World Climate Zones

World Climate Zones

Climate zones are determined according to the average annual and monthly temperature, rainfall, and wind patterns that influence plant growth, animal behavior, and other aspects of the local environment. In order to classify these zones, scientists gather data on average temperatures in various locations around the world. This information can then be used to create a map of global climate zones and identify any anomalies that might require further research. There are six major climate zones in the world identified by the Köppen-Geiger classification system.



By looking at a map of world climate zones, you will see that North America and Mexico are in a temperate climate zone. This means that winters are cold, summers are warm and they have a moderate amount of rainfall. In terms of temperatures being warm or cold, you could expect that it is going to be warm during winter time and freezing cold during summer time.

South America

The climate in South America ranges from tropical to arctic. In Brazil, average temperatures are high and precipitation is high, with most of it falling as rain during wet season. Much of Argentina is humid subtropical or warm temperate, and its environment reflects that diversity. Parts of Uruguay have a humid subtropical climate similar to that of parts of southern United States, though temperatures tend to be warmer because it’s located closer to the equator.


The climate in Europe varies greatly from region to region, depending on latitude and proximity to water. Many places have warm summers, but temperatures drop quickly after sunset. Winters are chilly throughout much of Europe; southern countries, such as Spain and Italy, may have mild winters or none at all. Farther north, Sweden and Norway receive arctic winds that drive temperatures below freezing most days during winter months. Alpine climates abound throughout Europe’s highest mountains, while coastal areas face high humidity year-round.


The climate of Asia varies widely across different regions. Most of it falls within one of three major climatic groupings: arid, monsoonal and tropical. In general, most areas in Asia can be described as humid subtropical or humid continental. In summer, when winds blow from land to sea in East Asia (e.g., China), air masses are warmed adiabatically by compression and produce a monsoon surge that brings heavy precipitation to coastal areas. Wintertime circulation is dominated by cold fronts that bring crisp, dry weather to inland areas (e.g., China). Northeastern parts of Asia have a continental climate with very cold winters due to their inland location under high-pressure systems—such as Siberia’s—and very warm summers under maritime influence—such as Manchuria’s.


Map of world climate zones Africa’s hot climate is divided into two seasons: a cool, dry season and a hot, wet season. The coolest months are December through February when temperatures hover around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). The hottest months are May through August when temperatures can reach up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius). In between these extremes, rainfall varies greatly across regions. Rainfall in southern Africa is higher than in northern areas of the continent due to its proximity to warm ocean currents that bring moisture from the Indian Ocean. Rainfall also varies by elevation with higher elevations receiving more precipitation than lower elevations.


Although Australia’s climate is classified as tropical, it has experienced brief periods of cooler weather at a regional level. The coolest month on record for any state capital city in Australia is July 1954 for Hobart and June 1974 for Perth. During these months, temperatures dropped to . In contrast, average temperatures during December and January are above . This difference between summer and winter temperature is unique to Australia. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Australia was -10.15 degrees Celsius on 11 July 1983 at Charlotte Pass (pictured). Snow occasionally falls on higher ground in Australia’s alpine regions.


On a world climate map, Oceania is situated in temperate regions and experiences relatively little variation in weather over short periods of time. The area mostly consists of ocean and experiences minimal effects from major sources of environmental variation, such as seasonal changes and large-scale atmospheric patterns. When winds flow out from Antarctica to areas around Australia, they are blocked by landmasses so rainfall is higher than average.