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Continental climate

Continental climates are defined in the Köppen climate classification has having a coldest month mean temperature below -3 C (26.6 F) or 0 °C depending on which isotherm used for the coldest month and four months above 10 °C. In the Köppen climate system, Continental climates were bordered to the south by Temperate climates or C climates (coldest month above 0 C, but below 18 C) and to the north by Boreal climate or E climates (only 1 to 3 months with a mean temperature of 50 F). Köppen also defined continental climates as having more than 30 days with continuous snowcover on the ground.

Continental climates often have a significant annual variation in temperature (hot summers and cold winters). They tend to occur in the middle latitudes (40 to 55 north), where prevailing winds come from over land, and temperatures are not moderated by bodies of water such as oceans or seas. Continental climates occur mostly in the Northern Hemisphere which has the large landmasses required for this type of climate to develop. Most of northern and northeastern China, eastern and southeastern Europe, and the central and upper eastern United States have this type of climate.

In Continental climates, Precipitation tends to be moderate in amount, concentrated mostly in the warmer months. Only a few areas, in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest of North America and in Iran, northern Iraq, adjacent Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia show a winter maximum in precipitation. A portion of the annual precipitation falls as snowfall, and snow often remains on the ground for more than a month. Summers in continental climates can feature thunderstorms and frequent cool temperatures, however summer weather is more stable than winter weather.



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