Cold semi-arid climate (BSk)

Cold semi-arid climate (BSk)


Cold semi-arid climates (type "BSk") tend to be located in elevated portions of temperate zones, typically bordering a humid continental climate or a Mediterranean climate. They are also typically found in continental interiors some distance from large bodies of water. Cold semi-arid climates usually feature warm to hot dry summers, though their summers are typically not quite as hot as those of hot semi-arid climates. Unlike hot semi-arid climates, areas with cold semi-arid climates tend to have cold and possibly freezing winters. These areas usually see some snowfall during the winter, though snowfall is much lower than at locations at similar latitudes with more humid climates.

Areas featuring cold semi-arid climates tend to have higher elevations than areas with hot semi-arid climates, and tend to feature major temperature swings between day and night, sometimes by as much as 20°C or more. These large diurnal temperature variations are seldom seen in hot semi-arid climates. Cold semi-arid climates at higher latitudes tend to have dry winters and wetter summers, while cold semi-arid climates at lower latitudes tend to have precipitation patterns more akin to subtropical climates, with dry summers, relatively wet winters, and even wetter springs and autumns.

Cold semi-arid climates are most commonly found in Mongolia, the Middle East and other parts of Asia and Western North America. However, they can also be found in Northern Africa, South Africa, Europe, sections of South America and sections of interior southern Australia (e.g. Kalgoorlie and Mildura) and New Zealand (around Alexandra).

Semi-arid, steppe climate map


Köppen–Geiger climate classification map for Semi-arid, steppe climates - source: wikicommons, authors:  Beck, H.E., Zimmermann, N. E., McVicar, T. R., Vergopolan, N., Berg, A., & Wood, E. F., 2018

Flight safety and planning considerations

High ambient temperatures can have a significant and limiting impact on aircraft and human performance, as well as causes significant maintenance issues. See the related articles on Hot Weather Operations and Hot and High Operations

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