continental climate

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continental climate

a climate characterized by hot summers, cold winters, and little rainfall, typical of the interior of a continent
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Continental Climate


a climate formed when large land masses exert a dominant influence on the atmosphere; the climate in the interior of a continent.

In the temperate latitudes, a continental climate is usually characterized by a large annual range of air temperature (hot summers and cold winters) and considerable daily variations in air temperature. A continental climate differs from a marine climate in having a low mean annual temperature, low humidity, and dustier air. Cloudiness is comparatively slight in a continental climate. There is little precipitation, and the maximum precipitation usually occurs in the summer. The wind velocity is also low. The weather is more variable than in a marine climate. In a continental climate of the tropics, the annual range of air temperature is not as great as in the temperate latitudes, and more rain falls than in a marine climate. In the polar latitudes there is a large annual range of air temperature, and summers are very cold. A continental climate can also extend in a weak form to the parts of the oceans closest to the continents, if continental air masses reach them throughout the year.

A continental climate must be distinguished from a monsoonal climate, which results from the dominant influence of continental air masses in winter and oceanic air masses in summer. Gradual transitions exist between marine and continental climates. For example, the climate of Western Europe is mostly marine; the European USSR, moderately continental; Eastern Siberia, markedly continental; and the Far East, monsoonal.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

continental climate

[¦känt·ən¦ent·əl ′klī·mət]
Climate characteristic of the interior of a landmass of continental size, marked by large annual, daily, and day-to-day temperature ranges, low relative humidity, and a moderate or small irregular rainfall; annual extremes of temperature occur soon after the solstices.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
All these mountains and mountain ranges in the Republic of Macedonia are intertwined with a lot of green valleys and basins and the influences from the Mediterranean and continental climates and the great many natural attractions provide an excellent environment for development of winter and summer tourism.
Reviewing the Russian research in the journal Bioscience, Dr Shiel highlighted the finding that 'even localised clearing might ultimately switch entire continental climates from wet to arid, with rainfall declining by 95 per cent'.
The site is located at the transition between oceanic and continental climates, where the average air temperature in January is -1 degree Celsius.

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