Laurentian Climate

The Cool Temperate Eastern Margin climate is also known as the Laurentian climate. It is the intermediate between the British and Siberian type of climates.

Laurentian Climate

Distribution

  • It is found only in two regions and only in the northern hemisphere.
  • The climate has features of both the continental and the maritime climates.
  • North American region: One region is north-eastern North America including eastern Canada, north-east USA, and Newfoundland.
  • Asiatic region: The other region is the eastern coastlands of Asia, including North China, eastern Siberia, Manchuria, Korea and northern Japan.
  • The climate is totally absent in the southern hemisphere because only a small section of continental landmass extends south of the latitude of 40 S.
  • The only possible regions are in eastern Patagonia.
  • But the Southern Andes blocks the Westerlies and the region is subjected to aridity rather than continentality.
  • It is a rain-shadow region and its annual precipitation is not more than 10 inches.

Climate

Temperature

  • The climate of this type has cold, dry winters and warm, wet summers.
  • Snow falls to quite a depth and winter temperatures may be well below the freezing point.
  • Summers are as warm as the tropics and are moderated by the cooling effects of the off-shore cold currents from the Arctic.

Precipitation

  • Rain falls throughout the year.
  • But there is a distinct summer maximum because the easterly winds from the oceans bring rainfall.
  • Two-thirds of the annual precipitation is in summer.
  • Winters are dry and cold and westerlies blow out from the continental interiors.

The North American region

  • The most remarkable characteristic of this region is the uniformity in annual precipitation.
  • This is due to the Atlantic influence and that of the Great Lakes.
  • The warm Gulf Stream increases the moisture content of easterly winds from the open Atlantic.
  • The prevailing Westerlies carry depressions over the Great Lakes towards eastern regions causing wet conditions, especially in winter.
  • Convergence of the warm Gulf Stream and the cold Labrador Current near Newfoundland produces dense mist and fog and gives rise to much precipitation.
  • It is said that Newfoundland experiences more drizzles than any other part of the world.
  • In summer the Westerlies bring fewer depressions and extend their continental influence to the coast.
  • Temperatures are high in summer for that latitude and prolonged heat waves cause discomfort in crowded cities.

The Asiatic region

  • In contrast to the North American region, the distribution of precipitation is less uniform in the Asiatic region.
  • Winters are very cold and dry while summers are warm and exceptionally wet.
  • The rainfall regime resembles the tropical monsoon type in India where the rainfall is concentrated in the three summer months.

The climate in Japan

  • The climate of Japan is modified by its insularity and also by the meeting of warm (Kuroshio)and cold (Oyashio) ocean currents.
  • It receives adequate rainfall from both the South-East Monsoon in summer and the North-West monsoon in winter.
  • The rainfall is more evenly distributed with two maxima: the Plum rain in June and the Typhoon Rain in September.

Natural Vegetation

  • The predominant vegetation in this climate is cool temperate forests.
  • The heavy rainfall, the warm summers and the damp air from fogs all favour the growth of trees.
  • Forest tend to be coniferous north of the 50 N latitude.
  • South of this latitude, deciduous forests is seen.

Economic Development

  • Lumbering and its associated timber, paper and pulp industries are the most important economic activities in the region.
  • Lumbering has always been a major occupation in the sparsely populated Asiatic region and timber is the chief export item.
  • The occurrence of trees in almost pure stands and the predominance of only a handful of species greatly enhance the commercial value of the forests.

Agriculture

  • Agriculture is less important due to long and severe winters.
  • The maritime influence and the heavy rainfall enable the growth of some hardy crops.
  • In the North American region, arable farming is not carried out on a large scale and farmers are mostly engaged in dairy farming and fruit growing.

Fishing

Fishing is another outstanding economic activity of the Laurentian climatic regions.

Off Newfoundland
  • This is one of the world's largest fishing grounds, particularly on the Grand Banks.
  • The mixing of the warm Gulf Stream and the cold Labrador currents enable the growth of plankton and microorganisms.
  • Fish feed on minute marine organisms called plankton present abundantly in the continental shelves and in shallow waters adjacent to the landmasses.
  • Fish of all types and sizes breed her and support a thriving industry of not only Canada and USA, but also Norway, France, Britain, Portugal, Denmark, Russia and Japan.
  • Both pelagic fish(which live near the surface) and the demersal fish (which live near the bottom) of shallow seas are caught.
  • Over-fishing is a growing problem and strict measures in fish conservation are being taken.
Off Japan
  • Another major fishing area of the world in the North-West Pacific surrounding the islands of Japan.
  • The mountainous nature of Japan and parts of mainland eastern Asia have drive people towards fishing.
  • Hakodate and Kushiro are the major fishing ports and fish are either canned or preserved for export to neighbouring countries.
  • The fish waste, fish meal and seaweeds are used as fertilizers in the farms.
  • Coastal farms submerged in water grow seaweeds for sale as fertilizers, chemical ingredient and even as food.
  • Another important aspect of fishing the pearl culture.
  • Pearl oysters are brought to the surface and the highly prized pearls are extracted for sale as ornaments.
  • Japan's fishing is not limited to its territorial waters but they venture far and wide into the Arctic, Antarctic and the Atlantic waters.

Fishing is a dominant occupation in Japan for the following reasons:

  1. Japan is not well endowed with natural resources and as much as 80 per cent of its land is non-agricultural. Hence people have taken up fishing for their livelihood and it has become their traditional occupation.
  2. Lack of lowlands and pastures means that only a few animals can be kept to supply meat and other protein food. Fish meat is the primary source of protein in Japan.
  3. The continental shelves around the Japanese islands are rich in plankton due to the meeting of warm Kurushio and cold Oyashio currents. These form excellent breeding grounds for fish.
  4. The indented coastline of Japan provides sheltered fishing ports, calm waters and safe landing places.
  5. With the progress of industries, fishing has become more scientific, aiming at heavy hauls, high returns and economy of time, effort and money.
  6. Most of the deep-sea fishing is now highly mechanised. Powered trawlers and modern refrigeration plants have increased the annual fish yield.

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