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Mediterranean Weather



BY John Lindsey

Printed in The Tribune

San Luis Obispo, Calif   June 13, 2009  Sanluisobispo.com


John Lindsey is a communication representative and meteorologist for Pacific Gas and Electric. Co. in San Luis Obispo, Ca 

Email:  pgeweather@pge.com


“In my opinion, we’ve got the best weather in the world. And I’m not alone in my thinking. Locals will tell you that few places on Earth have a more pleasant climate — enjoyed by residents and visitors and a major factor in why agriculture is such an integral part of our local economy. Our climate is classified as Mediterranean, meaning the annual rainfall pattern includes a dry summer and wet winter. Other areas of the world that have a Mediterranean climate are central Chile, southwestern Australia, southwestern South Africa and, of course, the Mediterranean basin (Spain, Mallorca Islands, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Israel). These areas all have a large body of water nearby and are near 35 degrees of latitude. Along the East Coast, the predominant weather feature during the summer is the Bermuda High — a semi-permanent area of high pressure over the Atlantic Ocean near the Bermuda Islands. The clockwise circulation around this high brings warm, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea and produces the three H’s — heat, humidity and haze. Often, the southeastern part of our country gets little or no relief from the hot and humid conditions. Think of a crowded train station in Atlanta when it’s 90 degrees with humidity over 80 percent. I’d much rather take a walk along one our Central Coast beaches any day. Along the West Coast, the predominant weather feature is the Eastern Pacific High — an area of high pressure over the northeastern Pacific Ocean. The clockwise circulation around this high brings cooler and relatively drier air from the Gulf of Alaska and produces the weather conditions we appreciate along the Central Coast. The Eastern Pacific High shifts northward during the summer, keeping the storm track far to the north. It shifts southward during the winter, allowing storms to reach our area. As the air travels over the cold water of the California current, it is chilled from underneath and produces a temperature inversion layer and often fog. That leads to what is referred to as “June gloom.” During the summer months, weak transitory systems rarely produce any rainfall but do mix out the marine layer. In addition, hot weather can develop along our coastline when high pressure develops inland and produces northeasterly — or as surfers so lovingly refer to them, offshore — winds. Next week, I’ll discuss what we have in store for the summer months, as the first official day of summer quickly approaches….”

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