasting over a week are rare. Summers highs are usually in the mid-20s and winters are long, cold, and severe. [7]

The warm summer version of the humid continental climate covers a much larger area than the hot subtype. In North America, the climate zone covers from about 42°N to 50°N latitude mostly east of 100°W, including parts of Southern Ontario, the southern half of Quebec, The Maritimes, and Newfoundland, as well as the northern United States from eastern North Dakota east to Maine. However, it can be found as far north as 54°N, and further west in the Canadian Prairie Provinces [ citation needed ] and below 40°N in the high Appalachians. In Europe, this subtype reaches its most northerly latitude in Bodø at the 67°N. [21]

High-altitude locations such as Aspen, Colorado and Los Alamos, New Mexico in the western United States exhibit local Dfb climates. The south-central and southwestern Prairie Provinces also fits the Dfb criteria from a thermal profile, but because of semi-arid precipitation portions of it are grouped into the BSk category. [ citation needed ]

In Europe, it is found in much of Central Europe: Germany (in the east and southeast part of the country), Austria (generally below 700 m (2,297 ft)), Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary (generally above 100 m (328 ft)), Croatia (mostly Slavonia region), in much of Eastern Europe: Ukraine (the whole country except the Black Sea coast), Belarus, Russia (mostly central part of European Russia), south and central parts of Scandinavia not bathed by the Atlantic Ocean or North Sea: Sweden (historical regions of Svealand and Götaland), Denmark, Finland (south end, including the three largest cities), [16] Norway (most populated area), [6] , all Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and also in parts of: Romania (generally above 100 m (328 ft)), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey and in the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland, (generally above 100 m (328 ft)). [15] [22] It has little warming or precipitation effects from the northern Atlantic. [16] The cool summer subtype is marked by mild summers, long cold winters and less precipitation than the hot summer subtype; however, short periods of extreme heat are not uncommon. Northern Japan has a similar climate.[ citation needed ]

In the Southern Hemisphere, it exists in well-defined areas only in the Southern Alps of New Zealand,[ citation needed ] in the Snowy Mountains of Australia in Kiandra, New South Wales [23] and the Andes Mountains of Argentina and Chile. [24]

Use in climate modeling

Since climate regimes tend to be dominated by vegetation of one region with relatively homogenous ecology, those that project climate change remap their results in the form of climate regimes as an alternative way to explain expected changes. [1]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Subarctic climate</span> Climate characterised by long, usually very cold winters, and short, cool summers

The subarctic climate is a climate characterised by long, cold winters, and short, warm to cool summers. It is found on large landmasses, often away from the moderating effects of an ocean, generally at latitudes from 50° to 70°N north, poleward of the humid continental climates. Subarctic or boreal climates are the source regions for the cold air that affects temperate latitudes to the south in winter. These climates represent Köppen climate classification Dfc, Dwc, Dsc, Dfd, Dwd and Dsd.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Temperate climate</span> Main climate class

In geography, the temperate climates of Earth occur in the middle latitudes, which span between the tropics and the polar regions of Earth. These zones generally have wider temperature ranges throughout the year and more distinct seasonal changes compared to tropical climates, where such variations are often small and usually only have precipitation changes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Desert climate</span> Arid climate subtype in the Köppen climate classification system with very little precipitation

The desert climate or arid climate, is a dry climate sub-type in which there is a severe excess of evaporation over precipitation. The typically bald, rocky, or sandy surfaces in desert climates are dry and hold little moisture, quickly evaporating the already little rainfall they receive. Covering 14.2% of earth's land area, hot deserts are the second most common type of climate on earth after the polar climate.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Continental climate</span> Köppen climate category

Continental climates often have a significant annual variation in temperature. They tend to occur in the middle latitudes, within large landmasses where prevailing winds blow overland bringing some precipitation, and temperatures are not moderated by bodies of water such as oceans or seas unlike temperate climates. Continental climates occur mostly in the Northern Hemisphere, which has the kind of large landmasses on temperate latitudes required for this type of climate to develop. Most of northern and northeastern China, eastern and southeastern Europe, Western and north western Iran, central and southeastern Canada, and the central and northeastern United States have this type of climate. Continentality is a measure of the degree to which a region experiences this type of climate.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mediterranean climate</span> Type of climate

A Mediterranean climate, also called dry summer temperate climateCs, is a temperate climate sub-type, characterized by dry summers and mild, wet winters. The climate receives its name from the Mediterranean Basin, where this climate type is most common. Mediterranean climate zones are typically located along the western coasts of continents, between roughly 30 and 45 degrees north and south of the equator. The main cause of Mediterranean, or dry summer climate, is the subtropical ridge which extends toward that hemisphere's pole during the summer and migrates toward the equator during the winter due to the seasonal poleward-equatorward variations of temperatures.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Subtropics</span> Geographic and climate zone

The subtropical zones or subtropics are geographical and climate zones located to the north and south of the tropics. Geographically part of the temperate zones of both hemispheres, they cover the middle latitudes from 23°26′10.8″ (or 23.43634°) to approximately 35° north and south. The horse latitudes lie within this range.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Köppen climate classification</span> Climate classification system

The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by German-Russian climatologist Wladimir Köppen (1846–1940) in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen, notably in 1918 and 1936. Later, the climatologist Rudolf Geiger (1894–1981) introduced some changes to the classification system, which is thus sometimes called the Köppen–Geiger climate classification system.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Oceanic climate</span> Climate classification

An oceanic climate, also known as a marine climate, is the humid temperate climate sub-type in Köppen classification Cfb, typical of west coasts in higher middle latitudes of continents, generally featuring cool summers and mild winters, with a relatively narrow annual temperature range and few extremes of temperature. Oceanic climates can be found in both hemispheres generally between 40 and 55 latitude, most notably in Northwest Europe, Northwest North America, as well as New Zealand.

Semi-arid climate Climate with precipitation below potential evapotranspiration

A semi-arid climate, semi-desert climate, or steppe climate is a dry climate sub-type. It is located on regions that receive precipitation below potential evapotranspiration, but not as low as a desert climate. There are different kinds of semi-arid climates, depending on variables such as temperature, and they give rise to different biomes.

In climatology, the term mesothermal is used to refer to certain forms of climate found typically in the Earth's temperate zones. It has a moderate span of temperature, with winters not cold enough to sustain snow cover. Summers are warm within oceanic climate regimes, and hot within continental or subtropical climate regimes.

In climatology, the term microthermal is used to denote the continental climates of Eurasia and North America.

Climate classification Systems that categorize the worlds climates

Climate classifications are systems that categorize the world's climates. A climate classification may correlate closely with a biome classification, as climate is a major influence on life in a region. One of the most used is the Köppen climate classification scheme first developed in 1899.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Climate of Alaska</span> Overview of the climate of the U.S. state of Alaska

The climate of Alaska is determined by average temperatures and precipitation received statewide over many years. The extratropical storm track runs along the Aleutian Island chain, across the Alaska Peninsula, and along the coastal area of the Gulf of Alaska which exposes these parts of the state to a large majority of the storms crossing the North Pacific. The climate in Juneau and the southeast panhandle is a mid-latitude oceanic climate, in the southern sections and a subarctic oceanic climate in the northern parts. The climate in Southcentral Alaska is a subarctic climate due to its short, cool summers. The climate of the interior of Alaska is best described as extreme and is the best example of a true subarctic climate, as the highest and lowest recorded temperatures in Alaska have both occurred in the interior. The climate in the extreme north of Alaska is an Arctic climate with long, cold winters, and cool summers where snow is possible year-round.

Climate of the United States Varies due to changes in latitude, and a range of geographic features

The climate of the United States varies due to changes in latitude, and a range of geographic features, including mountains and deserts. Generally, on the mainland, the climate of the U.S. becomes warmer the further south one travels, and drier the further west, until one reaches the West Coast.

Climate of Mexico Overview of the climate of Mexico

The climate of Mexico is very varied. The Tropic of Cancer effectively divides the country into temperate and tropical zones. Land that is north of the twenty-fourth parallel experiences lower temperatures during the winter months. South of the twenty-fourth parallel, temperatures are fairly consistent all year round and vary solely as a function of elevation. The north of the country usually receives less precipitation than the south.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Humid subtropical climate</span> Transitional climatic zone

A humid subtropical climate is a zone of climate characterized by hot and humid summers, and cool to mild winters. These climates normally lie on the southeast side of all continents, generally between latitudes 25° and 40° and are located poleward from adjacent tropical climates. It is also known as warm temperate climate in some climate classifications.

Climate of Manitoba

Because of its location in the centre of the North American continent, the climate of Manitoba is extreme. In general, temperatures and precipitation decrease from south to north, and precipitation also decreases from east to west. Since Manitoba is far removed from the moderating influences of both mountain ranges and large bodies of water, and because of the generally flat landscape in many areas, it is exposed to numerous weather systems throughout the year, including cold Arctic high-pressure air masses that settle in from the northwest, usually during the months of January and February. In the summer, the air masses often come out of the southern United States, as the stronger Azores High ridges into the North American continent, the more warm, humid air is drawn northward from the Gulf of Mexico, generally during the months of July or August.

Climate of Spain Overview of the climate of Spain

The climate in Spain varies across continental Spain. Spain is the most climatically diverse country in Europe with 13 different Köppen climates, excluding the Canary Islands, and is within the 10 most climatically diverse countries in the world. The country is dominated by five major climate regions, with the other regions including smaller portions of the country. The Mediterranean environment and location in Europe means that it will experience greater heatwaves and dry weather due to climate change.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Trewartha climate classification</span> Categorical system for longer-range recurrent weather patterns of Earth, orig. 1966

The Trewartha climate classification (TCC) or the Köppen–Trewartha climate classification (KTC) is a climate classification system first published by American geographer Glenn Thomas Trewartha in 1966. It is a modified version of the Köppen–Geiger system, created to answer some of its deficiencies. The Trewartha system attempts to redefine the middle latitudes to be closer to vegetation zoning and genetic climate systems. It was considered a more true or "real world" reflection of the global climate.

Temperate continental climate Category in the Köppen climate classification system

A Humid continental climate is a continental climate region defined by Russo-German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1900, typified by four distinct seasons and large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot summers and freezing cold winters. Precipitation is usually distributed throughout the year but often do have dry seasons. The definition of this climate regarding temperature is as follows: the mean temperature of the coldest month must be below 0 °C (32.0 °F) or −3 °C (26.6 °F) depending on the isotherm, and there must be at least four months whose mean temperatures are at or above 10 °C (50 °F). In addition, the location in question must not be semi-arid or arid. The cooler Dfb, Dwb, and Dsb subtypes are also known as hemiboreal climates.

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