Table of Contents
Mediterranean Climate or Warm Temperate Western Margin Climate or Warm Temperate West Coast Climate
- 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
- California (around San Francisco),
- the south-western tip of Africa (around Cape Town),
- southern Australia, and south-west Australia (Swanland).
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 10⁰ C.
- Temperature of coldest month is less than 18⁰ C but greater than –3⁰ 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.
- 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 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.
Mediterranean evergreen forests
- These are open woodlands with evergreen oaks.
- They are found only in the climatically most favored regions.
- The trees are normally low, even stunted, with massive trunks, small leathery leaves and a wide-spreading root system in search of water.
- The cork oaks are specially valued for their thick barks, used for making wine-bottle corks and for export around the world.
- In Australia, the eucalyptus forests replace the evergreen oak.
- The giant redwood is typical of the Californian trees.
Evergreen coniferous trees
- These include the various kinds of pines, firs, cedars and cypresses which have evergreen, needle-shaped leaves and tall, straight trunks.
Mediterranean bushes and shrubs
- This is perhaps the most predominant type of Mediterranean vegetation.
- Conditions in the Mediterranean do not suit grass, because most of the rain comes in the cool season when growth is slow.
- Even if grasses do survive, they are so wiry [lean, tough] and bunchy that they are not suitable for animal farming.
- Cattle rearing is thus unimportant in the Mediterranean.
Agriculture in the Mediterranean Climate
- The Mediterranean lands are also known as the world’s orchard lands.
- A wide range of citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, citrons and grapefruit are grown.
- The fruit trees have long roots to draw water from considerable depths during the long summer drought.
- The thick, leathery skin of the citrus fruits prevents excessive transpiration.
- The long, sunny summer enables the fruits to be ripened and harvested.
- The Mediterranean lands account for 70 per cent of the world’s exports of citrus fruits.
- The olive tree is probably the most typical of all Mediterranean cultivated vegetation.
- Olive oil extracted is a valuable source of cooking oil in a region deficient in animal fat.
- Besides olives, many nut trees like chestnuts, walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds are grown and the nuts picked as fruits or for the chocolate industry.
Crop cultivation and sheep rearing
- Wheat is the leading food crop. Barley is the next most popular cereal.
- The mountain pastures, with their cooler climate, support a few sheep, goats and sometimes cattle.
- Transhumance is widely practiced (moving up and down the hills in search of pastures according to seasons).
- Viticulture is by tradition a Mediterranean occupation.
- Regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea account for three-quarters of the world’s production of wine.
- Some 85 per cent of grapes produced, go into wine.
- The long, sunny summer allows the grapes to ripen.
Net exporter of citric fruits and net importer of dairy products.
- Clear skies in summer and good landscapes encourage tourism [Lot of Indian Songs are shot here].
- European Mediterranean has many ancient cities and are famous for their health and pleasure resorts, frequented by millions all-round the year.
Give an explanatory account of the following statements about economic activities of the Mediterranean lands.
- Orchard farming is the predominant occupation.
- The chief cereal cultivated is hard, winter wheat.
- Pastoral farming is of little importance.
Write geographical notes on any three of the following.
- The Mediterranean Climate is typified by dry, sunny summers and wet, mild winters.
- Hot, dusty Sirocco and cold stormy Mistral.
- Mediterranean woodlands, shrubs and scrub.
- Three-quarters of the world’s wine comes from the Mediterranean regions of Europe.
A geographic region has the following distinct characteristics: 
- Warm and dry climate
- Mild and wet winter
- Evergreen Oak trees
The above features are distinct characteristics of which one of the following regions?
(b) Eastern China
(c) Central Asia
(d) Atlantic coast of North America