Madeira’s climate is influenced by several dynamic factors such as atmospheric circulation; general geographic factors such as latitude and oceanic localization; the Continental anti-cyclonic centres of Northwest Africa and Western Europe, the anticyclone of the Azores as well as the frontal systems associated to the low pressure centres of the polar front.
Micro-climates are present on the island of Madeira and are result of the influence of mountain altitude as well as exposure to solar radiation and influence of the winds coming from the North and Northeast. These fresh and moist winds originate the characteristic sea of clouds, which is fog of orographic nature that are formed by the rise of moisture-laden air masses on the North facing slopes face.
The North Coast in comparison to the South coast is cooler and wetter due to the presence of a high orographic barrier, perpendicular to the wind advance from the Northeast.
These moisty winds from the Atlantic Ocean are forced to rise when the mountains are encountered, causing rain in higher regions. The Central mountain ridge on the island of Madeira works as a barrier against the humid air passage to the South. The air masses rise quickly up the northern slope and cool down and water vapor condensates at the 400 metre level (depending on temperature) until about the 1600 metre level.
The South Coast is characterized by being more exposed to solar radiation and sheltered from wet Northern winds and therefore normally registers higher temperatures than on the North Coast.
Average temperatures in Madeira are around 25° C in summer and only four or five degrees lower in the winter season when the rain also becomes more frequent in mountainous areas. Sea temperatures are always inviting, making Madeira Island a perfect place for holidays throughout the year.
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