What Is the Temperate Climate Zone?

The temperate climate zone is located between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle in the Northern Hemisphere and between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle in the Southern Hemisphere. Areas with a temperate climate generally have warm summers, cold winters and moderate springs and summers. They do not have extremes in temperature or precipitation.

The two types of temperate climates are maritime and continental. The maritime climate is influenced by the oceans, causing these areas to have steady temperatures across the seasons. Maritime climates are most often found on the western edge of continents in the temperate zone because of prominent westerly winds. Areas with a maritime climate include western Europe and western North America at latitudes between 40 to 60 degrees north. The maritime climate prevails farther west in Europe than it does in North America, because Europe lacks a north-south mountain range to block the maritime air coming from the west.

The continental climate is found inland and is characterized by warmer summers and colder winters. Generally, areas in North America that are west of the Rocky Mountains are classified as having a continental climate. This is because the Rocky Mountains act as a climate barrier to the maritime air.