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The central continental region

I'm interested in what the primary climate would most likely be in the pictured region, especially between the two latitude lines (35N and 40N). Does having something similar to the midwest US (from about Tennessee through the great lakes, just east of the Mississippi river) make sense?

World details This planet is roughly earthlike for the purposes of this question. There are small differences, but they're within 0.5% or so of Earth norms as far as radius, distance from sun, insolation, inclination, etc.

Regional details Despite the very non-tectonic origins of the landforms/mountain ranges/etc, the weather processes since their formation (in the distant past) can be approximated (at least for this question) as earth-like.

Mean altitudes are noted, although there's variation. Specifically, the main plains region east of the lake rises slowly from roughly sea level at lakeshore up to 300m or so before the mountains start. The ring-shaped mountain ranges (outer and inner) are roughly 70 mi (+- a fair amount) wide. This makes them quite steep and sheer throughout much of their length.

The lake is freshwater, but the sea to the north is salt (part of a much larger ocean stretching to polar regions). There are outlets to the lake, but they're not shown on this map. The sea to the south is part of an equatorial sea stretching through the northern tropical and subtropical regions and extending across the entire east-west length of the continent.

To the west of the lake is another large plains region of approximately the same extent as the eastern one and another rugged mountain range (similar to the Rocky Mountains in the US). Beyond that is an ocean similar in extent to the Pacific. To the east of the pictured region is another few thousand miles of terrain, mostly fairly arid at least close by.

Tree cover is sparse in the plains by the lake but in the southern inter-mountain region it's fairly dense. The mountains (at least the lower slopes) and hills of the north and east are forested. The northern intermountain region (around where it says +450 m) is, ideally, basically badlands, as long as that makes sense.

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  • $\begingroup$ What do the negative numbers mean? $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Mar 13, 2023 at 6:00
  • $\begingroup$ Average depth below the surface. $\endgroup$ Mar 13, 2023 at 15:59

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Considering this map looks like a badly drawn map of Europe I suggest you look at the climate of equivalent regions there. Because there is no single climate in your region.

At the extreme west by the sea you would have similar climate as in western France. In the southern part by the sea you would have something similar to mediteranian climate of Italy. In the center by the mountains you would have similar climate to Austria/Switzerland. And in the north-east you would have a continental climate on par with Poland/Germany.

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  • $\begingroup$ Not really, because Europe extends considerably more in latitude northwards that this map, but close enough to earn an upvote. The northern boundary of this map would go through southern France and northern Italy. And Germany has a very mild continental climate, bordering on temperate oceanic. It surely cannot be taken as an example of what real continental climate is like; which the Germans found out to their horror in the winter of 1942 to 1943. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Mar 13, 2023 at 11:33
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    $\begingroup$ Not to mention that without the Gulf Stream providing a lot of heat, Europe would be a cold place. Compare east coast of Canada with France which are at the same latitude. One has a cold ocean stream next to it, the other has warm water. $\endgroup$
    – David R
    Mar 13, 2023 at 14:36
  • $\begingroup$ It's the lack of a warm current (like the Gulf Stream) that made me doubt the (Western) European comparisons. The northern sea is cold; the large inland sea is only sun heated (no tropical-sourced currents) and the nearest warm currents are at the south sea. So unlike France which has the Gulf Stream warming up the western edge, there's only the lake effects in play here. $\endgroup$ Mar 13, 2023 at 16:03
  • $\begingroup$ @BenjaminTHall: The ocean to the west of France has nothing to do with the Gulf Stream, which flows mostly to west of the British Isles. And whatever it is, it is not warm. The difference between the western coast of France, e.g., La Rochelle, and New York City is that there is much less temperature variation between summer and winter -- winters are warmer by about 5 °C (9 °F) and summers are cooler by about the same amount; overall, the average annual temperature is about 13.5 °C (56 °F) in both places. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Mar 13, 2023 at 18:17
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I'm interested in what the primary climate would most likely be in the pictured region, especially between the two latitude lines (35N and 40N). Does having something similar to the midwest US (from about Tennessee through the great lakes, just east of the Mississippi river) make sense?

Sure, why not.

Lattitude doesn't mean a whole lot. For reference, New York City and Barcelona have about the same temperatures in summer, but NYC is 10 to 15°C colder in winter and has about twice as much rain year-round. Can you guess which is further north? Yes, it's Barcelona.

Climate varies based on a lot of factors, and knowing the lattitude without knowing the oceanic currents and prevailing winds means that almost anything is possible. Could you have climates similar to the Eastern Seaboard? Sure. Could you have climates similar to Western Europe? Sure.

And I insist on the plural here, because coastal and inland climates will vary.

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