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What is the Mediterranean climate?

Mediterranean climate is understood as one of the temperate climates, such as the Chinese, the Pampean or the oceanic. It is characterized by dry and hot summers, rainy and cold winters, and autumns and variable springs in both rainfall and temperature levels.

It is named for the Mediterranean Sea (whose name, coming from European antiquity, means “in the center of the world”), located in southern Europe and northern Africa, a region in which this climate is characteristic and encompasses its greatest geographical extension. This does not mean that it is not found in other regions of the planet, although with some variations.

There are variations of the Mediterranean climate , such as the continental Mediterranean climate, the Mediterranean climate with oceanic influence or the dry Mediterranean climate, which are distinguished from the typical in various variations of precipitation and temperature


Characteristics of the Mediterranean climate

  1. Geographic location

The Mediterranean climate is located geographically on the western coasts of the great continents and results from the combination of the oceanic climate , towards the poles, and the desert climate, towards the equator.

Thus, to the extent that it is closer to the poles, it will tend to be more gentle and rainy, and the more towards the equator, drier.

The most typical region in this sense is that which involves the European coasts of the Mediterranean Sea ( Spain , Portugal, France, Italy, Greece, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, etc.) with the exception of the coasts of Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, in which the desert climate predominates.

  1. Precipitation

Rainfall can exceed 1000 mm per year and is less frequent in summer. 

The rain in this climate is not usually too abundant, especially in comparison with the tropical regions. In some areas, rainfall can exceed 1000 mm, although it is not common during the summer, in contrast to the intertropical zone.

  1. Temperature

On average, the Mediterranean climate registers temperatures of around 20 ° C throughout the year, a temperature that increases markedly in summer and decreases a few degrees below 10 ° C in winter. In general terms, it is a stable and pleasant climatic zone.

  1. Vegetation

The vegetation of the Mediterranean climate is usually low. 

In this climate a vegetation of not much height predominates, along with herbaceous strata or shrubs. In it the leaves remain throughout the year (evergreen vegetation), which saves much effort to local species that often have abundant defense strategies (against pests and dehydration). It is considered that this type of vegetation mixes characteristics of the humid and dry tropical world.

  1. Typical mediterranean climate

Identified with the symbol Csa in classification of the climates of Köppen, presents average temperatures around 22 ° C with hot summers and mild but rainy winters. In general the hot seasons are dry and the cold rainy.

It is the climate that predominates in the Mediterranean basin (except the African coast of Tunisia, Libya and Egypt) and has certain changes in terms of rainfall in the Spanish region of the Castilian plateau, which usually has drier winters and particularly rainy autumns.

  1. Continentalized Mediterranean climate

This climate combines characteristics of the typical Mediterranean climate with those of the continental climate, since it is characteristic of regions in which the sea is not close.

Therefore, the air is much drier and the thermal amplitude is much higher, so the summers can be extremely hot and the winters are much colder, with frosts. It predominates in the interior of Spain, Italy, Chile, Cyprus, Turkey, Lebanon and Israel.

  1. Mediterranean climate with oceanic influence

Identified with the sign Csb , it occurs on the shores of the Mediterranean, being the only sea that has in its adjacencies an ocean (the Atlantic).

In this climate the summers are softer and drier and the winters are particularly rainy since it is influenced, as the name implies, by the humidity of the oceanic climate. It predominates in Portugal, Galicia, western Castile and, outside Europe, on the coast of California, Chile and areas of Perth and Adelaide in Australia.

  1. Dry Mediterranean climate

It is identified with the signs Bsh and Bsk and is a transition between the desert climate and the typical Mediterranean, which makes it much more arid throughout the year.

It can occur in combination with oceanic and continental geographies, so that its temperature conditions are variable and can be distinguished just like the Mediterranean climate: typical, continental and oceanic.

It can be found in the Spanish regions of Murcia, Alicante and Almeria, as well as in regions of Portugal, Gracia, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria, Libya, Jordan, Israel and also in Chile, Mexico and California.

  1. Agriculture in Mediterranean climate

The Mediterranean climate is characteristic of a region that is very profitable in agricultural terms and where irrigated agriculture predominates, which provides large fruit crops (oranges, lemons, apricots, peaches, plums, cherries, medlars) and vegetables (potatoes, aubergines , zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, carrots). However, rainfed agriculture also has a presence with olive, almond and carob trees.

  1. Importance of the Mediterranean region

The Mediterranean region is central to the development of Western culture, since it played a central role in the development of Greco-Roman antiquity and European empires, especially in relation to trade, agricultural development and navigation.

It is one of the European regions with the greatest cultural, social and ethnic exchange since ancient times.


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