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The climate of Switzerland is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. The westerly winds transport the sea air to Switzerland and are responsible for the precipitation levels in the country. In addition, the cold and dry northern wind can make temperatures drop very quickly, but also contributes to the often clear skies. The Alps act as a climate barrier: Southern Switzerland, which is mainly influenced by the Mediterranean Sea, is characterized by a much milder climate than Northern Switzerland. The mountainous character of Switzerland is also responsible for spectacular differences in the weather among different regions. It is common to move from a cold and cloudy landscape to a beautiful clear blue sky in just a few minutes.
The climate in the North is moderate. Winters are cold, while summers tend to be warm and sunny. Of course, temperatures drop in the mountainous areas of Eastern Switzerland, and several mountain passes are closed during winter because of the snow.
The western Swiss plateau also enjoys a mild climate: temperatures do not often rise above 30ºC in summer, and rarely drop below minus 5ºC in winter. Cooler temperatures can be found on the low mountain range called Jura, on the French border.
In Ticino, the Italian-speaking canton South of the Alps, there are more than 298 sunny days a year and the daily average temperature in July is over 26ºC. Palm trees even line the shores of Lake Lugano.