Mediterranean Sailing, Cruising top

Mediterranean Sea. Climate.

Air flow into the Mediterranean Sea is through gaps in the mountain ranges, except over the southern shores east of Tunisia. Strong winds funneled through the gaps lead to the high evaporation rates of summer and the seasonal water deficit of the sea. The mistral, a cold, dry, northwesterly wind, passes through the Alps-Pyrenees gap and the lower Rhone valley; the strong northeasterly bora passes through the Trieste gap; and the cold easterly levanter and the westerly vendaval pass through the Strait of Gibraltar. Hot, dry, southeasterly winds--known locally as the sirocco, ghibli (gibleh), or khamsin--frequently blow into the Mediterranean basin from the Sahara and the Arabian Peninsula as low-pressure centres traverse the sea in late winter and early spring. These winds reduce heat and moisture in the surface waters to a significant degree by evaporative cooling; and this colder, denser surface water sinks. Atmospheric conditions over the Mediterranean also increase the salinity of incoming Atlantic water because of the evaporation of surface waters.

Mediterranean climate is confined to coastal zones and is characterized by windy, mild, wet winters and relatively calm, hot, dry summers. Spring, however, is a transitional season and is changeable. Autumn is relatively short.

The amount and distribution of rainfall in Mediterranean localities is variable and unpredictable. Along the North African coast from Qabis (Gabes) in Tunisia to Egypt, more than 10 inches (250 millimetres) of rainfall per year is rare, whereas on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia there are places that receive 100 inches. Maximum precipitation is found in mountainous coastal areas.

Mediterranean Marinas     Mediterranean Sailing

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