Humid continental climate

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Humid continental climate worldwide, utilizing the Koppen climate classification
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Dsa
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Dfb Koppen-Geiger Map D present.svg
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 cold (sometimes severely cold in the northern areas) and snowy winters. Precipitation is usually distributed throughout the year, but often these regions do have dry seasons. The definition of this climate in terms of 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. Although amount of snowfall is not a factor used in defining the humid continental climate, snow during the winter in this type of climate is almost a guarantee, either intermittently throughout the winter months near the poleward or coastal margins, or persistently throughout the winter months elsewhere in the climate zone.

Contents

Humid continental climates are generally found between latitudes 40° N and 60° N, [3] within the central and northeastern portions of North America, Europe, and Asia. Occasionally, they can also be found at higher elevations above other more temperate climate types. They are rare in the Southern Hemisphere, limited to isolated high altitude locations, 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, Sakhalin Island, northeastern mainland Europe, Scandinavia, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland are closer to the sea and heavily maritime-influenced and comparable to oceanic climates, with relatively cool summers, significant year-round precipitation (including high amounts of snow) and winters being just below the freezing mark (too cold for such a classification). [4] More extreme and inland humid continental climates, sometimes known as "hyper-continental" climates, are found in northeast China, southern Siberia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, most of the southern interior of Canada, and the Upper Midwest, where temperatures in the winter resemble those of adjacent subarctic climates (with long, drier, generally very cold winters) but have longer and generally warmer summers (in occasional cases, hot summers). A more moderate variety, found in places like Northern Honshu, east-central China, the Korean Peninsula, parts of Eastern Europe, parts of southern Ontario, much of the American Midwest, and the Northeast US, the climate combines hotter summer maxima and greater humidity (similar to those found in adjacent humid subtropical climates) and moderately cold winters and more intermittent snow cover (averaging somewhat below freezing, too cold for a more temperate classification), and is less extreme than the most inland hyper-continental variety.

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). [5] 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 be roughly the minimum temperature necessary for tree reproduction and growth. [6] Wide temperature ranges are common within this climate zone. [7]

Second letter in the classification symbol defines seasonal rainfall as follows: [5]

while the third letter denotes the extent of summer heat: [5]

Associated precipitation

Within North America, moisture within this climate regime is supplied by the Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico and adjacent western subtropical Atlantic. [8] Precipitation is relatively well distributed year-round in many areas with this climate (f), while others may see a marked reduction in wintry precipitation, [6] which increases the chances of a wintertime drought (w). [9] 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, [6] and in North America and Asia an occasional tropical cyclone (or the remnants thereof). 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, [8] coniferous forests, and coniferous swamps. [10] Within wetter areas, maple, spruce, pine, fir, and oak can be found. Fall foliage is noted during the autumn of deciduous forests. [6]

Hot summer subtype

Regions with hot-summer humid continental climates Koppen World Map Dfa Dwa Dsa.png
Regions with hot-summer humid continental climates

A hot summer version of a continental climate features an average temperature of at least 22 °C (71.6 °F) in its warmest month. [11] Since these regimes are restricted 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. [6]

Windsor, Canada
Climate chart (explanation)
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F
M
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M
J
J
A
S
O
N
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62
 
 
0
−7
 
 
62
 
 
1
−6
 
 
70
 
 
7
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20
10
 
 
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26
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73
 
 
16
7
 
 
80
 
 
9
1
 
 
74
 
 
2
−4
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: [12]
Imperial conversion
JFMAMJJASOND
 
 
2.4
 
 
31
19
 
 
2.4
 
 
34
21
 
 
2.8
 
 
44
28
 
 
3.3
 
 
57
39
 
 
3.5
 
 
69
49
 
 
3.4
 
 
78
60
 
 
3.5
 
 
83
64
 
 
2.9
 
 
80
63
 
 
3.7
 
 
73
55
 
 
2.9
 
 
60
44
 
 
3.1
 
 
48
35
 
 
2.9
 
 
36
24
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Shenyang, China
Climate chart (explanation)
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F
M
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M
J
J
A
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O
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6.9
 
 
−5
−17
 
 
8.6
 
 
0
−12
 
 
21
 
 
7
−4
 
 
40
 
 
17
5
 
 
53
 
 
23
12
 
 
93
 
 
28
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174
 
 
29
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169
 
 
29
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65
 
 
24
12
 
 
39
 
 
16
4
 
 
20
 
 
6
−5
 
 
10
 
 
−2
−13
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: China Meteorological Administration [13]
Imperial conversion
JFMAMJJASOND
 
 
0.3
 
 
23
2
 
 
0.3
 
 
31
11
 
 
0.8
 
 
45
25
 
 
1.6
 
 
62
40
 
 
2.1
 
 
74
53
 
 
3.6
 
 
82
63
 
 
6.8
 
 
84
69
 
 
6.7
 
 
83
67
 
 
2.5
 
 
75
54
 
 
1.6
 
 
61
40
 
 
0.8
 
 
42
24
 
 
0.4
 
 
28
9
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches

Within North America, this climate includes portions of the central and eastern United States from east of 100°W to south of about the 44°N to the Atlantic. Precipitation increases further eastward in this zone and is less seasonally uniform in the west. The western states of the western United States (namely Montana, Wyoming, parts of southern Idaho, most of Lincoln County in Eastern Washington, parts of Colorado, parts of Utah, isolated parts of northern New Mexico, 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 and Midwestern United States, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, southern New York, southern Connecticut, and southern Rhode Island fall into the hot-summer humid continental climate. In Canada, this climate type exists only over portions of Southern Ontario.

In the Eastern Hemisphere, this climate regime is found within interior Eurasia and east-central Asia. 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, [14] [15] 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, south-east Russia, and over much of the Korean Peninsula; it has the Köppen classification Dwa. Much of central Asia, northwestern China, and southern Mongolia has 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 mid-latitude 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, northern Iraq, parts of Central Asia, parts of the High Atlas mountain range in central Morocco and very small parts of the Intermountain West in the United States.

This climate zone does not exist at all in the Southern Hemisphere, where the continents either do not penetrate low enough in latitude or taper too much to have any place that gets the combination of snowy winters and hot summers. Marine influences are very strong around 40°S and such 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
Erzurum, Turkey
Climate chart (explanation)
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F
M
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M
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J
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16
 
 
−4
−16
 
 
19
 
 
−2
−15
 
 
35
 
 
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−1
 
 
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22
 
 
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47
 
 
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26
 
 
7
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21
 
 
−1
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Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: mgm.gov.tr
Imperial conversion
JFMAMJJASOND
 
 
0.6
 
 
25
3
 
 
0.7
 
 
28
6
 
 
1.4
 
 
39
19
 
 
2.2
 
 
54
31
 
 
2.8
 
 
64
38
 
 
1.7
 
 
73
43
 
 
0.9
 
 
82
50
 
 
0.7
 
 
83
50
 
 
0.9
 
 
75
40
 
 
1.9
 
 
62
33
 
 
1
 
 
45
21
 
 
0.8
 
 
30
10
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Halifax, Canada
Climate chart (explanation)
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
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139
 
 
0
−8
 
 
110
 
 
0
−8
 
 
133
 
 
4
−4
 
 
118
 
 
9
1
 
 
119
 
 
14
6
 
 
112
 
 
20
11
 
 
110
 
 
23
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96
 
 
23
15
 
 
109
 
 
19
12
 
 
124
 
 
13
6
 
 
151
 
 
8
2
 
 
145
 
 
3
−4
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Environment Canada [16]
Imperial conversion
JFMAMJJASOND
 
 
5.5
 
 
32
17
 
 
4.3
 
 
33
19
 
 
5.2
 
 
38
25
 
 
4.6
 
 
48
34
 
 
4.7
 
 
58
42
 
 
4.4
 
 
67
51
 
 
4.3
 
 
74
58
 
 
3.8
 
 
74
59
 
 
4.3
 
 
67
53
 
 
4.9
 
 
56
44
 
 
5.9
 
 
47
35
 
 
5.7
 
 
37
24
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches

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. [6]

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 [17] and below 40°N in the high Appalachians. In Europe, this subtype reaches its most northerly latitude in Bodø at the 67°N. [18]

High-altitude locations such as Flagstaff, Arizona, 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. [19]

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 the Nordic countries 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), [15] Norway (most populated area), [5] 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)). [14] [20] It has little warming or precipitation effects from the northern Atlantic. [15] 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. [21]

In the Southern Hemisphere, it exists in well-defined areas only in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, [22] 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 continental climate with 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°N to 70°N, 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 differences.

<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 central and eastern parts of the three northern-tier continents, typically in the middle latitudes, often within large landmasses, where prevailing winds blow overland bringing some precipitation, and temperatures are not moderated by oceans. Continental climates occur mostly in the Northern Hemisphere due to the large landmasses found there. Most of northeastern China, eastern and southeastern Europe, much of Russia south of the arctic circle, 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 a dry summer climate, described by Köppen as Cs, is a temperate climate type that occurs in the lower mid-latitudes. Such climates typically have dry summers and wet winters, with summer conditions ranging from warm to hot and winter conditions typically being mild to cool. These weather conditions are typically experienced in the majority of Mediterranean-climate regions and countries, but remain highly dependent on proximity to the ocean, altitude and geographical location.

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

The subtropical zones or subtropics are geographical and climate zones 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′10.1″ (or 23.43613°) 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, German climatologist Rudolf Geiger (1894–1981) introduced some changes to the classification system in 1954 and 1961, which is thus sometimes called the Köppen–Geiger climate classification.

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

An oceanic climate, also known as a marine climate, is the temperate climate sub-type in Köppen classification represented as 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 60 degrees latitude, with subpolar versions extending to 70 degrees latitude in some coastal areas. Other varieties of climates usually classified together with these include subtropical highland climates, represented as Cwb or Cfb, and subpolar oceanic or cold subtropical highland climates, represented as Cfc or Cwc. Subtropical highland climates occur in some mountainous parts of the subtropics or tropics, some of which have monsoon influence, while their cold variants and subpolar oceanic climates occur near polar or tundra regions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Semi-arid climate</span> 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Climate classification</span> 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 1884.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Climate of the United States</span> 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Climate of Japan</span> Overview of the Climate of Japan

Most regions of Japan, such as Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu, belong to the temperate zone with humid subtropical climate characterized by four distinct seasons. However, its climate varies from cool humid continental climate in the north such as northern Hokkaido, to warm tropical rainforest climate in the south such as the Yaeyama Islands and Minami-Tori-shima.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Climate of Mexico</span> Overview of the climate of Mexico

The climate of Mexico is very diverse. 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">Climate of Kosovo</span> Overview of the climate of Kosovo

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

A humid subtropical climate is a temperate climate type 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, and equatorward from either humid continental or oceanic climates. It is also known as warm temperate climate in some climate classifications.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Climate of Manitoba</span>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Climate of Spain</span> Overview of the climate of Spain

The climate of Spain is highly diverse and varies considerably across the country's various regions. Spain is the most climatically diverse country in Europe with 13 different Köppen climates.

<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.

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