What Is the Climate of the Interior Plains?

Canada's Interior Plains are nutrient-rich grasslands stretching through aspen forests and into sparse, cold taiga. Climate is affected by western mountain ranges, the landlocked nature of the plains and their lack of trees.

The Chinook winds are a strong determining factor in winter climate in the shadow of the western mountain ranges. These warm breezes lower temperatures in the surrounding area by stirring air currents, and they can lead to severe winter weather. In general, winter is extremely cold on the Interior Plains where there are no trees to act as windbreaks.

Summer is a season of intense dryness. So far from the ocean and sheltered by the mountains, not much rain makes it to the plains themselves. This can lead to drought and to forest fires, though when torrential rains occur the impact on erosion can be staggering.

Erosion has sculpted many landforms in the Interior Plains, including canyons and gulches. This is exacerbated by the largely sedimentary composition of the plains themselves, deposited there by a sea long since retreated thanks to the resculpting of the world through the millennia.

There are many deposits of resources in the rich soil of the Interior Plains. These deposits were likewise left behind by the vanished inland sea, which itself was the product of glacial retreat.