In the Koppen climate classification, a climate is termed "temperate" when the coldest month has a mean temperature above -3 C (26.6 F) but below 18 C (64.4 F). Later climate classifications and updates redefined this broad temperate zone into smaller zones to better fit actual climate and vegetation zones (see below).
The north temperate zone extends from the Tropic of Cancer (approximately 23.5° north latitude) to the Arctic Circle (approximately 66.5° north latitude). The south temperate zone extends from the Tropic of Capricorn (approximately 23.5° south latitude) to the Antarctic Circle (at approximately 66.5° south latitude).
In some climate classifications, the temperate zone is often divided into several smaller climate zones, based on monthly temperatures, the coldest month, and rainfall. These include humid subtropical climate, Mediterranean climate, oceanic, and continental climate.
Subtropical climates are generally located between 23.5° and 35.0° north or south latitude on the eastern or leeward sides of landmasses. This climate has long, generally hot, summers and short, mild winters, with annual rainfall often concentrated in the warmest part of the year. These climates may occur in southern Asia, the southeastern United States, parts of eastern Australia, and in eastern coastal South America.
Mediterranean climates occur generally between 30° and 42° north and south latitude, on the western sides of landmasses. This climate has long hot summers and short mild winters; however, seasonal rainfall is the opposite of that of the subtropical humid type, with a winter or cool season rainfall peak being typical, and summer as drier season. These climates occur near the rimlands of the Mediterranean Sea, in western and southern Australia, in California and the Pacific Northwest region of North America, in southwestern South America, and in the southernmost areas of South Africa.