Mediterranean Climate: Countries, Characteristics, Mediterranean Type of Climate

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Mediterranean Climate refers to the type of climate known to have mild wet winters and warm to hot, dry summers. Mediterranean type of climate is found mostly on the western margins of continents. The latitude of these places lies between 30° and 40°, and which are located close to the Mediterranean Sea. Mediterranean climate is an important type of climatic classification. Not only is it pertinent to the earth’s geography, but it also impacts climatic changes across the globe.

Aspirants preparing for the UPSC exam must know about Mediterranean Climate and its various characteristics. It is a popular topic in Geography from which questions are often asked in both Prelims and Mains exams. Aspirants can read this article to check out Mediterranean Climate UPSC notes which will help them gain a better understanding of the topics.

Mediterranean Climate

Mediterranean Climate is also known as the Warm Temperate Western Margin. It is one of the many types of climates mentioned in the Koppen classification. It is known for its mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers. The etymology associated with the name originated from the regions located in Mediterranean Basin. Mediterranean climate is known for its unique biodiversity. 70% of citrus fruits produced in the world are found in regions with a Mediterranean type of climate, which is why it is also given the name garden of the world.’

In the regions with a Mediterranean climate, a variety of local winds blows. These may range from extremely hot to chilly as well. Sirocco and Mistral are two types of winds that are common in these regions. The seasons in the Mediterranean climate can differ greatly based on geographical conditions. These changes are based on the latitudinal location. As the Mediterranean type of climate is best known to exist in the western margins, it has a great significance due to which understanding it becomes essential.

Mediterranean Type of Climate

The climatic conditions of the Mediterranean can vary from hot to cold. Due to this, understanding what a Mediterranean type of climate is can get quite confusing. To simplify the exact type of Mediterranean climate, we have mentioned its distinctions below.

  • A dry, warm summer with off-shore trades:
    • The relatively high temperature in summer.
    • Coastal regions have modified temperatures due to the influence of the sea.
    • No rain because Trade winds are off-shore.
    • Dry air, intense heat, and low relative humidity conditions prevail.
  • The concentration of rainfall in winter
    • Precipitation in winter is the most outstanding feature of the Mediterranean region.
    • Rain receives due to the shift of Westerlies equatorward in winter.
    • Prevailing on-shore Westerlies bring cyclonic rain in the northern hemisphere.
    • The mean annual rainfall is 25 inches.
    • Heavy showers and a few days with bright sunny periods between them are other characteristic features.
  • There is a prominence of local winds around the Mediterranean Sea.

Characteristics of Mediterranean Climate

One of the main characteristics of Mediterranean climate is the hot and dry summers and cool and humid winters. Apart from these obvious characteristics, there are various other aspects that can help you recognize the Mediterranean type of climate. The various characteristics of the Mediterranean climate are listed below.

  • This type of climate is prone to heavy rainfall.
  • The local winds commonly blown here are Mistral and Sirocco.
  • The Mediterranean climate is named after the Mediterranean Basin, which is the region it is most commonly found.
  • The climatic region is surrounded by the Mediterranean sea and is also hilly.
  • The geography of the Mediterranean climate is vast and ranges from mountains to beaches.
  • It is the ideal climate for the plantation of citrus fruits.

Mediterranean Climate Countries

Mediterranean type of climate is found mostly in the western margins of the world. The exact Mediterranean climate location is known to be between 30 and 45 degrees North and South of the equator. The Mediterranean basin is the major area where this type of climate is found.

This climate is best developed in Central Chile. Other Mediterranean climate countries include California (around San Francisco), the southwestern tip of Africa (around Cape Town), southern Australia (in southern Victoria and around Adelaide), and southwest Australia.

Mediterranean Climate Map

As already mentioned, the Mediterranean climate is found in the western margin between the latitude of 30 to 40 degrees south. To understand it better, the Mediterranean climate map is provided below. It will be helpful in understanding how the winds shift to create the weather which is characteristic of the Mediterranean type of climate.
Mediterranean Climate Map

Mediterranean Climate Temperature

Mediterranean climate temperature differs greatly based on the season. It is mostly moderate at most times of the year. In winter, the temperature can range between 30 and 65 degrees. On the other hand, in summer, the temperature can surpass 50 degrees.

The seasonal temperature of the Mediterranean climate is impacted greatly by the Mediterranean Sea as well. Additionally, ocean currents also have an impact and cause seasonal change. Due to these currents, the summers are dry. Similarly, during winters, there is often rain due to the water that is warmed during the summers.

Mediterranean Climate Biome

Mediterranean Climate biome is quite specific with its wildlife and vegetation. Known as one of the top biodiversity hotspots of the world, Mediterranean regions have diverse flora and fauna. The forests in these regions have mostly been the same since the last Ice Age. There are more than 100 species of trees that have been consistently growing and thriving in this climate. The major important points about the Mediterranean climate biome are mentioned below.

  • A lot of areas with a Mediterranean climate have grasslands. The climate, however, is not conducive to growing grass. Hence, most of this region may appear dry and barren.
  • Animals like the little bustards and the great bustards and birds like pin-tailed sandgrouse are commonly found in these grassland areas.
  • Regions that are near waterbodies are also home to various types of fish and aquatic animals, and birds.
  • There is also various type of incense and amphibians found in this region.
  • During migration season, dabbling ducks are also found in these regions.

Mediterranean Climate Vegetation

Mediterranean Climate vegetation is also quite diverse, with different types of forests found in it. The major type of vegetation that is found in the Mediterranean-type climate is provided below.

  • Evergreen forests are open woodlands with evergreen oaks. Cork oaks of Spain and Portugal are best known.
  • Common types of vegetation found in Evergreen forests include pine, eucalyptus, bay laurel, melaleuca, cypress, firs, cedars, grevillea, etc. Australia is especially known for its eucalyptus forests.
  • Californian trees are also grown in the Mediterranean climate, which includes giant sequoia or redwood.
  • The Fruit trees common in these regions include olives, figs, grapes, walnuts, etc.
  • Evergreen coniferous trees include pines, firs, cedars, and cypresses.
  • Short and evergreen shrubs and bushes are also common types of vegetation. Species laurel, myrtle, lavender, arbutus, etc., are present there.
  • Wiry and bunchy grasses without deep penetrating roots, generally not suitable for animal farming, are also trademark vegetation present in the Mediterranean climate.

Agriculture in Countries with Mediterranean Climate

Mediterranean climate is very conducive to the growth of citrus fruits. However, these are only some agricultural pursuits that are possible in those regions. There are also other types of agriculture that are popular in these regions, which are mentioned below.

  • Crop Cultivation is popular in the Mediterranean climate. Wheat is grown here in large areas, along with rice and other cereals. Some other crops cultivated here due to appropriate climatic conditions include barley which is then used to make various other food products.
  • Orchards are commonly found here. Mediterranean regions are also known as World’s Orchard’s Land as the citrus fruits like lemon, grapefruits, and limes can be easily grown here. Various types of nuts are also cultivated because of the conducive conditions.
  • Wine Cultivation is another popular agricultural pursuit here. As the land grows a good variety of grapes, a large amount of them is turned into wine. It is also a popular product exported from Mediterranean regions.

Mediterranean Climate in India

India is not part of the geographical coordinates where the Mediterranean climate is found. However, there are few locations in India where the Mediterranean type of climate is found. These regions are found in both north and south India.

Kashmir Valley is one such region. Along with it, the Kalpa region of Himachal Pradesh is also known to experience a Mediterranean type of climate. Another region that is one of the major Indian areas to experience this type of climate is Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu.

Mediterranean Climate UPSC

Mediterranean Climate is found in the western margins and is also known as the Warm Temperate Western Margin. As a major climatic class, it is an important topic in the IAS exam. Aspirants who are preparing for the same must refer to a few points regarding the Mediterranean climate which can be helpful during the UPSC exam.

  • Mediterranean type of climate is found between the north and south pole, between latitudes of 30° and 40°.
  • The name is derived from Mediterranean Basin situated near the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Mediterranean climate is known for its citrus fruits and wine.
  • The temperatures in this climate are moderate, with dry summers and humid winters.
  • There is a wide variety of vegetation found in these regions.
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