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Regional Climates

Regional climates are patterns of weather that affect a significant geographical area, much greater than that influenced by local climatic effects such as sea breezes, but much smaller than the global climate of the whole Earth. Sometimes, regional climates may be identified on account of special features which distinguish them from other patterns of climate.

The British Isles, for example, has a very distinct maritime climate, influenced by is proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf Stream, and positioning in the mid latitude convergence zone of warm subtropical and cold polar air masses. The climate of the British Isles is an example of a temperate climate with few extremes in the weather and a small annual average temperature range. Further east within mainland Europe, continentality increases. Summers are warmer, winters colder and precipitation generally declines as one moves further into the continental interior.

The Indian Monsoon is another example of a distinctive regional climate. Dry for much of the year when northeast trade winds blow, airflow reverses in the summer, and the southwesterly monsoon brings months of prolonged rain to India and Southeast Asia. Much further to the north, far from the influence of Indian Ocean, the air becomes much drier. In the mid latitudes of central Asia lies the Gobi Desert, hot in summer, extremely cold in winter, and dry throughout the year on account of its continentality.

Some countries are large enough to experience a full range of regional climatic patterns. Australia, for example, has a tropical north and northwest, a subtropical desert interior, and a Mediterranean climate for the southeast, with warm summers but fairly chilly winters. The Unites States, too, has many types of climate on account of its size. The Rocky Mountains influence much of the weather in the American Midwest, whilst hurricanes annually wreak havoc along the southeast coast, where ocean water temperatures in the equatorial Atlantic during the summer provide sufficient heat to generate these massive storms. New England in the northeast of the country has a more temperate climate, much like that of Europe.