British type Climate – Cool Temperate Western Margin
- Cool temperate western margins are under the permanent influence of the westerlies all-round the year approx. at 50* N- S
- They are also regions of much cyclonic activity, typical of Britain, & are thus said to experience the British type of climate.
- From Britain, the climatic belt stretches far inland into lowlands of N-W Europe, including such regions as northern & western France, Belgium, Netherland, Denmark, Western Norway & N-W Iberia.
- There is so much oceanic influence on both the temperature & precipitation that the climate is also referred as North West European Maritime Climate.
- In northern America, the high Rockies prevent the on shore westerlies from penetrating far inland & British type of climate is confined mainly to coastlands of British Columbia (West coast of Canada)
- In the southern hemisphere, this type of climate is experienced in southern Chile, Tasmania (southern Australia) & Most parts of New Zealand, particularly in south island, surrounded by large expanses of water.
British Type Climate
- The mean annual temperatures are usually between 5*C in winters to 15*C in summers thus have a short annual temperature range.
- Summers are infact never very warm and temperature above 20*C is rare; winters are abnormally mild & no station record a mean temp. of below freezing point.
- Heat waves are a welcome feature in such cool temperate climate.
- Above climatic features especially warming effect mentioned are the attributes to the moderating effects of the North Atlantic drifts & prevalence of southern westerlies.
- Sometimes, unsual cold spells caused by the invasion of cold polar continental air from the interiors, may hit the western margins for the number of weeks.
- Night frost does occur & snow falls in winters.
- Hence the climate of this maritime region as a whole may be described as equable with moderately warm summers & fairly mild winters.
- British type of climate is even more equable in S – Hemisphere, due to lack of continental mass (Tasmania, New Zealand & Southern Chile) & more presence of oceanic water, which means extreme of temperature are not likely at all, hence annual temperature range is further reduced here.
- Amount of rainfall decreases from western margin of the continents eastward,
- Relief can also make great differences in annual rainfall, hence it is difficult to say how much annual rainfall is typical for British type of climate
- Though if confined to lowlands, it receives 50 – 100 cm of mean annual rainfall. British type of climate has adequate rainfall throughout the year with a tendency towards slight winter or autumn maximum from cyclonic sources.
Natural Vegetation of British Type Climate
- The natural vegetation of this climatic type is deciduous forests that shed their leaves in the cold season, to protect themselves against winter snow & frost.
- Some of the common species which provide hardwoods from these deciduous forests are Oak, Elms, Birch, Neech, Poplar & Hornbeam; along with certain other species such as chestnut, maple & lime.
- Unlike the equatorial forests, the deciduous trees occur in pure strands & have greater lumbering value from the commercial point of view; & are excellent for fuel, furniture & industrial purposes.
- The open nature of the forests with sparse undergrowth is highly useful in logging operations as easy penetration means much cost can be saved in movement of the logs.
- Higher up the mountains in Scavandian highlands, Rockies and Southern Alps of New Zealand, deciduous trees are generally replaced by conifers which can survive a higher altitude, a lower temperature & poorer soils.
Agricultural Developments of British Type Climate
- N-W Europe is one of the crowded parts of the world
- Hence despite growing a large number of cereals, that too with highest yield / acre, it remains the net importer of food crops
- wheat from all over the wheat-lands across the globe.
- Some of the agricultural developments of this type of climatic regions are -
- Though practised all over the world, where there is large urban population but is highly specialized in N-W Europe (France, Belgium, Britain, West Germany & Denmark).
- Farms are usually small and located near large cities or industrial areas.
- Soils are carefully maintained at a high degree of fertility & very selective fertilizers are applied to the crops.
- Farming is carried out intensively, aiming at high yield & maximum cash returns.
- Produces, such as potatoes, cauliflowers, lettuces, cabbages, tomatoes, onion, peas & fruits are conveyed by high speed conveyances such as trucks or vans, hence also called as truck farming in US.
- Bulbs & flowers (esp. tulips) from Netherlands, and eggs, bacon & other dairy products from Denmark are sent to most of the industrialized areas of Europe.
- In Australia, high speed boats ply across Bass Strait daily from Tasmania to rush vegetables, tomatoes, apples & beans to most parts of Australian mainland.
- Throughout Britain & N-W Europe, farmers practise both arable farming (cultivation of crops on ploughed lands) & pastoral farming (keeping animals on grass meadows).
- Crops may be raised for cash sales or as fodder for cattle & sheep.
- Among the cereals, wheat is most extensively grown, almost entirely for home consumption.
- The next important cereal raised in mixed farm is Barley raised in drier areas, as a fodder crop, with better quality barley sold to breweries for making beers or distilling whisky.
- Denmark, Australia & New Zealand excels in dairy products; & are one of the world’s greatest exporters.
- Amongst food crops, potatoes feature prominently as a staple food crop in supplementing wheat or bread.
- Today almost, 2/3rd of world’s annual production of potatoes comes from Europe, of which Poland, Germany, France and Britain are major producers.
- Besides its principle use as a substitute for bread, it also serves as animal fodder & a source of industrial alcohol.