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.