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Old 04-12-2012, 04:48 PM
 
Location: Toronto
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Here's one thing that I was thinking about. How much more or less continental could other climate equivalents, in the Old World, of the Great Plains/prairies/interior match the North American ones?

From a simplified geographical perspective, you learn that bigger landmasses increase continentality -- they increase extremes, summer and winter and day-to-day. So, in theory Europe and Asia (Eurasian) together as a continent would be the biggest one and should be capable of having the most continental/variable climates in the world. This is true in the sense of seasonal range, so Siberia has the largest in the world.

However, how about day to day and sudden variability? The largest changes I've read about that are contenders for biggest temperature changes as a world-record in a brief time (less than a day, or on the scale of hours) were those in Rapid City or Spearfish, South Dakota, and ones in Montana etc. Also from the forecasts for cities such as Denver or Winnipeg, you seem to get days when it can be below freezing tonight and 80F tomorrow or something, often in spring. Can anywhere in the Old World match this kind of thing? In the New world between Canada to Mexico, the Great Plains seems to allow cold snaps of remarkable suddenness and temperatures getting really chilly quite suddenly down to real low latitudes. Is there anywhere equivalent to that in the Old World (eg. something like Dallas getting -2F/-19C as winter record low even though it's average high/low is in the high 50s/high 30s)?

I recall a really old thread saying something like that even though the Old World Eurasian continent was bigger, North America had more flat land (say between the Rockies and Appalachians) unobstructed for the air masses from arctic to tropical to play around, while the Old World Eurasian continent is more broken up by mountains all across its interior that can act as barriers. This also kind of explains why the US is the most tornado-prone region in the world.

It might be my limited perception based on what I hear in the forum that but I got the impression that Old World equivalents to the Great Plains/interior climates get hot summers that stay hot and cold winters that stay cold, so despite them being as much or more continental, they don't have as much variability as the continental interior of the (smaller) North American continent. Sometimes I've looked at forecasts for cold seasonal Asian climates and saw say close to 14F/-10C lows many days in a row and less of the type that's 50F/10C one day and -4F/-20C the next, like would happen more often in Colorado or Alberta (though to be fair, I haven't checked world weather that often so it could be only impression).

Also, I presume the equivalents to the Great Plains would be the plains from eastern Europe and Russia to the central Asian "stans" like Kazakhstan etc. to Mongolia and Siberia and as well, maybe those regions don't have as many weather stations etc. to capture it to get records comparable to N. America?

On the other hand, something like the discussion about Moscow's huge (inter-annual) variability -- it was something really crazy like the coldest winter month was a bit under -20C/-4F and warmest winter month was a NYC-like winter really shows that there must be some Old World continental climates that give North American ones a challenge in that department.
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Old 04-12-2012, 06:08 PM
 
Location: Laurentia
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I don't think anything like what you outlined occurs in the Old World, at least not any parts that are in or even remotely close to Europe.
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Old 04-12-2012, 06:27 PM
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Location: Western Massachusetts
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Siberia is under a very strong dome of high pressure that probably keeps the winter weather consistent. North America doesn't have an equivalent.
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Old 04-12-2012, 06:39 PM
 
Location: Toronto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Siberia is under a very strong dome of high pressure that probably keeps the winter weather consistent. North America doesn't have an equivalent.
Perhaps not Siberia but I wonder if other parts of Russia, and Central Asia further west have any of the variability day-to-day that the Great Plains have, going by the variation that Moscow has had (though that's probably comparing one winter to another winter or one summer to another summer).
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Old 04-12-2012, 06:43 PM
 
Location: Toronto
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Another thing is, perhaps the chinooks that happen where the Rockies meet the Plains don't have an equivalent in the Old World (obviously there are foehn winds, the equivalent exists no doubt all over places that there are mountains worldwide, but it doesn't seem like the other places, for example in the Alps, that do have the foehn wind/chinook phenomenon also have the same climate as the plains)
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Old 04-12-2012, 06:50 PM
 
Location: Perth, Western Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patricius Maximus View Post
I don't think anything like what you outlined occurs in the Old World, at least not any parts that are in or even remotely close to Europe.
I thought Africa, Asia and Europe were all considered part of the Old World?

Plenty of places in East Asia that are similar to the Prairies, such as Ulan Bator, Harbin and Urumqi with dry cold winters . Overall though the interior of Eurasia is drier and has a stronger summer maximum of rainfall. You don't have many areas with cold temperatures and high winter precipitation in Asia whereas there are many over the eastern US/Canada.

While most cities that are classified as being in Europe (a completely arbitrary delineation) are too exposed to the surrounding ocean's to be a close match to the North American interior. However cities like Perm, Russia in far eastern Europe for example looks very similar to Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Perm - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thunder Bay - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 04-12-2012, 08:28 PM
 
Location: In transition
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Kazakhstan seems to be the best match for variability in the Old World...
places like Astana seem very similar to Regina, SK and Almaty would be more like Omaha, NE but even here, there is less variability on a day to day basis compared to the Great Plains. However, not on record lows.. in fact Astana's record low is colder slightly than Regina's and same with Almaty compared to Omaha. I think as nei said, the less variable day to day swings in winter has to do with the strength of the Siberian high in winter.
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Old 04-12-2012, 09:52 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, Canada
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Perm is a good example.

Superluminal recently posted Saqqez, definitely a good southerly example of continental variability:

Saqqez - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 04-13-2012, 05:04 AM
 
Location: Laurentia
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Parts of Kazakhstan may be a decent match; a lot of places there aren't really arid like the really continental climates in the Uyghur Autonomous Region.
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