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The Natural Environment

Climate

Although much of Europe lies in the northern latitudes, the relatively warm seas that border the continent give most of central and western Europe a moderate climate, with cool winters and mild summers. The prevailing westerly winds, warmed in part by passing over the North Atlantic Drift ocean current, bring precipitation throughout most of the year. In the Mediterranean climate area—Spain, Italy, and Greece—the summer months are usually hot and dry, with almost all rainfall occurring in winter. From approximately central Poland eastward, the moderating effects of the seas are reduced, and consequently cooler, drier conditions prevail. The northern parts of the continent also have this type of climate. Most of Europe receives 500 to 1,500 mm (20 to 60 in) of precipitation per year.

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