Image of the day: Mediterranean climate zones

Posted on | November 17, 2009 | 1 Comment

Cloud patterns reveal Mediterranean climate zones. Source: NASA

THIS image of the day from NASA’s Earth Observatory takes composite pictures of global cloud cover for the month of October 2009 to examine what cloud presence alone says about the land below.

According to NASA, the starkest examples are in areas where dry land is bordered by ocean. Sure enough, peeping out from beneath the clouds are the world’s five mediterranean climate zones, which in addition to California include part of the Chilean coast into western Argentina, southwestern Australia, the Mediterranean basin and southwestern South Africa.

Mediterranean climate zones have unique floras adapted to surviving on winter rains then hunkering down into dormancy during prolonged dry seasons. For Californians, who for the last century have grown wet-climate plants such as turf grass with imported water, a switch to native and mediterranean climate zone plants is seen as an essential step as global warming and population growth threaten the planet’s fresh water supply.

For more information on gardening with plants from these zones, some good sources are: The California Native Plant Society, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, the Theodore Payne Foundation, the Mediterranean Garden Society and Pacific Horticulture. Two good books to get gardeners started are: California Native Plants for the Garden by Bart O’Brien, Carol Bornstein and David Fross and The Dry Gardening Handbook: Plants and Practices for a Changing Climate by Olivier Filippi.

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One Response to “Image of the day: Mediterranean climate zones”

  1. The Dry Garden: Native mallows | Chance of Rain
    January 23rd, 2010 @ 10:53 am

    […] tolerating situations as diverse as the high climes of the Andes, hot and dry Palm Desert and the mediterranean climate of coastal […]

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