What are the Characteristic Features of a Maritime Climate


For an ideal example of a maritime climate you need look no further than the islands of the United Kingdom, including Ireland. Surrounded by the seas of the Irish and the North Seas, plus the English and Bristol Channels and the Atlantic Ocean that laps the western Scottish Shores and you have the reasons for the warm damp summers and the cool wet winters. Rarely do the inhabitants of the British shores experience much in the way of extremes in temperature that their European Continental neighbors know well. The British Isles really is the true epitome of everything the maritime climate has to offer.

A maritime climate is variously known as an oceanic climate as well as a marine west coast climate. Maritime climates tend to be found amidst the middle latitudes of the different climates which also feature western-faced coastlines. Countries with maritime climates experience temperatures with fewer variations than their counterparts on similar latitudes without a western coastline. Invariably, those of you who live in countries which are characterized by a maritime climate can expect to enjoy comparatively warm winters and relatively cool summers, with rainfall dispersed throughout the year.

Wet and Windy

Seasonal variations are less marked than in countries without a coastline. This is because it takes longer for the sun to heat up the sea and, once the sea has absorbed heat from the sun, it takes longer for the sea to lose its heat. A nearby ocean invariably means that you can expect to get more rain than a country bordered by more land. This is because of precipitation from the sea that can result in the build-up of clouds and this, coupled with a prevailing on-shore wind, brings regular downpours, another characteristic of maritime climates. For those of you who experience a maritime climate can expect warm summers interspersed with rainfall and winters that are often cool, wet, and windy.

If a cold spell does ensue during the winter it doesn’t usually last long; similarly, you may enjoy a few days of hot weather during the summer but it doesn’t take long before a thunder storm builds up, dissipating the hot weather with a downpour of miserable wet weather. This is followed by clear warmth as the summer days warm up again ready for the next bout of rain.

Climatic Influences

As much as two-thirds of this world of ours is covered in water. These oceans have a considerable influence on how temperatures are dissipated around the world. When these oceans come into contact with prevailing winds, precipitation is dropped on nearby coastlines, falling as rain on many western shores, brought to land by on-shore winds. The sun is another contributing factor: the resultant feature ensures that inhabitants of this maritime climate habitually carry the ubiquitous umbrella, and keep their wellies and waterproofs to hand.

Locations Where Maritime Climate is Found

Although the British Isles experiences a maritime climate, its characteristics can be found along some coastal reaches of Continental Europe and as far reaching as the west coast of Australia and New Zealand, as well as British Colombia, the southern coast of Alaska, the coast of Oregon and Washington. There are some regions in the world where west-facing coastal regions are subjected to the onslaught of on-shore prevailing winds carrying a cloud burden inland towards a nearby mountain range. These clouds quickly deposit their precipitation, resulting in heavier-than-normal habitual rainfalls that often feature an annual rainfall of 100 inches or more.