The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant. The sea is sometimes considered a part of the Atlantic Ocean, although it is usually identified as a completely separate body of water.
The name Mediterranean is derived from the Latin mediterraneus, meaning "inland" or "in the middle of the land" (from medius, "middle" and terra, "land"). It covers an approximate area of 2.5 million km² (965,000 sq mi), but its connection to the Atlantic (the Strait of Gibraltar) is only 14 km (8.7 mi) wide. In oceanography, it is sometimes called the Eurafrican Mediterranean Sea or the European Mediterranean Sea to distinguish it from mediterranean seas elsewhere.
The Mediterranean Sea has an average depth of 1,500 m (4,900 ft) and the deepest recorded point is 5,267 m (17,280 ft) in the Calypso Deep in the Ionian Sea.
It was an important route for merchants and travelers of ancient times that allowed for trade and cultural exchange between emergent peoples of the region. The history of the Mediterranean region is crucial to understanding the origins and development of many modern societies. "For the three quarters of the globe, the Mediterranean Sea is similarly the uniting element and the centre of World History."
The subtropics are geographic and climate zones located roughly between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn and the 35th parallel in both hemispheres. Subtropical climate regimes can exist at high elevations within the tropics, such as across the Mexican Plateau and in Vietnam and Taiwan. Six climate classifications utilize the term to help define the various temperature and precipitation regimes for the planet Earth. Eight months of the year within the subtropics have an average temperature at or above 10 °C (50.0 °F), with their coldest month averaging between 6 and 13 °C (42.8 and 55.4 °F).
A great portion of the world's deserts are located within the subtropics, due to the development of the subtropical ridge. Within savanna regimes in the subtropics, a wet season is seen annually during the summer, which is when most of the yearly rainfall falls. Within Mediterranean climate regime, the wet season occurs during the winter. Areas bordering warm oceans are prone to locally heavy rainfall from tropical cyclones, which can contribute a significant percentage of the annual rainfall. Plants such as date palms, citrus, mango, litchi, and avocado are grown within the subtropics. Tree ferns and sequoia also grow within subtropical climate regimes.