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Temperate Climates

Temperate climates have moderate temperatures and differ in the amount of rain they get.

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Temperate Climates

What do these photos have in common? What's different?

Both photos have grapevines and old looking stone buildings. The sun is shining. The photo on the right is in California, where wine has become an enormous business in recent decades. On the left is an ancient village in Tuscany in Italy. These locations both have a Mediterranean climate, which is good for wine, olive oil, artichokes, and an tremendous number of other agricultural products.

Temperate Climates

Temperate climates have moderate temperatures. These climates vary in how much rain they get and when the rain falls.

Mediterranean Climate

Mediterranean climates are found on the western coasts of continents. The latitudes are between 30° and 45°. The coast of California has a Mediterranean climate. Temperatures are mild, and rainfall is moderate. Most of the rain falls in the winter, and summers are dry. To make it through the dry summers, short woody plants are common ( Figure below ).

A manzanita bush in San Mateo County, California

Marine West Coast Climate

Marine west coast climates are also found on the western coasts of continents. They occur between 45° and 60° latitude. The coast of Washington State has this type of climate. Temperatures are mild, and there’s plenty of rainfall all year round. Dense fir forests grow in this climate ( Figure below ).

Hoh rainforest in Olympic National Park, Washington

Humid Subtropical Climate

Humid subtropical climates are found on the eastern sides of continents between about 20° and 40° latitude. The southeastern U.S. has this type of climate. Summers are hot and humid, but winters are chilly. There is moderate rainfall throughout the year. Pine and oak forests grow in this climate ( Figure below ).

Duke Forest in Durham, North Carolina


  • Different temperate climates are at different latitudes. The latitude a climate depends on where it is on a continent.
  • The Mediterranean climate has wet winters and dry summers.
  • The marine west coast climate gets lots of rain from the nearby ocean.
  • In the humid subtropical climate, summers are wet but winters are very cold.


Use the resource below to answer the questions that follow.

  1. What is the difference between temperate deciduous forests and temperate grasslands? Where does each tend to be found?
  2. What does deciduous mean? Why is this an adaptation to the climate of this region?
  3. What types of vegetation are found in the temperate forest?
  4. How do animals adapt to the temperate forests?


  1. At what latitudes do these three climate types occur?
  2. What types of plants are found in each of the three climate types above?
  3. What is difficult about plants trying to survive in a Mediterranean climate? How do they do that?

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