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Oceanic climate: Map


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World map showing the oceanic climate zones.
An oceanic climate (also called marine west coast climate, maritime climate, subtropical highland and British climate) is the climate typically found along the west coasts at the middle latitudes of all the world's continents, and in southeastern Australia. Climates near the ocean have moderately cool summers and comparatively cool winters, they are generally characterized by a narrower annual range of temperatures than are encountered in other places at a comparable latitude, and do not have the extremely dry summers of Mediterranean climates.

Similar climates, at least in thermal range, are also found in tropical highlands even at considerable distance from any coastline. Generally, they fall into Köppen climate classification Cfb or Cwb. The narrow range of temperatures results not from proximity to a coastline but instead to the slight thermal range of temperatures between seasons characteristic of tropical lowlands; altitudes are high enough that somes places have at least one month cooler than 18 °C and do not qualify for grouping in the true tropical climates. Unlike the norm in true oceanic climates, these moist highland tropical climates may have a marked winter drought, as in Mexico Citymarker. Agricultural potential in both oceanic climates and moist tropical highland climates are practically identical. These climates are most dominant in Europe, where it spreads much farther inland than in other continents.


Precipitation is both adequate and reliable at all times of the year in oceanic climates. Except in certain tropical highland areas, which would have tropical savanna or steppe climates (with a dry season in winter) if not for the high altitude making them cooler (Koppen Cwb). Under some variations of the Koeppen classification system, parts of the Pacific Northwest and south-central Chilemarker are sometimes considered as having a Mediterranean climate (Koppen "Csb") due to a drying trend in the summer.


Overall temperature characteristics vary among oceanic climates; those at the lowest latitudes are nearly subtropical from a thermal standpoint, but more commonly a mesothermal regime prevails, with cool, but not cold, winters and warm, but not hot, summers. Summers are also cooler (often much cooler) than in areas with a humid subtropical climate. Average temperature of warmest month must be less than 22 °C (72 °F) and that of the coldest month warmer than -3 °C (27 °F) although American scientists prefer 0 °C in the coldest month. Poleward of the latter is a zone of subpolar oceanic climate (Köppen Cfc), with long but relatively mild winters (coldest month warmer than -3 or 0) and cool summers and a short summer season (average temperature at least 10 °C or 50 °F) of less than four months; examples of this climate include parts of coastal Icelandmarker in the Northern Hemispheremarker and extreme southern Chilemarker in the Southern Hemispheremarker (the fact that this form of climate exists in both hemispheres rules out the use of such terms as subarctic or boreal to denote it; even though these terms are used to refer to climates characterized by short summers, they are also synonyms for "northern" and therefore inappropriate).

Additional information

The British Islesmarker experiences a typically maritime climate, with prevailing south-westerly winds from the Atlantic Ocean. The annual average temperature range in the British Islesmarker is only about 24 °C. Although the west coast of Alaskamarker experiences a maritime climate, the absence of an equally significant warm Pacific current in the upper-mid latitudes means that these regions are generally colder in winter, with more precipitation falling as snow.

All mid-latitude oceanic climates are classified as humid. Some rainshadow climates with thermal régimes similar to those of oceanic climates but steppe-like (BSk) or even desert-like (BWk) scarcity of precipitation include lowland valleys of Washingtonmarker and Oregonmarker to the east of the Cascade Range, Patagonia in southern Argentinamarker, and the Atacama Desertmarker in northern Chile. Another example are coastal areas in southeast Western Australiamarker.

Regions/Cities with Oceanic Climates


Oceanic climate is prevalent in a good portion of Europe, particularly Western and Northern Europe. Its exists in northern and western Francemarker, the Netherlandsmarker, Belgiummarker, western and northwestern Germanymarker, western Switzerlandmarker (lowland areas), northern Spainmarker (so-called "Green Spain": Galiciamarker, Asturiasmarker, Basque Countrymarker...), northern extreme of Portugalmarker,southwest Norwaymarker, parts of Denmarkmarker, Irelandmarker, Scotlandmarker, Walesmarker, Englandmarker, and northern Turkeymarker,


Maritime Climates are prevalent in the more southerly locations of this region. A mild Maritime climate is in existence in New Zealandmarker, the island of Tasmaniamarker, Australia, southern parts of Victoriamarker and New South Walesmarker, Australia. It can also be found along the western areas of the south coast of Western Australiamarker

South America

Oceanic Climates are found in isolated pockets in South America. It exists in Central Argentinamarker, Southern Chilemarker and parts of Brazilmarker.

North America

Oceanic Climate primarily exists along the coast of the Pacific Northwest in North America. It exists in the western parts of Oregonmarker, Washingtonmarker and the mildest coastal areas of the Alaskanmarker panhandle in the (U.S.A.marker) and the western portions of British Columbiamarker (Canadamarker) . It also exists in extreme Northwest Californiamarker (U.S.A.marker).

Notable Cities with Oceanic Climates

Regions/Cities with Subtropical Highland Climates

The Subtropical Highland variety of this climate exists in elevated portions of the world that are either within the tropics or subtropics though they are typically found in mountainous locations in some tropical countries. Despite the latitude, due to the higher altitudes of these regions, they tend to share several characteristics with Oceanic Climates, though they also tend to be drier. In locations near the equator, areas with the subtropical highland variety of this climate typically features spring-like weather year-round. Temperatures remain relatively constant throughout the year, with monthly averages for all 12 months below 22°C (72°F) but above -3°C (26.6°F) (or 0°C (32°F) using American standards). Also, at least one month's average temperature is below 18°C (64.4°F). Without the elevation, many of these regions would likely feature either tropical or humid subtropical climates. These regions usually carry a Cwb or Cfb designation. . It exists in parts of east, south and south-eastern Africa, some mountainous areas across southern Europe, sections of mountainous Latin America, higher elevations of the southern Appalachiansmarker, and parts of the Himalayasmarker.

Notable Cities with Subtropical Highland Climates

Regions/Cities with Subpolar Oceanic Climates

These are regions that feature an oceanic climate but are usually located closer to Polar Regions. As a result of its location, these regions tend to be somewhat cooler than other Oceanic Climates. Still, Subpolar Oceanic Climates are less prone to temperature extremes than Subarctic climates, featuring much milder winters. It typically carries a “Cfc” designation. This variant of Oceanic Climates are found in parts of coastal Icelandmarker, Faroe Islandsmarker, northwestern coastal areas of Norwaymarker reaching to 70°N on some islands, southern islands of Alaskamarker and parts of the Alaskan Panhandlemarker, the far south of Chilemarker and Argentinamarker and Mountainous areas of Europe, including the Scottish Highlands and uplands near the coast of southwestern Norwaymarker.

Notable cities with Subpolar Oceanic Climates

Isotherm boundary to Dfb climate

The 0 °C (32 °F) isotherm (freeze line) or the -3 °C (26.6 °F) isotherms (persistent snow line) are the possible lines dividing the oceanic and the warm summer humid continental (Dfb) climates, in between which are the following regions:

Charts of Selected Cities with Oceanic Climates

Northern hemisphere

Southern hemisphere

See also


External links

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