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Climate of the Alps
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Climate of the Alps

The climate of the Alps is the climate, or average weather conditions over a long time, of the central Alpine region of Europe. It is well known that as we rise from sea level into the upper regions of the atmosphere the temperature decreases. The effect of mountain chains on prevailing winds is to carry warm air belonging to the lower region into an upper zone, where it expands in volume at the cost of a proportionate loss of heat, often accompanied by the precipitation of moisture in the form of snow or rain.

The position of the Alps about the centre European continent has profoundly modified the climate of all the surrounding regions. The accumulation of vast masses of snow, which have gradually been converted into permanent glaciers, maintains a gradation of very different climates within the narrow space that intervenes between the foot of the mountains and their upper ridges; it cools the breezes that are wafted to the plains on either side, but its most important function is to regulate the water supply of the large region which is traversed by the streams of the Alps. Nearly all the moisture that is precipitated during six or seven months is stored in the form of snow, and is gradually diffused.