10 characteristics of the continental climate

The continental climate is a type of climate that occurs in interior areas of the continents. It is characterized by having extreme fluctuations in annual temperatures, as well as low relative humidity. In the summer, the temperature can be very high, while in winter the temperatures can drop below 0°C.

This type of climate is found in much of Europe, Asia, and North America, and is determined by how far a region is from the coast. In addition, the continentality intensifies as it moves away from the coast, and that is why in the center of the continent the influence of the maritime climate is null, giving rise to the continental climate.

The temperature variations of the continental climate can be dangerous for human and animal life, as well as for agricultural crops, since periods of frost and drought can greatly affect food production. It is essential to mention that the type of continental climate will be influenced by topography and latitude, which will give rise to different types of continental climates.

List of the 10 most important features of the continental climate



  1. Extreme temperatures: The continental climate is characterized by very hot summers and very cold winters, with frequent frosts and snowfalls.
  2. Low humidity: Unlike coastal climates, the continental climate is usually very dry, with low environmental humidity and little annual rainfall.
  3. Well-defined stations: In the continental climate, the four seasons of the year are clearly differentiated, with hot summers, mild autumns, cold winters and humid springs.
  4. Presence of winds: As a consequence of the high and low atmospheric pressures, the continental climate usually includes strong winds that can be cold and dry.
  5. continental influence: This type of climate is characteristic of inland regions far from the coast and is mainly influenced by the continents, rather than the nearby oceans.


  6. Rainfed agriculture: Due to the low humidity, irrigated agriculture is uncommon in the continental climate, and mainly rainfed agriculture is practised, with drought-resistant crops.
  7. Great daily thermal amplitude: During the summer, temperatures can reach 40 degrees Celsius during the day, while at night it cools down considerably. In winter, the difference between temperatures during the day and at night is even more pronounced.
  8. little cloudiness: With less moisture in the air, continental climates tend to have less cloudiness than other climates, which translates to clearer, sunnier skies.
  9. Humid continental climate: In some areas of the world, such as the Great Lakes region of North America, there is a humid continental climate, which is characterized by a greater amount of precipitation and ambient humidity.
  10. Transition zones: Between the continental climate and other types of climate (such as the Mediterranean climate or the desert climate), there are transition zones that present characteristics of both climates.


Final comments about the continental climate

In conclusion, the continental climate is one of the most extreme in the world, characterized by long, cold winters and short, hot summers, which affects the interior regions of the northern hemisphere continents. Despite the difficulties it presents for human life and economic activity, it is a climate that has a great impact on the vegetation and ecosystems of these regions, as well as on agriculture and industry. In addition, it is important to highlight that climate change is affecting the continental climate, causing an increase in temperatures and a reduction in precipitation, which can have serious consequences for biodiversity and human well-being.

In this context, it is crucial to implement climate change adaptation and mitigation policies and measures, as well as the promotion of sustainable practices in the agricultural, industrial and energy fields. A better understanding of the continental climate and its impact on society and the environment can help develop more effective strategies and foster international cooperation to address this global challenge. In short, the continental climate represents a challenge and an opportunity for humanity, which we must address with responsibility and commitment.



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ENCICLOPEDIA DE CARACTERÍSTICAS (2023) 10 characteristics of the continental climate, en 10caracteristicas.com. https://10caracteristicas.com/en/10-characteristics-of-the-continental-climate/ (Consultado el: 23-09-2023)

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