Chapters :
  • Precipitation – 02
  • DISTRIBUTION

  • MEDITERRANEAN CLIMATE
  • A DRY, WARM SUMMER WITH OFF-SHORE TRADES

  • RAINFALL IN WINTER WITH ON-SHORE WESTERLIES
  • LOCAL WINDS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN CLIMATE

  • SIROCCO
  • MISTRAL

  • NATURAL VEGETATION IN THE MEDITERRANEAN CLIMATE

Precipitation – 02

Mediterranean Climate or Warm Temperate Western Margin Climate or Warm Temperate West Coast Climate DISTRIBUTION
  • Entirely confined to the western portion of continental masses, between 30° and 45° north and south of the equator.
  • The basic cause of this type of climate is the shifting of the wind belts.
  • Mediterranean Sea has the greatest extent of this type of ‘winter rain climate’, and gives rise to the name Mediterranean Climate.
  • The best developed form of this climatic type is found in central Chile.
  • Other Mediterranean regions include
  1. California (around San Francisco),
  2. the south-western tip of Africa (around Cape Town),
  3. southern Australia, and south-west Australia (Swanland).
MEDITERRANEAN CLIMATE Clear skies and high temperatures; hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters.
  • Mean annual precipitation ranges from 35 – 90 cm.
  • Temperature of warmest month greater than or equal to 10 C.
  • Temperature of coldest month is less than 18 C but greater than –3 C
  • Climate is not extreme because of cooling from water bodies.
A DRY, WARM SUMMER WITH OFF-SHORE TRADES
  • In summer when the sun is overhead at the Tropic of Cancer, the belt of influence of the Westerlies is shifted a little pole wards. Rain bearing winds are therefore not likely to reach the Mediterranean lands.
  • The prevailing Trade Winds [tropical easterlies] are off-shore and there is practically no rain.
  • Strong winds from inland desert regions pose the risk of wildfires.
RAINFALL IN WINTER WITH ON-SHORE WESTERLIES
  • The Mediterranean lands receive most of their precipitation in winter when the Westerlies shift equator wards.
  • In the northern hemisphere, the prevailing on-shore Westerlies bring much cyclonic rain from the Atlantic (Typical to Mediterranean Climate).
  • The rain comes in heavy showers and only on a few days with bright sunny periods between them. This is another characteristic feature of the Mediterranean winter rain.
  • Though the downpours are infrequent they are often very torrential and in mountainous districts, destructive floods occur.
LOCAL WINDS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN CLIMATE
  • Many local winds, some hot, others cold are common around the Mediterranean Sea.
SIROCCO
  • This is a hot, dry dusty wind which originates in the Sahara Desert.
  • It is most frequent in spring and normally lasts for only a few days.
  • The Sirocco blows outwards in a southerly direction (south to north) from the desert interiors into the cooler Mediterranean Sea.
  • After crossing the Mediterranean Sea, the Sirocco is slightly cooled by the absorption of the water vapour.
  • Its scorching heat withers [To dry up or shrivel from loss of moisture] vegetation and crops.
  • This may be ‘Blood Rain’ because the wind is carrying the red dust of the Sahara Desert.
MISTRAL
  • Mistral is a cold wind from the north, rushing down the Rhone valley in violent gusts between 40 and 80 miles per hour.
  • The velocity of the Mistral is intensified by the funneling effect in the valley between the Alps and the Central Massif [Plateau in France].
  • A similar type of cold north-easterly wind experienced along the Adriatic coast is called the Bora.
  • Tramontane and Gregale are similar cold winds of the Mediterranean Sea.
NATURAL VEGETATION IN THE MEDITERRANEAN CLIMATE
  • Trees with small broad leaves are widely spaced and never very tall.
  • The absence of shade is a distinct feature of Mediterranean lands.
  • Plants are in a continuous struggle against heat, dry air, excessive evaporation and prolonged droughts. They are, in short xerophytic [drought tolerant], a word used to describe the drought-resistant plants in an environment deficient in moisture.
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