Both the moist subtropical and moist continental climates are found on eastern sides of continents in the midlatitudes. What are the major factors that determine their temperature and precipitation cycles? How do these two climates differ?

Published: September 19, 2017

Moist Subtropical Climate
It is found on the eastern coast of continents just outside tropics. The climate is characterized by hot and humid summer and mild winter. Maritime influence modifies the climate and Cold aid air from inner continent brings down temperature. Found on eastern coast of China, Gulf of Mexico, Australia etc. There are variations in the temperature and precipitation:

  • China Type: Here the differential heating between land and sea draws tropical pacific air stream . The rain bearing southeast monsoon winds lead to heavy precipitation. While in winter dry and cold air blows from north towards pacific. Great annual range of temperature
  • In Gulf of Mexico due to lesser difference heating in Atlantic and American continent, monsoonal characteristic is less
  • Natal Type: Found in southern continent due to narrowness of land and dominance of maritime influence, there is no monsoon element. Southeast trade wind bring more evenly distributed rainfall. Small annual range.

Thus land-water distribution at given latitude, shape of landmass, relief features of continent play a vital role in temperature and precipitation.
Moist Continental Climate
The climate is characterized by large seasonal differences with hot summers and cold winters, precipitation distributed throughout the year. Found in Northern America, Europe and Asia between 30oN and 60oN. Hardly found in southern continent. Thus land –water distribution, ocean currents play a vital role:

  • Off-Shore cold currents make the summers night bearable
  • Land and water distribution and ocean currents modify the climate of Japan

The two climates differ:
Moist subtropical climate has smaller annual range of temperature while moist continental climate experiences extreme climates. Further, moist subtropical climate has frost free winter while in moist climate winter witness snowfall.

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