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9 Types Of Climate (Hot, Temperate And Cold)

A list of types of climate around the world including tropical, continental, and subarctic
There are 9 types of climate in the world. Tropical climates are hot and humid.


The types of climate on the planet vary depending on how atmospheric elements combine, leading to hot, polar or temperate climates. According to science, climate is a factor that mainly has an impact on flora and fauna in a particular location.

What is climate?

The difference between climate and weather is that climate refers to permanent elements of atmospheric conditions in a particular area. On the other hand, the weather refers to the temperature and weather elements at a specific point in time.

So, today we could say in that at a certain place on Earth the climate is continental, and the weather is rainy, and tomorrow it might be sunny, although the climate will continue being continental.

The climate is the result of a series of elements that exchange their qualities -ruled by the sun's power.

Elements such as latitude (the distance between a specific place and the equator), and altitude relative to the sea, both affect a place's climate. Other factors include the distance between the sea and the nearest landform. The different types of climate affect the flora and fauna of a place.

Related: Types Of Ecosystems: 9 Terrestrial And Aquatic Biomes

9 Types of climate and their locations

Depending on how altitude, latitude, landforms, and distance from the sea are combined, they fall into one of the 3 different climate zones, within which there are smaller more specific subgroups.

This is the most popular, accepted classification:

Hot climates

The subgroups of this climate zone have one thing in common: the sun, whose rays hit the atmosphere perpendicularly, generating more heat. Here there are plenty of meadows, savannas, and rainforests. 

Regions affected by hurricanes and heavy rains, and usually with minimal temperature variation (it's usually warmer than 20 degrees on average).

1. Equatorial

The first of the types of climate on our list is also known as a rainforest climate, marked by high temperatures that usually rise above 27 degrees on average. Located in low latitude zones (places near the equator), with central Africa and the Amazon rainforest being the two most recognized places.

Here you'll find the mightiest rivers -the Congo River and the Amazon, and this is no coincidence since places with equatorial climates experience more than 2,500 ml of rainfall yearly, and even up to 6,000 ml in humid areas.

San José, Costa Rica, Salvador de Bahía, and Kuala Lumpur are some well-known places with this type of climate.

2. Tropical

Bogotá, Río de Janeiro, Caracas, Miami, Santo Domingo, Manila, and Jakarta are cities with a tropical climate. These are all located in areas up to 23 degrees North and South latitude, and characterized by high temperatures and abrupt daytime thermal variations: during the day it's hot, and at night it cools off.

These are humid areas where temperatures don't usually fall below 0 degrees: it never freezes. Besides, in these areas the cold air from one hemisphere meets with the warm air from the other, causing an intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ), with heavy rains all year round as a consequence.

This climate gives rise to the formation of tropical rainforests and savannahs, depending on how arid or humid the place is.

3. Subtropical

This is one of the types of climate situated between 20 and 35 degrees latitude and usually marked by moderate temperatures when compared with other hot climate subgroups. Los Angeles, Madrid, Casablanca, Athens, Cairo, Buenos Aires, Asunción, San Paulo, Nueva Delhi, and Lima are some of the most widely recognized locations with a subtropical climate.

The average yearly temperature doesn't dip below 18 degrees, and minimums are no lower than 6 degrees. However, there are two subgroups here depending on how humid or arid a place is.

In Eastern facing locations of the continents, warm sea currents prevail, while the Western side is influenced by cold currents. The Eastern territories form a part of the humid subtropical climate, while those located in the West are considered arid subtropical.

Related: Properties Of Matter (Basic, Physical And Chemical)

Temperate climates

Temperate climates are characterized by average yearly temperatures of about 18 degrees, and average precipitation doesn't rise above 2,000 millimeters per year. Some traits of this climate zone are quite similar to those of subtropical regions.

4. Mediterranean

The Mediterranean climate gets its name from the Mediterranean sea since this is the area that it encompasses, although it is also located in some other parts of the world like Santiago de Chile and Capetown.

The fourth of the types of climate on our list is characterized by cold, humid winters and hot, dry summers, with moderate rain that only reaches more than 1,0000 millimeters yearly in some places. The closer you get to the poles, the more mild and rainy the climate becomes, with an oceanic influence. The closer you are to the equator, the hotter it is, and there's more desert influence.

Here there are often evergreens (trees with needles that don't fall off during the winter season) and an incredible wealth of plant life. The Mediterranean is also favorable for irrigated agriculture that produces a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

5. Chinese

In cities like Shanghai, Buenos Aires, Atlanta, Orlando, Sydney, and Hong Kong there is a Chinese climate. This is characterized by mild winters and humid summers, mixed with heavy precipitation. The winters are warm and dry depending on the location relative to the coast.

Winters can be harsh, and freezing temperatures are reached, along with abundant snow. It continually rains, even during dry periods, and there can be monsoons. That's why the landscape of these places is generally very green and rich in vegetation.

6. Oceanic

This sixth of the types of climate on our list is always close to the ocean, resulting in high temperatures and abundant precipitation. The yearly temperature shift is minimal, with cold winters and mild summers, but very little change between one and the other.

The oceanic climate is present in oceanside communities in Europe like Atlantic cities in Portugal, Spain, and France, and other countries and Northeastern Europe (Dublin, Amsterdam, Bergen) besides towns in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Canada, and the United States.

The average temperature doesn't rise above 22 degrees in the hottest month, nor does it dip below -3 in the coldest months. Vegetation is abundant and varied, with many deciduous forests and vast expanses of pasture.

7. Continental

The most characteristic trait of the seventh of the types of climate on our list is the extreme temperature changes between winter and summer. In the winter the ground freezes and temperatures drop radically, and summers tend to be hot as well. On the other hand, precipitation in a continental climate is infrequent.

This climate is present in the Northern hemisphere in places with a medium altitude, for example, Chicago, New York, Moscow, Kabul, Beijing, Bucarest, and Warsaw. Besides, a continental climate can be applied to large desserts such as the Sahara, where the sea doesn't affect the climate and produces extreme changes in temperature.

These long-term weather patterns are typical of taigas, boreal forests, meadows, fir and pine forests, and the steppes.

Related: The End Of The World: Between Science And Religion

Cold climates

Cold climates are one of the types of climates on our list that affect areas where man hasn't settled, and plant and animal life barely survive. The most extreme subcategory is the polar climate, which is incompatible with any life form beyond certain lichens and moss.

There are two types of climate that are cold: polar and highland climates.


8. Polar

A polar climate is a cold climate whose temperatures are almost always below 0 degrees. Besides, there are intense winds, and the climate is dry, with a lack of humidity. This weather pattern is an obstacle for any form of life, which is why it lacks abundant flora and fauna.

This climate zone is located in the Arctic and Antarctica, and at the peaks of the tallest mountain ranges. The coldest temperatures recorded come from Antarctica, at lower than negative 70 degrees. The warmest temperatures here rarely reach more than 0 Celsius.

Unlike the rest of the places in the world, polar climate regions don't experience 4 seasons, just two: an extraordinarily intense and prolonged winter, and a short summer where temperatures rarely rise above 0.

9. Highland

At altitudes above 2,000 meters, the highland climate is found -characterized by long and cold winters, and short and mild summers. Precipitation is conspicuous by its absence, and temperatures change very little between seasons.

In the case of a highland climate, altitude plays a huge role, no matter what its latitude, which means that this climate is found in Spain (Pyrenees), in the Americas, in the Andes and the Mexican Sierra Madre.

The last of the types of climate on our list tends to give rise to vegetation classified by altitude, like a division between different tiers of vegetation depending on the height it's found at. So, you can see (from highest to lowest elevation): lichens and mosses, conifers, shrubs, leafy trees, and pines and oaks.

Check out the original article: Los 9 tipos de clima (cálidos, templados y fríos) at