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     Areas with Mediterranean climate

A Mediterranean climate is the climate typical of most of the lands in the Mediterranean Basin. Worldwide, this is where the largest area of this climate type is found. Beyond the Mediterranean area, this climatic type prevails in much of California, in parts of Western and South Australia, in southwestern South Africa and in parts of central Chile.

Contents

Characteristics

The climate is characterised by warm to hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Mediterranean climate zones with the five large subtropical high pressure cells of the oceans, the Azores High, South Atlantic High, North Pacific High, South Pacific High, and Indian Ocean High. These high pressure cells shift polarward in the summer and equatorward in the winter, playing a major role in the formation of the world's tropical deserts and the zones of Mediterranean climate polarward of the deserts. For example, the Azores High is associated with the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Basin's climate. The South Atlantic High is similarly associated with the Namib Desert and the Mediterranean climate of the western part of South Africa. The North Pacific High is related to the Sonoran Desert and California's climate, while the South Pacific High is related to the Atacama Desert and central Chile's climate, and the Indian Ocean High is related to the deserts of western Australia (Great Sandy Desert, Great Victoria Desert, and Gibson Desert) and the Mediterranean climate of southwest and south-central Australia.[1]

Most large, historic cities of the Mediterranean basin, such as Barcelona, Marseille, Rome, Athens, Jerusalem and Beirut to name but a few, as well as major cities outside of the Mediterranean such as Santiago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Cape Town and Perth, lie within Mediterranean climatic zones.

Köppen climate classification

     Areas with Köppen-Geiger Csa, Csb, Csc classifications

Under the Köppen climate classification, Dry-summer subtropical climates (Csa, Csb, Csc) are often referred to as "Mediterranean". Under the Köppen-Geiger system, "C" zones have an average temperature above 10 °C (50 °F) in their warmest months, and a coldest month average between −3 °C (26.6 °F) and 18 °C (64 °F), although 0 °C (32 °F) rather than −3 °C (26.6 °F) is also used. The second letter indicates the precipitation pattern, where "s" indicates dry summers. The driest summer month has less than 30 mm average precipitation and less than one-third wettest winter month precipitation. The third letter indicates the degree of summer heat, where "a" indicates a warmest month average temperature above 22 °C (72 °F) with at least 4 months averaging above 10 °C (50 °F), and "b" indicates the warmest month averaging below 22 °C, but with at least 4 months averaging above 10 °C.

Under this classification, dry-summer subtropical climates (Csa, Csb) usually occur on the western sides of continents, and Csb zones include additional areas not typically associated with a typical Mediterranean climate, such as much of the Pacific Northwest, much of southern Chile, parts of west-central Argentina, and northern Spain and Portugal.[2] Many of these areas would be Oceanic (Cfb), except dry-summer patterns meet Koeppen's Cs thresholds, and cities such as Seattle, Portland and Victoria can be classified as Csb. Additional highland areas in the subtropics also meet Cs requirements, although they too are not normally associated with Mediterranean climates.

Under Trewartha's modified Koeppen climate classification, the two major requirements for a Cs climate are revised. Under Trewartha's system, at least 8 months must have average temperatures of at least 10 °C and the average annual precipitation must not exceed 900mm (35 inches). Thus, under this system, many Csb zones (including the Pacific Northwest), become DO Oceanic.

Precipitation

It [Chile] has four months of winter, no more, and in them, except when there is a quarter moon, when it rains one or two days, all the other days have such beautiful suns...

Pedro de Valdivia to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor

During summer, regions of Mediterranean climate are dominated by subtropical high pressure cells, with dry sinking air capping a surface marine layer of varying humidity and making rainfall impossible or unlikely except for the occasional thunderstorm, while during winter the polar jet stream and associated periodic storms reach into the lower latitudes of the Mediterranean zones, bringing rain, with snow at higher elevations. As a result, areas with this climate receive almost all of their yearly rainfall during the winter season, and may go anywhere from 4 to 6 months during the summer without having any significant precipitation.

Toward the equatorial end, winter precipitation increases as a share of annual precipitation as the climate grades equatorward into the steppe climate usually characterized as BSHs normally too dry to support unirrigated agriculture. Toward the polar end, total moisture usually increases; in Europe there is more summer rain further north while along the American west coast the winters become more intensely wet and the dry seasons shorter as one moves north.

Temperature

Mediterranean Climate Distribution in the Americas

All regions with Mediterranean climates have relatively mild winters, but summer temperatures are variable depending on the region. For instance, Athens experiences rather high temperatures in the summer (48.0°C has been measured in nearby Eleusina), whereas San Francisco has cool, mild summers due to the upwelling of cold subsurface waters along the coast. Because all regions with a Mediterranean climate are near large bodies of water, temperatures are generally moderate with a comparatively small range of temperatures between the winter low and summer high (although the daily range of temperature during the summer is large due to dry and clear conditions, except along the immediate coasts). Temperatures during winter only occasionally reach freezing and snow occurs only rarely at sea level, but often in surrounding mountains because of wet conditions. In the summer, the temperatures range from mild to very warm, depending on distance from the open ocean, elevation, and latitude. Even in the warmest locations with a Mediterranean-type climate, however, temperatures usually do not reach the highest readings found in adjacent desert regions because of cooling from water bodies, although strong winds from inland desert regions can sometimes boost summer temperatures, quickly increasing the risk of forest fires.

Inland locations sheltered from or distant from sea breezes can experience severe heat during the summer. Locations in the northern half of the Sacramento Valley of Northern California, for example, are sometimes subject to summer temperatures characteristic of hot desert (often around 40°C/104°F) because of high temperature and very low humidity, although winters are very rainy and foggy enough to allow lusher vegetation than is typical in deserts; the vegetation becomes a fire risk in the dry summers. The central valley of California is not always very hot because of an ocean influence known as the "delta breeze," which reduces temperatures during warm summer days. At times, it is strong enough to bring some coastal fog to the valley, which brings cooler weather and higher humidity. In contrast, cities such as San Diego and Tijuana exhibits a rather dry version of a mediterranean climate, bordering a semiarid climate. While the wet-winter, dry-summer precipitation pattern prevails in these cities, winters there are relatively dry by mediterranean climate standards. Coastal climates are normally designated as Csb in the Köppen climate classification as they are characterized by an average temperature of the warmest month below 21.8°C (72°F); the hotter, typically inland areas are classified as Csa, which indicates a hot summer with the average temperature of the warmest month being above 21.8°C (72°F). Csb climates are found in northwestern Iberia, south coastal Brittany (Pornic, Noirmoutier Island, Belle Ile), coastal California and parts of the Pacific Northwest, central Chile and parts of southern Australia while Csa climates are mainly found around the Mediterranean Sea, southwestern Australia (including the city of Perth), southwestern South Africa and in the interior of California. In the northwestern Mediterranean Basin, the rainiest season is divided into a primary maximum during the autumn and a secondary in spring, making for a shorter dry season than in the classic mediterranean climate as in Barcelona and with some cold days in winter, when the northern winds often bring cool or freezing air from central and northern Europe (usually accompanied by lower temperatures, high pressure and clear skies) but also with some snowstorms. This northern mediterranean coasts is close to the Cfa Köppen classified humid subtropical climates of the Danube, Po, Garona and Rhone valleys.

Locations with either slightly higher latitude or elevation and which are cut off from milder ocean winds may have somewhat colder winters and more distinct seasons with occasional snow. This "temperate Mediterranean" climate is most noticeable in the Rogue and Umpqua Basins of southwestern Oregon, the central and northeastern Iberian Peninsula, southeastern France, away from the immediate coastline, northern Italy, and northern Greece. In these areas, some plants, (such as citrus) that are commonly associated with milder Mediterranean climates, will freeze in a severe winter and are thus not part of the regular landscape.

Areas of high altitude adjacent to locations with Mediterranean climates, such as the "mesetas" or plateaux of central Spain, may have the cold winters that are characteristic of a continental climate (see Continental Mediterranean climate below); under Köppen's scheme such places might earn the designation Dsa (at lower latitudes above Csa), Dsb (either at high elevations in the lower latitudes or at lower elevations in the mid-latitudes above Csb) or even Dsc (just below the tree line). An example of a very humid Mediterranean snow climate, Dfsc, is the highest summit on Orjen, Zubacki kabao in the subadriatic Dinaric Alps in Montenegro.

The temperature and rainfall pattern for a Csa or even a Csb climate can exist as a microclimate in some high-altitude locations adjacent to a rare tropical As (summer-drought tropical climate, typically in a rainshadow region.

Mediterranean Biome

The Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome is closely associated with Mediterranean climate zones. Particularly distinctive of the climate are sclerophyll shrublands, called maquis in the Mediterranean Basin, chaparral in California, matorral in Chile, fynbos in South Africa, and mallee and kwongan shrublands in Australia. Aquatic communities in Mediterranean climate regions are adapted to a yearly cycle in which abiotic (environmental) controls of stream populations and community structure dominate during floods, biotic (e.g. competition and predation) controls become increasingly important as the discharge declines, and environmental controls regain dominance as environmental conditions become very harsh (i.e. hot and dry); as a result, these communities are well suited to recover from droughts, floods, and fires.[3]

Natural vegetation

The natural vegetation of Mediterranean lands must be adapted to survive long, hot summer droughts and prolonged wet periods in winter. Mediterranean vegetation includes the following:

Most natural vegetation in Mediterranean areas has long since been cleared for agriculture. In places such as the Sacramento Valley in California, irrigation has led to intensive farming. However, some native vegetation survives in rural areas.

The fynbos vegetation in the South-western Cape in South Africa is famed for its high floral diversity, and includes such plant types as members of the Restionaceae, ericas (heaths) and proteas (incidentally, representatives of the Proteaceae also grow in Australia, such as banksias.)

Continental Mediterranean Climate

Map of the areas with Continental Mediterranean climate.

The Continental Mediterranean climate is a rare variation of the Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification: Csa, Csb and Csc) that shows characteristics of a Continental climate due to altitude and limited influence of the sea. In essence, it's a hybrid of a continental climate and a mediterranean climate. A Continental Mediterranean climate has some typical features of a Continental climate, like cold and snowy (or dry) winters and warm to hot (and dry) summers. The difference between average temperatures in winter and summer is about 18.5°C. In summer, daily temperatures can exceed 30°C, and snow and frost are very common in winter. Rainfall is very similar to Mediterranean climate: 400-600 mm, but with peaks in autumn and spring and a drier stretch in mid-winter. The Continental aspects of this climate are more important with higher altitude. It is found in the interior of the Iberian peninsula (the Meseta and the Ebro valley), inner parts of Anatolia, inland Sicily, and the inland of Central Chile.

In many instances, a Continental Mediterranean climate closely resembles a semi-arid climate (Köppen: BS). However, there are two characteristics that separates this variation of the Mediterranean climate and a semi-arid climate. First, the former has a distinct precipitation pattern where the peaks of precipitation is observed during the fall and spring. A semi-arid climate usually (but not always) features a different precipitation pattern. Secondly, this climate is found immediately adjacent to areas with a Mediterranean climate, usually in the form of highlands near areas with Mediterranean climates. If an area has both of these characteristics, it's a Continental Mediterranean climate.

Examples

Notable Cities with Mediterranean Climates

Notable Cities with Continental Mediterranean Climates


Notable Cities with Csb Climates under the Koeppen-Geiger system

Charts of selected cities

Mediterranean Climates

Northern hemisphere

Barcelona
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
44
 
12
4
 
 
38
 
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42
 
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45
 
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45
 
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59
 
28
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86
 
27
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92
 
22
14
 
 
58
 
16
8
 
 
49
 
13
6
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: [1]
Los Angeles
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
61
 
19
9
 
 
64
 
19
10
 
 
50
 
19
10
 
 
18
 
20
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3.6
 
21
14
 
 
0.8
 
22
15
 
 
0.3
 
24
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3.8
 
25
18
 
 
7.9
 
25
17
 
 
8.6
 
24
15
 
 
45
 
21
12
 
 
42
 
19
9
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: [2]
Haifa
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
125
 
17
9
 
 
92
 
18
9
 
 
53
 
20
11
 
 
24
 
24
14
 
 
2.7
 
26
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0
 
29
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0
 
31
23
 
 
0
 
31
24
 
 
1.2
 
30
22
 
 
28
 
28
19
 
 
77
 
24
14
 
 
136
 
19
11
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: [3]


Southern hemisphere

Santiago (Chile)
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
0
 
29
12
 
 
3
 
29
12
 
 
5
 
27
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14
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76
 
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53
 
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28
 
18
6
 
 
13
 
22
7
 
 
5
 
25
9
 
 
5
 
28
11
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: [4]
Adelaide
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
19
 
32
19
 
 
20
 
31
18
 
 
22
 
30
17
 
 
38
 
26
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50
 
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67
 
17
9
 
 
51
 
18
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41
 
22
13
 
 
37
 
25
15
 
 
23
 
27
17
 
 
25
 
30
18
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: [5]
Perth (WA)
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
17
 
31
18
 
 
9
 
31
18
 
 
21
 
30
16
 
 
39
 
26
14
 
 
90
 
22
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135
 
19
9
 
 
153
 
18
8
 
 
128
 
19
8
 
 
89
 
20
10
 
 
43
 
23
11
 
 
22
 
26
14
 
 
6
 
29
16
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: [6]
Cape Town
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
14
 
26
16
 
 
16
 
26
16
 
 
21
 
25
14
 
 
41
 
23
12
 
 
68
 
20
9
 
 
93
 
18
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83
 
17
7
 
 
77
 
18
8
 
 
41
 
19
9
 
 
30
 
21
11
 
 
10
 
24
13
 
 
17
 
25
15
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: [7]


Continental Mediterranean Climates

Madrid
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
37
 
9
1
 
 
35
 
12
3
 
 
26
 
16
6
 
 
47
 
18
7
 
 
52
 
21
11
 
 
25
 
27
15
 
 
15
 
31
18
 
 
10
 
31
18
 
 
28
 
26
15
 
 
49
 
19
10
 
 
56
 
13
6
 
 
56
 
10
3
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: World Meteorological Organization[4]
Burgos
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
46
 
7
-1
 
 
42
 
9
-1
 
 
31
 
12
1
 
 
65
 
13
2
 
 
69
 
17
6
 
 
46
 
22
8
 
 
30
 
26
11
 
 
27
 
27
11
 
 
26
 
23
9
 
 
50
 
17
6
 
 
56
 
11
2
 
 
57
 
8
0
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología[5]
Potenza
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
64
 
6
1
 
 
53
 
7
1
 
 
53
 
9
2
 
 
61
 
13
5
 
 
46
 
18
9
 
 
43
 
22
12
 
 
30
 
25
15
 
 
36
 
25
15
 
 
46
 
21
12
 
 
69
 
16
8
 
 
79
 
11
5
 
 
74
 
7
2
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: (Portuguese) The Weather Channel[6]

References

  1. ^ Akin, Wallace E. (1991). Global Patterns: Climate, Vegetation, and Soils. University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 35. ISBN 0-8061-2309-5. 
  2. ^ http://www.hydrol-earth-syst-sci.net/11/1633/2007/hess-11-1633-2007.html
  3. ^ Gasith, A. and V.H. Resh (1999). "Streams in Mediterranean Climate Regions: Abiotic Influences and Biotic Responses to Predictable Seasonal Events". Annu. Rev. Ecol. Sys. 30: 51–81. doi:10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.30.1.51. 
  4. ^ "Weather Information for Madrid". http://www.worldweather.org/083/c00195.htm. 
  5. ^ "Valores Climatológicos Normales. Burgos / B. Aérea". Agencia Estatal de Meteorología. http://www.aemet.es/es/elclima/datosclimatologicos/valoresclimatologicos?l=2331&k=cle. Retrieved 2009-10-17. 
  6. ^ "Médias e registros- Potenza, Itália". The Weather Channel. http://br.weather.com/weather/climatology/ITXX0139. Retrieved 2010-01-30. 

See also

External links


Simple English

[[File:|320 px|thumb]] A Mediterranean climate is a climate that is similar to the climate of the lands bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Outside the Mediterranean, one can find this climate only in rather small areas. Generally one can find it on the western coasts of continental landmasses, roughly between latitudes 30° to 45° north and south of the equator.

Location

File:Fitzgerald River National Park
The Fitzgerald River National Park, in Western Australia with the dense scrub vegetation and biodiversity of Mediterranean climate zones. There are 62 plant species which are unique to the 3,299 km² (1,274 mi²) park and a further 48 are rarely found elsewhere.

Besides the Mediterranean Basin, regions which have a Mediterranean climate include much of California between Cape Mendocino and greater Los Angeles, the Western Cape in South Africa, central Chile, southern Western Australia and the coastal areas of central and south-east Australia.

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