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World map with temperate zones highlighted in red
Wet season

In geography, temperate or tepid latitudes of the globe lie between the tropics and the polar circles. The changes in these regions between summer and winter are generally mild, rather than extreme hot or cold. But in continental areas, such as central North America the variations between summer and winter can be extreme. In regions traditionally considered tropical, localities at high altitudes (e.g. parts of the Andes) may have a temperate climate. The north temperate zone extends from the Tropic of Cancer (at about 23.5 degrees north latitude) to the Arctic Circle (at approximately 66.5 degrees north latitude). The south temperate zone extends from the Tropic of Capricorn (at approximately 23.5 degrees south latitude) to the Antarctic Circle (at approximately 66.5 degrees south latitude).

Within these borders there are many climate types, which are generally grouped into four categories: oceanic, mediterranean, humid subtropical and continental.

The maritime climate is affected by the oceans, which help to sustain somewhat stable temperatures throughout the year. In temperate zones the prevailing winds are from the west, thus the western edge of temperate continents most commonly experience this maritime climate. Such regions include Western Europe, and western North America at latitudes between 40° and 60° north (65°N in Europe).

The continental climate is usually situated inland, with warmer summers and colder winters. Heat loss and reception are aided by extensive land mass. In North America, the Rocky Mountains act as a climate barrier to the maritime air blowing from the west, creating a continental climate to the east. In Europe, the maritime climate is able to stabilize inland temperature, because the major mountain range - the Alps - is oriented east-west (the area east of the long Scandinavian mountain range is an exception).

The vast majority of the world's human population resides in temperate zones, especially in the northern hemisphere because of the mass of land. Peoples of European descent are dominant in most of the temperate zones due to the great migrations of the 1700s and 1800s, except in areas which already had a high population density (such as East Asia) or in the Muslim world. However the population in the temperate zones are somewhat decreasing, due to low birth rates and a growing migration trend from the temperate zone to the tropics.

For the history of the term, see geographical zone

See also

Simple English

File:World map
The temperate parts of the world are red in this picture.

In geography, temperate latitudes of the globe lie between the tropics and the polar circles. The changes in these regions between summer and winter are not extreme, not burning hot or freezing cold. However, a temperate climate can have very unpredictable weather. One day it may be sunny, the next it may be raining, and after that it may be cloudy. This is usual in summer as well as in winter.The temperate regions has 4 seasons, namely: summer,fall,winter and spring.

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