A continental climate is the climate typical of the interiors of the large continents of the Northern Hemisphere; similar climates exist along the east coasts (but not the west coasts) of the same continents, and also at higher elevations in certain other parts of the world. This climate is characterized by winter temperatures cold enough to support a fixed period of stable snow cover each year, and relatively low precipitation occurring mostly in summer - although east coast areas (chiefly in North America) may show an even distribution of precipitation. Only a few areas in Iran, adjacent Turkey and Central Asia show a winter maximum in precipitation, which typically melts in early spring to give short-lived floods.
The Midwestern United States and most of Russia are examples of areas of the world with continental climates, which do not exist at all in the Southern Hemisphere due to the lack of broad land masses at high enough latitudes there.
See also microthermal climate, hemiboreal climate, subarctic climate. Compare oceanic climate, Mediterranean climate.