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Old 10-04-2009, 08:20 AM
 
Location: USA East Coast
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Climate folks have been fighting this battle for years. It seems to me that climate classification is now starting to use the “observed” character of a climate… in addition to the geographic position to determine what climate classification a certain location should be in. Also, we should remember that a climate classification line drawn on a map only represents the mean position of a number of individual climate years...which typically depart by hundreds of miles from the line.

I think the modified Koppen system of 8 or more months of a mean temp of 50 F is still a fairly good line of where subtropical climates and temperate climates meet. Mr. Marbles is right somewhat about NYC. Normally, the subtropical classification (mean 8 months of 50 F or over) goes up the East Coast to around Virginia Beach, VA / Salisbury. MD…however in some years places like NYC, Long Island, and the coast of Connecticut have 8 months with a mean temp of 50 F or over. The tropical/subtropical line down in Florida moves about a lot too, in some years in Ft. Lauderdale, while in some years it’s almost in Stuart.

Keep in mind that other climates that have long been consider subtropical experience freeze/cold a few times each winter. Shanghai, China (with palm trees and alligators) has a January mean temperature of 38 F…while Dallas has a January mean of 45 F. The winter monsoon in East Asia brings some incredibly cold air below 40 latitude to much of East China and South Korea. At the opposite end…it hardly seems fair to call a place like San Fransisco “subtropical” when people often were a light jacket in July (lol). So it can get pretty hard to find a fair classification system.

 
Old 10-04-2009, 10:38 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, BC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txsizzler View Post
I do know this... most areas that normally would be considered too far north to be subtropical, may have subtropical characteristics at given points during the year. Take Dallas, TX. for example... they are said to be humid/subtropical, but only from spring through mid fall. Late fall, and winter are considered Contintental in character.

This statement could be held true for most of the SE part of the USA. The only areas of the SE that would qualify for a year-round subtropical classification then, would be South Texas (particuarly coastal sections), some coastal areas along the Gulf Coast (Galveston/NO/Mobile/Pensacola), and much of Florida, minus some of the interior northern parts of the state. The desert SW of the USA would also meet this classification for a semiarid subtropical year round, as well as Southern California.

So, based on the above thoughts, what areas would be the farthest north that have a YEAR ROUND subtropical character (on average)? Remember, based on average means that one or two artic air masses might make it to this area, but overall the winter season still holds the subtropical variant. I have also noticed this is about where the line for palm trees and other more "tropical" variety of plants will grow IN THE WILD as well.


Ian

You make very good points but remember that there are several palm trees that do grow wild in the US much further north than the areas you suggested such as the Needle Palm and the Cabbage Palm (Sabal Palmetto) which grow naturally as far north as the Carolinas at least.
 
Old 10-04-2009, 10:53 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, BC
5,827 posts, read 4,370,743 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wavehunter007 View Post
Climate folks have been fighting this battle for years. It seems to me that climate classification is now starting to use the “observed” character of a climate… in addition to the geographic position to determine what climate classification a certain location should be in. Also, we should remember that a climate classification line drawn on a map only represents the mean position of a number of individual climate years...which typically depart by hundreds of miles from the line.

I think the modified Koppen system of 8 or more months of a mean temp of 50 F is still a fairly good line of where subtropical climates and temperate climates meet. Mr. Marbles is right somewhat about NYC. Normally, the subtropical classification (mean 8 months of 50 F or over) goes up the East Coast to around Virginia Beach, VA / Salisbury. MD…however in some years places like NYC, Long Island, and the coast of Connecticut have 8 months with a mean temp of 50 F or over. The tropical/subtropical line down in Florida moves about a lot too, in some years in Ft. Lauderdale, while in some years it’s almost in Stuart.

Keep in mind that other climates that have long been consider subtropical experience freeze/cold a few times each winter. Shanghai, China (with palm trees and alligators) has a January mean temperature of 38 F…while Dallas has a January mean of 45 F. The winter monsoon in East Asia brings some incredibly cold air below 40 latitude to much of East China and South Korea. At the opposite end…it hardly seems fair to call a place like San Fransisco “subtropical” when people often were a light jacket in July (lol). So it can get pretty hard to find a fair classification system.

Yes, it is very tricky and as you say, people have been disputing this for years. Other places like Quito, Bogota or Addis Ababa are also considered subtropical but their average temperatures never get out of the 60s and often into the 50s year round. I really like the idea of what Infamous92 said in dividing the subtropical climate into a warm winter subtype and a cool winter subtype. That way you can include many places like Shanghai which most people consider subtropical despite having quite cool winter temperatures. In this way, places like Shanghai, Dallas, Pusan and Atlanta would be the cool winter subtropical and places like Orlando, Hong Kong, New Delhi, San Francisco and Quito would be warm winter subtropical (as these places have a coldest month of 50F or greater).
The dividing line between temperate and subtropical would be the at least 8 months or more 50F isotherm. Of course this would vary from year to year but if we take an average of at least 30 years, it would be a fairly good measure. To me summer temperatures matter less than winter temperatures when defining a subtropical climate IMO.
 
Old 10-04-2009, 10:56 PM
 
Location: New York City
2,789 posts, read 2,870,530 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txsizzler View Post
I do know this... most areas that normally would be considered too far north to be subtropical, may have subtropical characteristics at given points during the year. Take Dallas, TX. for example... they are said to be humid/subtropical, but only from spring through mid fall. Late fall, and winter are considered Contintental in character.

This statement could be held true for most of the SE part of the USA. The only areas of the SE that would qualify for a year-round subtropical classification then, would be South Texas (particuarly coastal sections), some coastal areas along the Gulf Coast (Galveston/NO/Mobile/Pensacola), and much of Florida, minus some of the interior northern parts of the state. The desert SW of the USA would also meet this classification for a semiarid subtropical year round, as well as Southern California.

So, based on the above thoughts, what areas would be the farthest north that have a YEAR ROUND subtropical character (on average)? Remember, based on average means that one or two artic air masses might make it to this area, but overall the winter season still holds the subtropical variant. I have also noticed this is about where the line for palm trees and other more "tropical" variety of plants will grow IN THE WILD as well.


Ian
I disagree. From late spring to early fall, Dallas is not subtropical - it is tropical without the "sub". (In fact during the summer, Dallas is a good deal hotter than many tropical places.) IMHO a place that is subtropical "year round" would actually be tropical. Having a cold season is what distinguishes subtropical from tropical.
 
Old 10-05-2009, 07:18 AM
 
Location: USA East Coast
4,445 posts, read 4,690,105 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMarbles View Post
I disagree. From late spring to early fall, Dallas is not subtropical - it is tropical without the "sub". (In fact during the summer, Dallas is a good deal hotter than many tropical places.) IMHO a place that is subtropical "year round" would actually be tropical. Having a cold season is what distinguishes subtropical from tropical.
...and Glen Trewartha and L. Horn (who created modified Koppon system)...seems to agree with you.

Here is what he writes in "Tropical Climates" (A) " On the poleward margins this group of tropical climates may be terminated either by diminishing rainfall or on eastern sides, often until a season of cold develops and occasional frosts occur in winter".

The part of the word "sub" in subtropical throws people I think. Many subtropical places have cold weather, frost now and then, and even very light snow... once in a great while.
 
Old 10-21-2009, 11:35 PM
 
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There is no island in the world like Madeira portugal. The climate is wonderful all year
 
Old 10-22-2009, 11:59 AM
 
Location: Perth, Western Australia
9,598 posts, read 15,484,880 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMarbles View Post
I disagree. From late spring to early fall, Dallas is not subtropical - it is tropical without the "sub". (In fact during the summer, Dallas is a good deal hotter than many tropical places.) IMHO a place that is subtropical "year round" would actually be tropical. Having a cold season is what distinguishes subtropical from tropical.
Tropical places typically don't get as hot partially because the maximum daylength is shorter.
That's exactly why Saskatchewan has recorded a record high of 115 F, probably above the 50th parallel too.

Dallas imho, is not "more tropical", it's not tropical at all.
I would call Dallas "warm-continental," or "dry-subtropical-cool winter."
 
Old 10-22-2009, 12:08 PM
 
Location: Perth, Western Australia
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To me, sub-tropical implies a seasonal temperature change,
even if there are only two main seasons;
hot and warm, hot and cool, warm and cool etc.

Places like Bogata, Columbia though could be classed as sub-tropical, I would find that a bit confusing.

I would call somewhere like Bogata "Cool-tropical" to indicate its location in the high-altitude tropics
where there aren't any distinct seasonal temperature changes.

For me, places like San Francisco shouldn't be called "sub-tropical"
(cool-mediterranean or maritime seems most appropriate)
because when I think of sub-tropical, I think "...little-to-no summer coolness..."
Sub-tropical means you should be hot, sweating, or at the very least "warm."

*I generally agree with what Australians consider a "subtropical" climate.
 
Old 10-22-2009, 06:28 PM
 
Location: New York City
2,789 posts, read 2,870,530 times
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CC, what I said was "From late spring to early fall, Dallas is not subtropical - it is tropical without the "sub"."

Of course Dallas has cool winters so it isn't tropical.
I think what makes intense heat possible in mid latitudes is the dryness. Saskatchewan can get very hot because it is fairly dry. Eastern Canada is at similar latitude but does not get as hot.
Agreed with the rest. SF should not be classified as subtropical. Maritime or Oceanic, I guess. Bogota is a difficult case as it's never really tropical. There should be a "montane" sub class of a tropical climate, I think.

Where would you place the northernmost limit of subtropical climate in North America? Central Virginia?
 
Old 10-22-2009, 07:12 PM
 
Location: Perth, Western Australia
9,598 posts, read 15,484,880 times
Reputation: 3249
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMarbles View Post
CC, what I said was "From late spring to early fall, Dallas is not subtropical - it is tropical without the "sub"."

Where would you place the northernmost limit of subtropical climate in North America? Central Virginia?
It's just subjective anyways, but for me Dallas is too hot and dry in summer to be tropical.
(high tropical heat is usually accomanied by convective activity)

Depends on what you mean by sub-tropical...
For me it makes sense that no months have average highs below 45 F, at the very minimum, so central VA is a maybe.

But a classic example of "sub-tropical" for me is
a "cool winter" that's ideal for growing heat-sensitve, frost-hardy greens (brocoli, cabbage etc.)
and a "hot summer" where only heat-tolerant crops thrive. (tomatos, melon, yams etc.)
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