British Type Climate

British type climatic regions are under the permanent influence of the Westerlies all round the year. These are also regions of high cyclonic activity., typical of Britain and thus said to experience the British climate. This climate is also referred to as the cool temperate western margin climate or the North-west European Maritime Climate.

British Type Climate European Maritime Climate

Distribution

Northern Hemisphere

  • The climatic belt stretches from Britain into North-West Europe, including northern and western France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, western Norway and also north-western Iberia.
  • In North America, it confines mainly to the coastlands of British Columbia. The Rockies in North America, prevent the on-shore Westerlies from penetrating far inland.

Southern Hemisphere

  • The climate is experienced in southern Chile, Southern Australia, Tasmania and most parts of New Zealand, particularly in South Island.
  • The surrounding large expanses of water in these regions have increased the maritime nature of the climate.

Map Showing distribution of British Type Climate During

 

Climate

Characteristics

  • Moderately warm summers and fairly mild winters. Extremes of temperatures are not likely.
  • Adequate rainfall throughout the year.

Temperature

  • The mean annual temperature is usually in the range of 5 C - 15 C.
  • This range is comparatively small for such high latitudes.
  • Summers are never very warm and winters are abnormally mild with no station recording below freezing point temperatures.
  • This is due to the warming effect of the North Atlantic Drift and prevalence of the South-Westerlies.
  • Hence, they are some of the most advanced regions of the world.

Precipitation

  • Adequate rainfall throughout the year.
  • There's tendency towards a slight winter or autumn maximum from cyclonic sources.
  • The rain-bearing winds come from the west and hence the western margins have the heaviest rainfall.
  • The amount of rainfall decreases as one moves away from the sea, eastwards.

Seasons

  • There are four distinct seasons.
  • Summers are long and sunny followed by autumn which is a roar of gusty winds.
  • Winter is the season with cloudy skies, foggy and misty mornings and many rainy days from the passing depressions.
  • This is followed by spring which is the driest and most refreshing season from the depressing winter and the cycle repeats itself.

Natural Vegetation

  • The natural vegetation of this climatic type is the deciduous forest.
  • The trees shed their leaves in the cold season. This is an adaptation for protecting themselves against the winter snow and frost.
  • Shedding begins in autumn, the fall season and is scattered by the winds.
  • Some of the common species of temperate hardwood include oak, elm, ash, birch, beech, hornbeam, and poplar.
  • In the wetter areas grow willows, alder and aspen.
  • The deciduous trees occur in pure stands and have great lumbering value from the commercial point of view.
  • The sparse undergrowth is useful in logging operations.
  • The deciduous hardwoods are excellent for both fuel and industrial purposes.
  • Higher up the mountains in the Scandinavian highlands, the Rockies, the southern Andes and the Southern Alps of New Zealand, the deciduous trees are generally replaced by the conifers which can survive a higher altitude, a lower temperature and poorer soils.

Economic Development

  • In Britain, only 4% of the original forest is left. A very large part of the deciduous hardwoods has been cleared for fuel, timber or agriculture.
  • Lumbering in quite profitable in the region for the reasons mentioned above.

Agriculture

Due to the high density of population, all the cereals, fruits and root crops grown in the region are used for home consumption and the region is a net importer of food crops.

  • Market Gardening:
    • Nowhere else is market gardening practised as extensively as in North West Europe.
    • The factors that account for this are large urban population and high densities, highly industrialised nations like Britain, France, Germany.
    • There is great demand for fresh vegetables, green salads, eggs, meat, milk and fruits.
    • Farming is carried out intensively and the yield is high due to soil fertility and there are maximum cash returns.
    • Since the crops are perishable, there is a good transport network and the vegetables and fruits are conveyed at high speeds to urban centres.
    • Hence the term "truck farming" is often used to describe this kind of agriculture.
    • In Australia, high-speed boats ply across the Bass Strait daily from Tasmania to rush vegetables, tomatoes, apples and beans to most of the large cities in mainland Australia.
    • It is no wonder the Australians nicknamed Tasmania the garden state .
  • Mixed Farming:
    • Throughout north-western Europe, farmers practice both arable farming (cultivation of crops on ploughed land) and pastoral farming (keeping animals on grass meadows).
    • The proportion of crops and animals in the farm at any time depends to a great extent on the type of soil, the price of the cereals and the demand for animals and animal products.
    • Amongst the cereals, wheat is the most extensively grown, almost entirely for home consumption. The region is a net importer of wheat.
    • The next most important cereal is barley.
    • It is used in beer-making or whisky distilling and is raised in drier areas.
    • The most important animals kept in the mixed farm are cattle.
    • The climate of this region is ideal for intensive dairying.
    • New Zealand ranks as one of the world's greatest exporters of dairy products.
    • Besides dairying, some cattle are kept as beef cattle.
    • In Argentina or Australia, meat production is the primary concern.
  • Sheep rearing:
    • Sheep are kept both for wool and mutton.
    • Britain is the home for some of the best-known sheep breeds.
    • The principal sheep areas are in foothills, well-drained uplands, chalk and limestone scrap lands and the light and sandy coasts.
    • Sheep rearing is the chief occupation of New Zealand, with its greatest concentration in the Canterbury Plain.
    • It accounts for only 4 percent of the world's sheep population but accounts for two-thirds of the world's mutton exports and one-sixth of world wool exports.

Industrialization

  • The countries are concerned in the production of machinery, chemicals and textiles.
  • Industries are also based on dairy products in Denmark, Netherlands and New Zealand.
  • The region is highly industrialised and differs from many others in its unprecedented industrial advancement.
  • Britain, France and Germany have significant mineral resources and are heavily industrialized.
  • Ruhr region in Germany, Yorkshire, Manchester and Liverpool regions in Britain are significant for wide-ranging manufacturing industries in the region.

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