4
$\begingroup$

Generally speaking, the rainy season is in the summer in tropical climates, and in the winter in mediterranean climates. (I admit that is a gross oversimplification) What is the cause for this difference?

Purely speculatively, it seems intuitive that hot weather would lead to higher humidity, which in turn would lead to more spontaneous rain clouds. This would obviously be maximized by summer weather.

But why is the rainy season in the winter in colder climates?

$\endgroup$
4
$\begingroup$

In the tropics, the main area of precipitation is the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Over the oceans and over many (but not all) land anreas the ITCZ follows the maximum of incoming solar radiation. In northern summer it is north of the equator, in northern winter (=southern summer) it is south of the equator.

In the mid latitiudes however, most of the precipitation is generated by rotating pressure systems and their asscoiated frontal systems. This low pressure belt is separated from the tropics by a high pressure belt, in which the atmosphere is more stable and convection/precipitation therefore hindered.

To answer the question, in northern summer the Mediterranean lies within the high pressure belt while in winter the low pressure influence is able to reach the Mediterranean with its fronts and rainfall. This mechanism also works for many other mid-latitude regions of the world. This is a very short answer to a complex question. There is a lot of literature about the basics of meteorology and climatology. I am sure, Wikipedia has something to say about "ITCZ" and "mid-latitudes".

$\endgroup$

protected by David Z Oct 23 '17 at 18:56

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.