Legend has it that 110 years ago when Jayce’s family was living in Cabra, Spain (Andalusia,) word came back from recent expats that they had moved to San Francisco, California and the weather was exactly like home in Spain. This always felt like a convenient family legend until we learned that the climate in the SF Bay Area is exactly the same and known as “Mediterranean Scrub.”
The Mediterranean Scrub climate, also known as the Mediterranean climate, is a distinctive climate type characterized by mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers. While the San Francisco Bay Area is not typically thought of as having a Mediterranean climate, it does experience some Mediterranean characteristics due to its proximity to the coast and the influence of ocean currents. Here are five facts about the Mediterranean Scrub climate in the San Francisco Bay Area, along with weather and temperature averages:
- Weather and Temperature Averages: The San Francisco Bay Area experiences mild and relatively consistent temperatures throughout the year. The average high temperature ranges from 57°F (14°C) in winter to 73°F (23°C) in summer, with the average low temperature ranging from 46°F (8°C) in winter to 55°F (13°C) in summer.
- Dry Summers: One characteristic of the Mediterranean Scrub climate is the presence of dry summers. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the summer months from June to September tend to be rain-free, with minimal precipitation. This period is marked by warm and sunny weather, making it a popular time for outdoor activities.
- Rainy Winters: The Mediterranean Scrub climate is known for its wet winters, and the San Francisco Bay Area follows this pattern to some extent. The region receives the majority of its annual rainfall between November and March. Winter months often experience cooler temperatures, occasional storms, and the possibility of heavy precipitation.
- Influence of Ocean Currents: The San Francisco Bay Area’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean plays a significant role in shaping its climate. The cool California Current flowing southward along the coast helps moderate temperatures, preventing extremes and contributing to the overall mildness of the region’s climate.
- Coastal Fog: Another characteristic of the Mediterranean Scrub climate in the San Francisco Bay Area is the occurrence of coastal fog. During the summer months, cool marine air from the ocean can push inland, leading to foggy conditions, particularly along the immediate coastline. This fog often burns off by mid-morning, giving way to clear skies and sunshine.
A little known, but much loved feature is a late long summer in September-October. School-age children enjoy a bittersweet end of summer week of glorious weather just in time to head back to school. If you happen to live in Burlingame, this is punctuated by the smell of brownies and cookies wafting through the air from the nearby Guittard and It’s-It factories. More on that later.
While the San Francisco Bay Area doesn’t possess a strictly Mediterranean climate, it exhibits some key features of the Mediterranean Scrub climate due to its unique geographical location and coastal influence. The mild and consistent temperatures, dry summers, rainy winters, and occasional coastal fog contribute to the overall character and appeal of the region’s climate. These conditions make the Bay Area an attractive destination for outdoor enthusiasts and those who appreciate a temperate, Mediterranean-like climate.