Mediterranean climate resembles the climate of those territories that are situated near the Mediterranean Sea. Areas, representatives of the Mediterranean climate are concentrated between about 30° and 45° latitude on the western sides of the continents. These five Mediterranean temperatures areas include much of California and small parts of the adjacent Pacific Northwest, Western Cape in South Africa, central Chile, Western Australia, and of course the Mediterranean Basin itself which doesn't fit in 30° and 45° latitude and situated northerly. The 'Mediterranean effect' originates from the east-west mountain ranges which lie to its north, and forming the specific shelter extending.
Mediterranean climate shows the unusual combination of hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Such an effect can be explained with the influence of the air masses. Extremely dry summers are caused by the sinking air of the subtropical highs and may last for up to five months. When the anticyclone moves toward the equator in winter, it is replaced by traveling, frontal cyclones with their attendant precipitation.
Mediterranean temperatures are moderated by nearby large bodies of water making for comfortable conditions throughout most of the year. Temperatures around the Mediterranean coast are higher than the dry summer subtropical climates. No monthly temperature falls below 0oC and has at least 3 months that average above 10o C. Temperatures during winter rarely reach freezing (except in areas with a high elevation), and snow is almost unheard of. Frost-related danger does occur during the winter when Continental Polar air masses penetrate the region.
In the summer, the temperatures, while warm, don't reach the high levels of inland desert areas. The average temperature for most lowland locations having this climate is about 27°C in summer. The stable atmosphere creates cloudless conditions giving the Mediterranean climate many days of sunshine.
The cloudless conditions cause significant heat gain and loss over the course of the day. As a result, summer in the areas with Mediterranean climate is rather hot, but the cloudless skies during summer, however, increase the absorption of insulation by the polluted atmosphere of many large urban centers in places like southern California causing problems of photochemical smog.
Of course, there are some peculiarities concerning Mediterranean temperatures and climate. The northernmost Mediterranean climate is in the vicinity of Victoria, British Columbia. Mediterranean temperatures there average about 4°C in winter and 16°C in summer. Inland locations sheltered from or distant from sea breezes can experience severe heat during the summer.
Locations inside the Sacramento Valley of northern California, for example, are subject to summer temperatures characteristic of hot deserts (often around 38°C), although winters are rainy enough to allow lush vegetation. Areas of high altitude adjacent to locations with Mediterranean climates may have the cold winters that are characteristic of a continental climate. Some coastal locations (for instance, southern California in the western United States) exhibit relatively cool summer conditions and frequent fogs where cold offshore currents prevail.
Many plants have adapted themselves to the demands of Mediterranean temperatures of desert-like summers and cool rainy winters. The obvious example of such adaptation can be the olive tree which is a distinctive feature of the landscape. Its tough leaves and thick bark help it cope with the excessive heat and dryness of the summer months. It is also in Mediterranean climates that much of the world's Citrus is grown. Sclerophyll plants range in formations from forests, to woodland, and scrub. Eucalyptus forests cover most of the chaparral biome in Australia.