Temperate zone

The temperate parts of the world are green

In geography, temperate latitudes of the Earth lie between the subtropics and the polar circles.[1] Average yearly temperatures in these regions are not extreme, not burning hot nor freezing cold. Temperate means moderate.

Unlike in the tropics, temperatures can change greatly here, between summer and winter. So, most places with a temperate climate have four seasons: summer, autumn, winter and spring. Other areas with a temperate climate can have very unpredictable weather. One day it may be sunny, the next may be rainy, and after that it may be cloudy. This is normal in summer as well as in winter. These are the main types of temperate climate:

  • A maritime climate is generally for places near the sea. That includes London, Dublin, Melbourne and Auckland. Most places do not have a rainy season and a dry season. Prevailing winds in the temperate zone are from the west. The western edge of temperate continents usually get this maritime climate. Examples are Western Europe, and western North America at latitudes between 40° and 60° north (65°N in Europe).
  • Some parts of the temperate zone have a Mediterranean climate, which have a dry summer – for example Madrid, and Adelaide.
  • Some parts of the temperate zone, especially in the northern part of the continental climate, have severe winters – for example Moscow and Minnesota – this is called a hemiboreal climate.
  • Some places in the temperate zone have hot summers and cold winters, for example Chicago, Budapest and Almaty.


  1. McColl R.W. 2005. Encyclopedia of World Geography, Volume 1. New York: Facts on File, p. 919. Template:Catalog lookup linkScript error: No such module "check isxn".