As it presents most of its territorial areas in mid-latitudes, Europe has its own temperate temperatures and rainfall, with well-defined seasons, mild temperatures and rainfall interspersed with snowfall. In the extreme north and in areas of high altitudes, the lower temperatures make human occupation difficult, but do not make it completely unfeasible.
Factors that influence the climate in Europe
In general, Europe’s climatic conditions result from the combination of four basic factors:
- Latitude– Occasions the variation of the temperature according to the distance or the approach of the Equator, where the angle of incidence of the solar rays is perpendicular. In general, the greater the distance from the Equator, the lower the temperature, due to the greater curvature of the Earth in relation to the incidence of solar radiation, which is canceled out in case of high altitude areas.
- Altitude– In areas occupied by high elevations, there is a mountain climate (mountain cold). This is mainly due to the rarefaction of gas particles (oxygen), causing less heat retention.
- Maritimity– As it has a very indented coastline, the European continent allows great maritime influence, which eases the temperatures in areas close to the coast. The warm sea current that influences the waters of the North Atlantic originates in the Gulf of Mexico (drift current in the North Atlantic) and is responsible for less severe winters and higher rainfall rates along the northwest coast.
- Continentality– The areas far from the oceanic masses present thermal amplitudes more accentuated than those located close to the coast. This factor influences aridity and causes wide variations in temperature in some European regions.
- Winds– During the summer, the displacement of hot and dry winds, such as Simum and Siroco, coming from North Africa, influences the Mediterranean area, making it drier. During the winter, the displacement of cold winds, such as Buram, coming from the Arctic pole, makes the northern regions colder.
Types of climates in Europe
Thus, the main climatic types of the European continent are:
- Polar –Covers northern Scandinavia to northern areas of Russia. According to Diseaseslearning, winters are long and cold, with temperatures below 0 ° C, reaching -60 ° C. Summers are short, with temperatures ranging between 16 ° C and 21 ° C. In coastal areas, in the far north, the freezing of the sea is characteristic, except in locations affected by the North Atlantic
- Oceanic temperate– Characteristic of the coast between the north of Portugal and Norway and also in the British islands. It presents high pluviometric indexes, mainly in the winter and in the spring, and little accentuated thermal amplitudes. It is the climate most influenced by the North Atlantic
- Continental temperate– Typical in the regions of Central and Eastern Europe, with lower rainfall levels, with dry and cold winter (–20 ° C) and rainy and hot summers (23 ° C). The thermal amplitudes are more accentuated.
- Mediterranean– Typical of Southern Europe, covering the south of France, Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain. It presents hot and dry summers, due to the strong performance of the Saharan winds Simum and Siroco, and rainy winters. Interestingly, the Mediterranean climate has characteristics opposite to those of the typical tropical, characterized by rainy summers and dry winters.
- Mountain cold – The cold mountain climate dominates where the areas with the highest altitudes on the European continent are located, of which the Alps, the Carpathians and the Scandinavian Alps stand out. In these locations, average annual temperatures can vary between 4 ° C and –10 ° C.