My world has a continent in the northern hemisphere that lies primarily in the Ferrel cell where the westerly winds are. The continent is fairly large, just a tad bit smaller then than North America. On the East coast there is a mountain range running from the top to the bottom of the continent, it's biggish. Tall enough to have snow, but not ridiculously massive.

My problem is I want to have a region further east of these mountains, between them and the sea, that has a climate similar to that of Baltimore or just the general area of the East Coast United States. However I am unsure as to how this would be possible given the geography of this continent.

So, how can I make this possible? Or is it completely impossible?

  • $\begingroup$ What's the direction of orbital rotation of your planet and it's inclination to the ecliptic? Does it posess an atmosphere like Earth's? Oceanic temperature/circulation and distance apart from other big land masses play a big part in local climate too. Someone might come along who can give you a general answer but it's awfully complex and broad. $\endgroup$ Jan 31, 2019 at 16:20
  • $\begingroup$ Don't you have a map showing the main features of this continent? $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Jan 31, 2019 at 16:24
  • $\begingroup$ It's difficult to predict weather this way. So really you can just handwave whatever you want. Maybe a jet stream brings the correct weather to the area? Hard to argue one way or the other. $\endgroup$
    – Trevor
    Jan 31, 2019 at 17:25
  • $\begingroup$ Baltimore has a maritime climate. It's the way it is because it's near the Atlantic, on a rather large body of water (the Chesapeake Bay). That moderates its temperature range. Also, is this the only mountain range on your continent? $\endgroup$ Feb 1, 2019 at 1:37
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @FaySuggers, by definition, east is the direction in which a planet rotates, and if you look east, north is to your left, south to your right, and west behind you. If the rotation was the other way, then you'd turn around...and east would be in front of you, north would be to your left, south to your right, and west behind you. $\endgroup$ Feb 1, 2019 at 6:17

2 Answers 2


So you want a less eroded version of the Appalachian Mountains?

If rain (and humidity) come from the ocean, mountains will not stop areas between the ocean and the mountains from getting that rain. The existing East Coast of the United States is quite wet, because the rain does come from the Atlantic (from the east and the south, even the southwest in some places) and it hits those areas before the mountains can be an issue.

Yes, the winds are westerly. But, hey, there's a mountain range blocking winds from the west from hitting the East Coast. Some will get through, but the ocean will have a lot more influence. All you have to do to avoid a desert is to assume that the westerly winds have less of an effect than the general movement of the wind over the oceans.

With higher mountains than what exist in real life, you may get rain shadows to the west of the mountains, especially if the westerly winds that hit the base of it aren't bringing moisture.

If weather patterns have more trouble clearing the mountains in your world vs our real world, you may end up with an East Coast that is wetter than what already exists.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Might be worth looking at the Alps: fairly tall mountains at similar latitude, but no real deserts anywhere around them. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Jan 31, 2019 at 19:36

Simplest answer is create a jet stream that is usually aimed off the ocean onto the land and funneled down the mountain line. This can be used to explain any number of rapid weather changes that your plot needs.

This is an example of how jet streams affect the weather (this is a live link, so enjoy this for multiple days)


enter image description here

One stream hits the mountains and goes down. Another goes around the mountains pulling warm air back up, and snow and rain with it.

We don't really understand what drives a jet stream, so you can make it do pretty much whatever you want. In the picture above, the stream is dragging warm air from the states into Canada, pushing away cold air. The collision of warm and cold causes snow for everyone under the stream. Snow is marked with *s in the picture. See how the snow appears to follow the jet stream? It's the same with rain in the summer.

  • $\begingroup$ so the jet stream would carry warm/cold water and and the accompanying rain? $\endgroup$ Jan 31, 2019 at 17:50
  • $\begingroup$ Actually yes, it happens in my home province all the time. We can predict the weather reasonably accurate based on where the jet stream is. If its coming from the north, it will be cold. Coming from the west, it will be nice, coming from the south, expect rain or snow. weather.gc.ca/jet_stream/index_e.html It's below -35c today because the stream is dragging cold air down. $\endgroup$
    – Trevor
    Jan 31, 2019 at 17:52
  • $\begingroup$ That's really cool! $\endgroup$ Jan 31, 2019 at 17:54
  • $\begingroup$ And from the picture, you can see tomorrow it is going to push warm air up from the states. And tomorrows weather, snow of course, because warm moist meets cold air creating rain and snow. $\endgroup$
    – Trevor
    Jan 31, 2019 at 17:54

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