What is a Mediterranean climate?

Michael Mace mikemace@att.net
Fri, 05 Feb 2010 11:57:36 PST
Thanks for all the feedback on the Mediterranean climate maps!  I really
appreciate all the ideas and suggestions.


Several of you had trouble reading the maps.  This was my fault -- a
Windows-specific font slipped in there and I didn't notice.  I have now
changed the font and turned on font embedding, so the maps should be
readable by everyone who can read PDF files.  Unfortunately, the files are
also a bit bigger now, but unless you are on dialup access the download time
shouldn't be too bad (a few seconds at most).


If you continue to have trouble reading the maps, please clear your
browser's cache and then try again.  If you still have trouble after that,
please contact me privately and we'll figure out what's wrong.


By the way, thanks to Mary Sue for getting the larger files posted.  I
couldn't do it myself.


Some thoughts on your feedback (both on the list and some private notes I



>>The color scheme could be better.


I agree.  I ended up with a funky color scheme because I had to go back and
add more zones halfway through the project.  In version 2, I will change the
colors so they are more of a continuum.  That'll make it easier to get an
overall sense of the maps with just a glance.


That may take a couple of weeks, depending on how much free time I have.


Roger, I am really intrigued by the hue-saturation-lightness comment you
made.  If you have copies of that botanist's charts, I'd love to see them so
I can get a sense of what's possible.


The challenge in doing these maps is that in practical terms there are about
16-18 colors you can overlay on top of a grayscale map and still have them
be different enough that you can easily tell the difference.  Even now, the
light blue and light green in my map are difficult to tell apart.  So there
is a limit on how much info we can put into one map.



>>Let's add in some of the other regions that have a lot of bulbs but aren't
counted as Mediterranean -- for example, areas that have dry summers but
very cold winters.


I agree this needs to be done.  I started down that road, but it got to be
too much work for me at this time.


There are several bulb-rich climates that we really ought to eventually map:

                --Mediterranean-climate areas

                --"Steppe" climates (those are the ones that are dry in
summer but freeze solid every winter; home of a lot of tulips and other
beauties).  Central Asia, central Turkey, Great Basin in US...

                --Winter-drought areas (Mexico, parts of eastern South


If anyone wants to run with making maps of those other areas, please go for
it.  Contact me and I'd be glad to help.



>>Other Mediterranean-like areas to look at:  Hawaii, Argentina, Somalia,
Victoria state in Australia...


Will do in version 2.  Any more nominees?



>>Additional information to add to the maps:

                Volume of winter rainfall

                Soil type


                Indicator plants

                Soil moisture/transpiration

                Year to year variability in climate

                Maximum summer temperature

                All-time winter low temperature


I agree with all of those.


Average monthly soil moisture would be the ideal measure, in my opinion,
because it would tell us how much water was available to the local plants.
But I don't think that information is being collected worldwide in the
number of places we'd need.  If it is, it doesn't appear to be on the web.
Let me know if you find it!


Even with just winter temperature and summer rain I'm already running up
against the limits of what we can show on a single map (there just aren't
enough primary colors, darn it!).  I'm very open to ideas on how to include
more information on the maps -- please let me know.  The ideal thing would
be an electronic system that lets you overlay different climatic factors by
clicking on them.  THAT would be intensely cool, but I'm not competent to
write it.


I think the best approach is just to make more maps.  We'll have a climate
section on the wiki, so the more maps the better.  I have my hands full for
now just fixing what I've already done, but if anyone else wants to make
other maps, please go for it.  I would be happy to share the tools I used to
make the maps, and the actual map files.  Just drop me a note.



>>Do a climate wiki page.


I agree.



>>Would you really call Australia's climate mild?


I should stop using value-associated terms like "mild;" they do not mean the
same things to everyone.  All I was trying to say was that much of
California has deeper, longer droughts in summer and more frost in winter
when compared to the Mediterranean-climate parts of Australia and South


The frost thing we all knew; the drought thing is new to me and I'm still
trying to digest what it means to a gardener.  For example, if Australia
gets some summer rain but also intense heat, how does that affect the native
plants?  Does the heat just evaporate the water right out of the ground so
it's as if the rain never happened?



>>Broaden the discussion to include the Medit-plants list


Will do, after we get version 2 up.



Thanks again, everybody!



San Jose, CA





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