maritime climate

A maritime climate is a climate that is strongly influenced by proximity to the sea. Britain has a maritime climate, which means that it has mild climate for its latitude. Oceans warm up more slowly than land, because the heat of the Sun is spread out through a great depth of water and because ocean currents allow the heat to move vertically as well as horizontally. However, oceans also retain heat for much longer than land. For this reason, climatic conditions near an ocean tend to be much warmer in winter and slightly cooler in summer than in inland areas at the same latitudes. In addition to the effects on temperature, the sea also influences precipitation, which is greater than in inland locations.


The maritime climate in Britain is most marked in the Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, where the average temperature in winter is about 7°C (45°F) – about the same as the Mediterranean coat of France. In the summer, the temperature averages 16°C (61°F), and the total annual rainfall is about 800 millimeters (32 inches). Moving eastwards into Europe, along similar latitudes, the climate gradually changes to a continental climate, such as that in Germany, where the corresponding figures would be about 0°C (32°F), 19°C (66°F), and 550 millimeters (22 inches).