The Mediterranean climate is a special type of climate that describes a regime of hot summer drought and winter rain in the mid-latitudes, north of the subtropical climate zone. This climate occurs most noticeably in the regions around the Mediterranean, from where the climate gets its name, but also in coastal areas of California, South Africa and southern parts of Australia.
In summer, the high pressure belts of the subtropics drift northwards in the Northern Hemisphere (during May to August), southwards in the Southern Hemisphere (during November to February). They are coincident with substantially higher temperatures and little rainfall. During the winter, the high-pressure belts drift back towards the equator, and the weather becomes more dominated by the rain-bearing low-pressure depressions. Whilst usually mild, such areas can experience cold snaps when exposed to the icy winds of the large continental interiors, where temperatures can drop to -40°C in the extreme continental climates.