A Mediterranean climate has hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. This type of climate is also known as a subtropical summer-dry climate. Most of the rain in a Mediterranean climate falls during the winter. California is one of only five places in the world that has a Mediterranean climate. Mediterranean climates are located between 30 and 45 degrees latitude North and South and on the west coast of large land masses. This kind of climate can be found in California, around the Mediterranean Sea (including southern Europe and northern Africa), in the Cape Town area of South Africa, in central Chile, and in southwestern Australia.
California’s rainfall pattern is caused by an atmospheric high-pressure zone off the coast. High-pressure zones are areas of dense, stable air that block storms from hitting the coast. In summer, the high-pressure zone lies off the northern coast of California, sending the storms north of California and creating California’s summer-dry climate. In winter the pressure zone moves several hundred miles southward, allowing storms to approach California from the west.
Humid continental climates have warm summers, cold winters, and precipitation distributed evenly throughout the year. Snow is often a major component of this climate. The east coast of the United States experiences this type of climate. Continental climates are found at mid-latitudes and in the center of large landmasses. They can also be found in east central Europe, northern China, and northern Korea.