Mediterranean climate

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Regions with Mediterranean climates
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Hot-summer mediterranean climate (Csa)
Warm-summer mediterranean climate (Csb) Cs climate.png
Regions with Mediterranean climates
  Hot-summer mediterranean climate (Csa)
  Warm-summer mediterranean climate (Csb)

A Mediterranean climate /ˌmɛdɪtəˈrniən/ , also called dry summer temperate climateCs, is a temperate climate sub-type, characterized by dry summers and mild, wet winters. The climate receives its name from the Mediterranean Basin, where this climate type is most common. Mediterranean climate zones are typically located along the western coasts of continents, between roughly 30 and 45 degrees north and south of the equator. The main cause of Mediterranean, or dry summer climate, is the subtropical ridge which extends toward that hemisphere's pole during the summer and migrates toward the equator during the winter due to the seasonal poleward-equatorward variations of temperatures. [1]

Contents

The resulting vegetation of Mediterranean climates are the garrigue or maquis in the Mediterranean Basin, the chaparral in California, the fynbos in South Africa, the mallee in Australia, and the matorral in Chile. Areas with this climate are also where the so-called "Mediterranean trinity" of major agricultural products have traditionally developed: wheat, grapes and olives. [2]

Most historic cities of the Mediterranean Basin lie within Mediterranean climatic zones, including Algiers, Athens, Barcelona, Beirut, İzmir, Jerusalem, Marseille, Monaco, Naples, Rome, Tunis, Valencia, and Valletta. Major cities with Mediterranean climates outside of the Mediterranean Basin include Adelaide, Cape Town, Casablanca, Dushanbe, Lisbon, Los Angeles, Perth, Porto, San Francisco, Santiago, Tashkent and Victoria. [3]

Köppen climate classification

Continental Portugal has a clear contrast between the cool to warm (Csb) and hot (Csa) summers. Portugal Koppen.svg
Continental Portugal has a clear contrast between the cool to warm ( Csb ) and hot ( Csa ) summers.

Under the Köppen climate classification, "hot dry-summer" climates (classified as Csa) and "cool dry-summer" climates (classified as Csb) are often referred to as just "Mediterranean". Under the Köppen climate system, the first letter indicates the climate group (in this case temperate climates). Temperate climates or "C" zones average temperature above 0 °C (32 °F) (or −3 °C (27 °F)), but below 18 °C (64 °F), in their coolest months. The second letter indicates the precipitation pattern ("s" represents dry summers). Köppen has defined a dry summer month as a month with less than 30 mm (1.2 in) of precipitation and as a month within the high-sun months of April to September, in the case of the Northern Hemisphere and October to March, in the case of the Southern Hemisphere, and it also must contain exactly or less than one-third that of the wettest winter month. Some, however, use a 40 mm (1.6 in) level. [4] [5] The third letter indicates the degree of summer heat: "a" represents an average temperature in the warmest month above 22 °C (72 °F), while "b" indicates the average temperature in the warmest month below 22 °C (72 °F). There is a "c" with 3 or less months' average temperature above 10 °C (50 °F), but this climate is rare and is very isolated.

Under the Köppen classification, dry-summer climates (Csa, Csb) usually occur on the western sides of continents. Csb zones in the Köppen system include areas normally not associated with Mediterranean climates but with Oceanic climates, such as much of the Pacific Northwest, much of southern Chile, parts of west-central Argentina, and parts of New Zealand. [6] Additional highland areas in the subtropics also meet Cs requirements, though they, too, are not normally associated with Mediterranean climates. The same goes for a number of oceanic islands such as Madeira, the Juan Fernández Islands, the western part of the Canary Islands, and the eastern part of the Azores. Due to a lack of western-facing areas, Asia is the only continent without this climate.

Under Trewartha's modified Köppen climate classification, the two major requirements for a Cs climate are revised. Under Trewartha's system, at least eight months must have average temperatures of 10 °C (50 °F) or higher (subtropical), and the average annual precipitation must not exceed 900 mm (35 in). Normally, climates that have eight or more months with a mean temperature over 10 °C (50 °F), are located in the low and subtropical latitude portions of the temperate zone (latitudes 25 to 35 north and south), and have mean temperatures around 7 °C (45 °F) in the coldest months, and warmer than 22 °C (72 °F) in the warmest months. In the Trewartha climate classification system, the cooler summer Csb zones in the Köppen system become Do or temperate oceanic climate.

Under the Holdridge life zones classification, the Mediterranean climates can be either temperate or subtropical climates. They are frequently found within the Warm Temperate region as defined by Leslie Holdridge with a mean annual biotemperature between 12 °C (54 °F) and the frost line or critical temperature line, 16 to 18 °C (61 to 64 °F) (depending on locations in the world [7] but often "simplified" as 17 °C (63 °F) (= 2(log212+0;5)16.97 °C (62.55 °F)) [8] ). Biotemperature is based on the growing season length and temperature. It is measured as the mean of all temperatures, with all temperatures below freezing and above 30 °C (86 °F) adjusted to 0 °C, [9] as plants are normally dormant at these temperatures. The frost line separates the warm temperate region from the subtropical region. It represents the dividing line between two major physiological groups of evolved plants. On the warmer side of the line, the majority of the plants are sensitive in low temperatures. They can be killed back by frosts as they have not evolved to withstand periods of cold. On the colder temperate side of the line, the total flora is adapted to survive periods of variable lengths of low temperatures, whether as seeds in the case of the annuals or as perennial plants which can withstand the cold. Only the warmest Mediterranean climates with a biotemperature between 16 °C (61 °F) to 18 °C (64 °F) and 24 °C (75 °F) are classified as subtropical climates in the Holdridge classification.

Precipitation

[Chile] has six, 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...

During summer, regions of the Mediterranean climate are strongly influenced by the subtropical ridge which keeps atmospheric conditions very dry with minimal cloud coverage. In some areas, such as coastal California, the cold current has a stabilizing effect on the surrounding air, further reducing the chances for rain, but often causing thick layers of marine fog that usually evaporates by mid-day. Similar to desert climates, in many Mediterranean climates there is a strong diurnal character to daily temperatures in the warm summer months due to strong solar heating during the day from sunlight and rapid cooling at night.

In winter, the subtropical ridge migrates towards the equator and leaves the area, making rainfall much more likely. As a result, areas with this climate receive almost all of their precipitation during their winter and spring seasons, and may go anywhere from 4 to 6 months during the summer and early fall without having any significant precipitation. In the lower latitudes, precipitation usually decreases in both the winter and summer due to higher evapotranspiration. Toward the polar latitudes, total moisture usually increases; for instance, the Mediterranean climate in Southern Europe has more rain. The rainfall also tends to be more evenly distributed throughout the year in Southern Europe, while in places such as the Eastern Mediterranean, or in Southern California, the summer is nearly or completely dry. In places where evapotranspiration is higher, steppe climates tend to prevail, but still follow the basic pattern of the Mediterranean climates.

Temperature

Agean Sea of Oludeniz, Turkey Blue Lagoon - 2014.10 - panoramio.jpg
Agean Sea of Ölüdeniz, Turkey

The majority of the regions with Mediterranean climates have relatively mild winters and very warm summers. However, winter and summer temperatures can vary greatly between different regions with a Mediterranean climate. For instance, in the case of winters, Los Angeles experiences mild to warm temperatures in the winter, with frost and snowfall almost unknown, whereas Tashkent has cold winters with annual frosts and snowfall seen in the winter; or, to consider summer, Seville experiences rather high temperatures in that season. In contrast, San Francisco has cool summers with daily highs around 21 °C (70 °F) due to the continuous upwelling of cold subsurface waters along the coast.

Because most 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 unlike dry-summer humid continental climates (although the daily diurnal range of temperature during the summer is large due to dry and clear conditions, except along the immediate coastlines). Temperatures during winter only occasionally fall below the freezing point and snow is generally seldom seen. Summer temperatures can be cool to very hot, depending on the distance from a large body of water, elevation, and latitude, among other factors. Strong winds from inland desert regions can sometimes boost summer temperatures up, quickly increasing the risk of wildfires. Notable exceptions to the usual proximity from bodies of water, thus featuring extremely high summer temperatures and cooler winters, include south-eastern Turkey and northern Iraq (Urfa, Erbil), surrounded by hot deserts to the south and mountains to the north. Those places routinely experience summer daily means of over 30 °C (86 °F), while receiving enough rainfall in winter not to fall into arid or semi-arid classifications.

As in every climatologic domain, the highland locations of the Mediterranean domain can present cooler temperatures in the summer and winter than the lowland areas, temperatures which can sometimes prohibit the growth of typical cold-sensitive Mediterranean plants. Some Spanish authors opt in to use the term Continental Mediterranean Climate for some regions with lower temperatures in winter than the coastal areas [10] (direct translation from Clima Mediterráneo Continentalizado), but most climate classifications (including Köppen's Cs zones) show no distinction as long as winter temperature means stay above freezing.

Additionally, 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 (tropical savanna climate with dry summers, typically in a rainshadow region, as in Hawaii). These have a favourable climate, with mild wet winters and fairly warm, dry summers.

Mediterranean biome

The Ionian Sea, view from the island Lefkada, Greece Ionian sea islands, pic8.JPG
The Ionian Sea, view from the island Lefkada, Greece
Makarska in Dalmatia, Croatia Makarska riviera.jpg
Makarska in Dalmatia, Croatia
The coastal Mediterranean region of Costa Brava, Catalonia, Spain Tossa de Mar View.jpg
The coastal Mediterranean region of Costa Brava, Catalonia, Spain

The Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome is closely associated with Mediterranean climate zones, as are unique freshwater communities, though vegetation native to the Mediterranean climate zone can also be found in the approximate nearby climate zones, which usually tend to be the humid subtropical, oceanic and/or semi-arid zones, depending on the region and location. 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 components (e.g. competition and predation) controls become increasingly important as the flood 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. [11] Aquatic organisms in these regions show distinct long-term patterns in their structure and function, [3] and are also highly sensitive to the recent effects of climate change. [1] [2]

Natural vegetation

The native vegetation of Mediterranean climate lands must be adapted to survive long, hot summer droughts in summer and prolonged wet periods in winter. Mediterranean vegetation examples include the following: [12]

Many native vegetations in Mediterranean climate area valleys have been cleared for agriculture and farming. In places such as the Sacramento Valley and Oxnard Plain in California, draining marshes and estuaries combined with supplemental irrigation has led to a century of intensive agriculture. Much of the Overberg in the southern Cape of South Africa, was once covered with renosterveld, but has likewise been largely converted to agriculture, mainly for wheat. In hillside and mountainous areas, away from the urban sprawls, ecosystems and habitats of native vegetation are more sustained and undisturbed.

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. Representatives of the Proteaceae also grow in Australia, such as Banksias. The palette of California native plants is also renowned for its species and cultivar diversity.

Hot-summer Mediterranean climate

Hot-summer mediterranean climate (Csa) Koppen-Geiger Map Csa present.svg
  Hot-summer mediterranean climate (Csa)

This subtype of the Mediterranean climate (Csa) is the most common form of the Mediterranean climate, therefore it is also known as a "typical Mediterranean climate". As stated earlier, regions with this form of a Mediterranean climate experience average monthly temperatures in excess of 22.0 °C (71.6 °F) during its warmest month and an average in the coldest month between 18 and −3 °C (64 and 27 °F) or, in some applications, between 18 and 0 °C (64 and 32 °F). Also, at least four months must average above 10 °C (50 °F) to avoid becoming a cold mediterranean subtype. Regions with this form of the Mediterranean climate typically experience hot, sometimes very hot and dry summers and mild, wet winters. In a number of instances, summers here can closely resemble summers seen in arid and semi-arid climates and be close to the thresholds for them. However, high temperatures during summers are generally not quite as high as those in arid or semiarid climates due to the presence of a large body of water nearby. All areas with this subtype have wet mild winters. However, some areas with a hot Mediterranean subtype can actually experience very chilly winters, with occasional snowfall.

Csa climates are mainly found around the Mediterranean Sea, southwestern Australia, southwestern South Africa, sections of Central Asia, northern sections of Iran and Iraq, the interior of northern California west of the Sierra Nevada, along the Wasatch Front in Utah, and inland areas of southern Oregon west of the Cascade Mountains. Southern California's coasts also experience hot summers due to the shielding effect of the Channel Islands. However, unshielded areas of that coastline can have warm-summer Mediterranean climates with hot-summer areas just a few kilometres inland.

Valencia, Spain
Climate chart (explanation)
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Source: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología [13]
Los Angeles, United States
Climate chart (explanation)
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Source: NOAA
Perth, Australia
Climate chart (explanation)
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Source: BoM [14]

Warm-summer Mediterranean climate

Warm-summer mediterranean climate (Csb) Koppen-Geiger Map Csb present.svg
  Warm-summer mediterranean climate (Csb)

Occasionally also termed the "Cool-summer Mediterranean climate", this subtype of the Mediterranean climate (Csb) is less common and experience warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 22 °C (72 °F) during its warmest month and as usual an average in the coldest month between 18 and −3 °C (64 and 27 °F) or,[ citation needed ] in some applications, between 18 and 0 °C (64 and 32 °F).[ citation needed ]

Also, at least four months must average above 10 °C (50 °F) once again.

Cool ocean currents, upwelling and higher latitudes are often the reason for this cooler type of Mediterranean climate. This is why it rarely occurs on the Mediterranean Sea shores, as it is a warm sea and is subtropical, from 3 to 6 °C above the theoric value according to Jean Demangeot. [15]

The other main reason for this cooler type is the altitude. For instance, Menton on the French coast has a Csa climate while Castellar, Alpes-Maritimes, the adjacent town just north of Menton, with an altitude between 100 and 1,382 m (328 and 4,534 ft), has a Csb climate instead. [16]

Winters are rainy and can be mild to chilly. In some instances, snow can fall on these areas.

Precipitation occurs often in the colder seasons, but there are a number of clear sunny days even during the wetter seasons.

Csb climates are found in northwestern Iberian Peninsula (namely Galicia and the Norte region and west coast of Portugal), in coastal California, in the Pacific Northwest (namely western Washington, western Oregon and southern portions of Vancouver Island in British Columbia), [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] in central Chile, in parts of southern Australia and in sections of southwestern South Africa. Rarer instances of this climate can be found in relatively small and isolated high altitude areas of the Andes in Northern Ecuador, Colombia, and Western Venezuela.

Porto, Portugal
Climate chart (explanation)
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Source: Instituto de Meteorologia [22]
Victoria, Canada
Climate chart (explanation)
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Source: Environment Canada [23]
Cape Town, South Africa
Climate chart (explanation)
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Source: WMO [24]

Cold-summer Mediterranean climate

Distribution of the relatively rare cold-summer Mediterranean climate (Koppen type Csc) in Washington, Oregon and California Koppen Csc US West Coast.png
Distribution of the relatively rare cold-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen type Csc) in Washington, Oregon and California

The cold-summer subtype of the Mediterranean climate (Csc) is rare and predominately found at scattered high-altitude locations along the west coasts of North and South America having a similar climate.[ citation needed ] This type is characterized by cool, dry summers, with less than four months with a mean temperature at or above 10 °C (50 °F), as well as with cool, wet winters, with no winter month having a mean temperature below 0 °C (32 °F) (or −3 °C [27 °F]), depending on the isotherm used).[ citation needed ] Regions with this climate are influenced by the dry-summer trend (though briefly) that extends considerably poleward along the west coast of the Americas, as well as the moderating influences of high altitude and relative proximity to the Pacific Ocean.

In North America, areas with Csc climate can be found in the Olympic, Cascade, Klamath, and Sierra Nevada ranges in Washington, Oregon and California. These locations are found at high altitude nearby lower altitude regions characterized by a warm-summer Mediterranean climate (Csb) or hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Csa). A rare instance of this climate occurs in the tropics, on Haleakalā Summit in Hawaii.

In South America, Csc regions can be found along the Andes in Chile and Argentina. The town of Balmaceda, Chile is one of the few towns confirmed to have this climate.

Small areas with a Csc climate can be found at high elevations in Corsica. [11]

In Norway, the small fishing village of Røst above the Arctic Circle has a climate bordering on Csc and is known as a "climatic anomaly" due to abnormally warm temperatures despite its latitude located above 67°N latitude.[ citation needed ]

Balmaceda, Chile
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Source: DMC [25] infochile [26]
Haleakala Summit, United States
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Source: The Western Regional Climate Center [27]
Liawenee, Tasmania
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Source: Bureau of Meteorology [28]

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Climate classifications are systems that categorize the world's climates. A climate classification may correlate closely with a biome classification, as climate is a major influence on life in a region. One of the most used is the Köppen climate classification scheme first developed in 1899.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Holdridge life zones</span> Global bioclimatic scheme for the classification of land areas

The Holdridge life zones system is a global bioclimatic scheme for the classification of land areas. It was first published by Leslie Holdridge in 1947, and updated in 1967. It is a relatively simple system based on few empirical data, giving objective criteria. A basic assumption of the system is that both soil and the climax vegetation can be mapped once the climate is known.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Climate of the United States</span> Varies due to changes in latitude, and a range of geographic features

The climate of the United States varies due to changes in latitude, and a range of geographic features, including mountains and deserts. Generally, on the mainland, the climate of the U.S. becomes warmer the further south one travels, and drier the further west, until one reaches the West Coast.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Humid subtropical climate</span> Transitional climatic zone

A humid subtropical climate is a zone of climate characterized by hot and humid summers, and cool to mild winters. These climates normally lie on the southeast side of all continents, generally between latitudes 25° and 40° and are located poleward from adjacent tropical climates. It is also known as warm temperate climate in some climate classifications.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Climate of Cyprus</span> Climatic conditions of Cyprus

Cyprus has a subtropical climate - Mediterranean and semi-arid type - according to Köppen climate classification signes Csa and BSh, with very mild winters and warm to hot summers. Snow is possible only in the Troodos mountains in the central part of the island. Rain occurs mainly in winter, with summer being generally dry.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Climate of Spain</span> Overview of the climate of Spain

The climate in Spain varies across continental Spain. Spain is the most climatically diverse country in Europe with 13 different Köppen climates, excluding the Canary Islands, and is within the 10 most climatically diverse countries in the world. The country is dominated by five major climate regions, with the other regions including smaller portions of the country. The Mediterranean environment and location in Europe means that it will experience greater heatwaves and dry weather due to climate change.

Lisbon and its metropolitan area feature a mild Mediterranean climate, with short, mild and rainy winters and warm to hot, dry summers. According to the Troll-Paffen climate classification, Lisbon has a warm-temperate subtropical climate. According to the Siegmund/Frankenberg climate classification, Lisbon has a subtropical climate.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Trewartha climate classification</span> Categorical system for longer-range recurrent weather patterns of Earth, orig. 1966

The Trewartha climate classification (TCC) or the Köppen–Trewartha climate classification (KTC) is a climate classification system first published by American geographer Glenn Thomas Trewartha in 1966. It is a modified version of the Köppen–Geiger system, created to answer some of its deficiencies. The Trewartha system attempts to redefine the middle latitudes to be closer to vegetation zoning and genetic climate systems. It was considered a more true or "real world" reflection of the global climate.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Temperate continental climate</span> Category in the Köppen climate classification system

A Humid continental climate is a continental climate region defined by Russo-German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1900, typified by four distinct seasons and large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot summers and freezing cold winters. Precipitation is usually distributed throughout the year but often do have dry seasons. The definition of this climate regarding temperature is as follows: the mean temperature of the coldest month must be below 0 °C (32.0 °F) or −3 °C (26.6 °F) depending on the isotherm, and there must be at least four months whose mean temperatures are at or above 10 °C (50 °F). In addition, the location in question must not be semi-arid or arid. The cooler Dfb, Dwb, and Dsb subtypes are also known as hemiboreal climates.

Porto and its metropolitan area feature a Mediterranean climate with mild wet winters and warm dry summers. According to the Troll-Paffen climate classification, Porto has a warm-temperate subtropical climate, and a subtropical climate according to Siegmund/Frankenberg. Porto is the wettest major city with a Mediterranean climate.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Subhumid temperate climate</span>

The subhumid temperate climate also called monsoon temperate climate, is a temperate climate sub-type with monsoon influence, that is a climate with dry winter and wet summer. Although the terms subhumid temperate climate and monsoon temperate climate are not officially used in the Köppen climate classification, climates of this type may fall under the Cw classification for dry winters. In most cases it may be present as highland climate.

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