The United States has the entire range of climate -- ranging
from Tropical Rainforest (Hawaii) to Polar Ice Cap (Highest Mountains).
The US has a great range of latitude, and is affected by serveral different source
regions of airmasses -- explaining why the great variety of climates exist.
The northeastern United States has a Humind Continental climate. This climate
reflects the heating/cooling characteristics of interior landmasses. Summers are hot and winters are cold -- modified
by extremes of latitude within the zone -- cooler/colder to the north; warmer/milder to the south. Precipitation thoughout
the zone is adequate for agricultural endeavors, ranging from 40 + in the south and east to 20 inches in the north.
The Humid Continental climate is gradational to the Humid Subtropical climate of the
southeast. Due to the lower latitude, the southeastern region experiences warmer/longer summers and shorter/milder winters.
Precipitation is adequate for agriculture.
Both the Continental and Subtropical climates grade rather abruptly to Steppe climate
near 100 degrees west longitude. Here, storms from the Gulf of Mexico turn eastward leaving most of the Great
Plains in the rainshadow of the Rocky Mountains.
Deserts are found in parts of the west and southwest -- due to the combination
of rainshadow affect and subtropical high pressure.
The Mediterranean Climate of southern California is caused by an alternating wind and
pressure system. In the summer months subtropical high pressure caps the region -- precluding any significant rainfall. Irrigation
of crops is mandatory. In the winter months, the high pressure retreats south, following the direct rays of the sun,
and westerlie wind flow brings rain.
To the north of the Mediterranean zone climate grades into Marine West Coast.
Seldom hot and seldom cold, this climate reflects the moderating influence of the ocean. Water is slow to heat and slow
to cool -- the warmth of summer is held well into the winter months, and the cool of winter well into the summer months --
moderating seasonal temperatures. Marine climate extends northward into the southern parts of Alaska. Abundant
rainfall grows huge forests -- especially in mountain areas.
Subarctic climate is found over most of Alaska -- this climate can be suprizingly warm
in the summer due to the long hours of sunlight -- but bitterly cold in the winter. Precipitation is adequate for the growth
Tundra climate is found along the northern coast of Alaska -- a short cool summer and
long cold winters preclude the growth of trees.
Within the mountain areas climate varies by alititude -- higher colder -- and by wind
direction. Ascending air masses produce precipitation on the windward side of the mountain, but then warm and dry the
land as they descend the lee side. Rainshadows are commonly found downwind of mountains.