What Makes the Sacramento Area a Mediterranean Climate?

| September 1, 2019 @ 8:30 am
What Makes the Sacramento Area a Mediterranean Climate?

    Hot, blazing, pan-fried summers with little to no humidity and nothing in the way of rain. Mild and cool, occasionally cold, winters with about an average of no more than twenty inches of rain, the majority falling in January- these conditions are what define the Sacramento climate and make it so amicable to agriculture. Though, for anyone native to or having lived within the area long enough, they may have come across someone, perhaps the local news meteorologist describe the climate as that of “Mediterranean.” Yet, the mediterranean normally conjures up ideas of coastal areas such as that of Greece or perhaps southern Italy, Malta or southern Spain, not the valley-centric agricultural hub that is Sacramento. So, just how does Sacramento come to be named as a Mediterranean climate?

    The very definition of a Mediterranean Climate is a climate that produces relatively warm and wet winters followed by a long, hot and very dry summer with no precipitation. Winds in these types of climates are called “westerlies” as they find origin to the west. Any area with this sort of climate sits coastally, or relatively close to the coast and can be geographically pinpointed to about forty degrees latitude. Sitting just above the thirty degrees latitude line where the majority of the world’s deserts sit, and just below the sixty degree line where the subarctic region exists, one might easily see why the Mediterranean climate experiences extremely hot and dry summers and cool, wet winters.

    Vegetation throughout Mediterranean climates are often scrubby and small, and typically very drought tolerant. Flora all throughout the expanse of this climate zone must be able to endure the natural drought that summer brings, and to tolerate the deluge of rains in midwinter. Some deciduous trees such as oaks may be found, especially towards hills, though evergreens are found here as well such as that of Pine. Agricultural crops such as citrus, grapes, and olives flourish throughout the region and as a result, often define local cuisine.

    For those native to Sacramento, it may now be more easily recognizable that the capital does, in fact, exist within a Mediterranean climate. From the large crops of grapes produced and wine made, olives grown and their oil processed and sold all throughout the Sacramento region, to the Valley and Blue Oaks that dot the landscape, the land itself emanates the Mediterranean. With its ripping hot, frying-pan summers and mild, humid winters, the climate is a twin to that of Greece and the surrounding areas, the only difference being that of physical location.

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© 2019 Weather Forecaster Alexis Clouser

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