winters characteristic of the western coastal region of
North America and Canada.
Temperatures are highest in Europe during the
summer; Athens, Greece averages 80°F; Granada,
Spain 77°F; Greenwich, England 63°F; and Paris,
France 65°F. Farther north, summer temperatures
average as much as 20 to 25 degrees less. During the
winter, the Mediterranean temperatures average in the
upper 40°F to low 50°F range while the extreme
northern sections average 10°F or less. The Atlantic
coastal countries with their predominantly maritime
climates maintain far less temperature extremes
between summer and winter.
Precipitation in the form of rain and drizzle is
common along the European Atlantic coast and near
the Mediterranean Sea. Snow does occur at times in
areas east of Spain and north of the Mediterranean Sea.
At higher elevations inland, snow is common and
frequently abundant. Central Spain and southern
Russia, by contrast, experience semiarid and arid
Asias climate is predominantly continental. The
only exceptions are the heavily populated coastal areas
that have tropical and maritime climates during the
summer. This primarily continental climate results in
limited precipitation and large temperature ranges both
daily and seasonally.
Asia is a huge continent with large expanses of land
extending far northward. The Himalaya Mountains
stretch across the southern portion in an east-west
direction; mountains also parallel the eastern coast.
These geographical features often contain continental
arctic and polar air inland, resulting in the most extreme
temperature ranges found in the Northern Hemisphere.
Northeastern Siberias temperatures often range from
60°F in the winter to above 60°F in the summer.
Extremes range as high as 98°F and as low as 90°F.
The large interior of Asia also results in extreme
pressure difference. In the winter, a cold high-pressure
area dominates the continent. In the summer, a warm
low-pressure area dominates the continent. This
accounts for the northeast winter monsoons and
southwest summer monsoons.
In the winter the interior is dry, receiving less than 1
inch of precipitation. Coastal areas under maritime
influence receive normal amounts (about 8 inches) of
precipitation. In the summer, precipitation is plentiful
except well inland. Rain is so abundant in some regions,
such as India, that the yearly rainfall average (425
inches or more) is among the highest in the world.
The extreme south and southeast regions of Asia
differ sharply from its northern neighbors. These
southern regions enjoy the tropical and maritime
climates that feature only minor seasonal temperature
variations. Eastern Asia enjoys a climate very similar to
that found along the eastern coast of North America
from the Florida Keys to eastern Canada. East and
Southeast Asia, like the eastern and southeastern
United States, is also subject to an occasional tropical
cyclone (typhoon) in the summer and in the fall.
SOUTH AMERICAN WEATHER
South America has a variety of climates but lacks
the severe weather of North America. Continental polar
air does not exist here because the continent tapers
sharply from north to south. The larger northern area is
close to the equator and does not experience the influx
of cold maritime polar air from the south. Tropical
climates prevail over much of the continent. Yet, due to
the high Andes Mountains along the western coast,
there are areas that are extremely dry and others that are
The South American northeasts climate consists
mainly of high temperature and humidity and copious
rainfall throughout the year. September is the warmest
month with average temperatures of around 82°F.
January is the coolest month with average temperatures
of around 79°F. Nighttime temperatures rarely fall
below 65°F. Rainfall averages 87 inches annually with
12 inches falling in June and just over 2 inches falling in
October. The higher elevations of northeastern South
America have greater ranges of temperature, humidity,
and precipitation; however, these ranges are not
In the southern region, below 200 south latitude,
South America has distinct seasons very similar to
those in the southeastern United States. These seasons,
however, are reversed. The warmest month is January,
which averages 74°F; July, which averages 49°F is the
coolest month. Precipitation occurs fairly evenly
throughout the year and averages 38 inches. There is no
distinct rainy season.