Ranean climate and ecosystem

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  • Publicado : 9 de enero de 2012
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Description and Explanation of the climate in the region

The Mediterranean Climate is found today in five distinct areas on the western edges of continents between the 30° and 40° parallels in both northern and southern hemispheres. The climate zone is found around the Mediterranean Basin in Europe and the Middle East, California, central coastal Chile, Western Cape of South Africa,and the South West Botanical Province in Western Australia.[2] [3]
The Mediterranean climate is characterized by its warm to hot summers and mild to cool winters.[4]
Regions experiencing this climate experience subtropical anticyclones in the summer and come under the major influence of strong cyclonic activity in winter. In most of the Mediterranean the mean monthly temperature is 20°–25°C insummer and 5°–12°C in winter. Whilst the annual precipitation is usually 400–600 mm , with the minimum occurring in summer, a time of drought. This last changes significantly in quantity from place to place and is almost completely narrowed to the winter months. [5]
This confinement of precipitation to the season of winter is what mainly differentiates the Mediterranean climate from nearly allother climates occurring now a day.
Depending on the location, the dry season can last from 2 to 8 months longer. The amount of rainfall varies from region to region, from an average of less than 10 inches to over 50 inches. The irregularity of the rainfall can vary considerably from year to year and plants must be able to handle the different drought years and periods of excessive rainfall. [6] [7][pic][8]
How can Flora and Fauna have adapted to the environment?

Human activity, together with frequent fires, has left very little of any original climatic climax vegetation of the Mediterranean Ecosystem. The climax vegetation, in fact, was believed to have been open woodland containing a mixture of broad-leaved, evergreen trees and conifers.
Mediterranean climate regions only coverthe 2.25 percent of the Earth’s land surface, however, they contain approximately the 20 percent of all known plant species. The present, typical vegetation of the main regions of all Mediterranean climate areas mostly consists of short shrubs, which include evergreen shrubs and most transitory forms of shrub. Except on the most fertile soils, the trees typically possess hard and rich leaves thatwill burn easily in the hot, dry summers (sclerophyllous). [9] [10]
There are forms of adaptation occurring in many cases in the Mediterranean ecosystem; the yucca rosette, for example, has a shape that protects the growth in the internal of the bulbs from ruin except from exceedingly hot fires. Moreover, another adaptation of the flora is that the pinecone resin, which layers the closed-conepines, melts allowing consequently the cones to open and spread their seeds. Another form of adaptation is seen in the leaves of thyme, oregano, and rosemary, which are small and leathery in order to maintain the moisture in the leaves. [11] Generally, leaves and branches are hairy to trap moisture from fog and rain, and to protect them from the extreme heat and fight water loss during the scarcityconditions of the dry summer months. [12] [13]
The Mediterranean fauna also develops some forms of adaptations, as, like the desert, the majority of the animals are small and/or nocturnal. This is because larger animals cannot stand the heat of the day in most of the Mediterranean Climate Locations. [14]
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Examine any issues to do with the inter relationship of human activityand the ecosystem

Climate shows possible signs of change

There is increasing evidence that the climate is changing on global scale, and that the human impact on this issue is evident. The natural inconsistency of the Mediterranean climate makes both the recognition of climate change and attribution of its cause very difficult, but, however, there are many present observations suggesting...
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