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Geografhic features

- features of the climate conditions in Međimurje

GEOGRAPHIC FEATURES

Međimurje is situated at the line of contact of two large morphologic units of this part of Europe: The East Alps region and thE Pannonian Plain. It geographically belongs to the bordering zone of the Southwest Peripannonian area and it is as well the integral part of the area. As to its natural and geographic features, there are two clearly distinctive microregional units in Međimurje, namely the hilly Upper and plain Lower Međimurje. Upper Međimurje features low hill characteristics and the peaks do not exceeed 350 metres above the sea-level (peaks Mohokos 344.5 m, Robadje 339 m, Sveti Juraj na Bregu 320 m and other). This part is a continuation of somewhat higher Slovenske gorice (Slovenia). Lower Međimurje features plain-type relief mildly sloping toward the East, i.e. towards the direction of the flow of the main rivers (Nedelišće – West point- 171 m ASL, Kotoriba – East point- 136 m ASL). The area of Međimurje is a product of the joint influences by the Drava and the Mura rivers, i.e. a beautiful and rare example of common terraces and alluvium of (the) two rivers.This is why the majority of the area is covered with woods, meadows, pastures or ploughland of a lower agrarian value.

 

-  The general climate features are determined with the fact that Međimurje belongs to a wider climate region, the Pannonnian plain, which is shown through hot summers and cold winters. The average yearly air temperature amounts around 10°C. The warm part of the year, in which the average temperature is higher than the yearly average temperature, lasts from mid-April to mid-October  and matches the vegetation period. The hottest month is July with the average monthly air temperature of 19°C whereas the coldest month is January with the average monthly air temperature of –1°C. The yearly precipitation fluctuation is of the continental type and reaches its maximum in the warm part of the year (april through September) and its secondary maximum late in autumn. There are no draught periods. The total annual precipitation amounts around 900 mm. In the course of a year, there is a snow cover for 45 to 50 days (from October to May). On average, it could be expected that there is more than 10 cm of snow in the course of 21 to 28 days.This area is relatively abundant of humidity. The average monthly values of humidity in the air is over 70 %. As to the yearly fluctuation, the minimal humidity occurs in April (69-74%) and the maximal in November or December (85-86%). As to the annual cloudy/clear days distribution, the maximum of cloudy days is reached in December whereas the minimum of cloudy days is reached in July and August. There are 55 to 60 clear days and a double as much cloudy days per year. the clear days are most frequent in summer, when there are 8 to 9 clear days per month whereas in the November-February period there are almost no clear days. In December and January, half of days in the month are cloudy. The area of Međimurje falls into the group of mid-insolated areas in Croatia with some 2000 hours of sunshine per year. The longest sunny period is in July (approx. 9 hours a day) and the shortest in December (approx. 2 hours a day).

In the area of county of Međimurje, there are averagely 40 to 60 days with fog, out of which 10 days with fog occur in January whereas the fog occurs rarely or does not occur at all in the summer months. White frost occurs from September to May and the most dangerous occurrence of white frost is the vegetation period. Hail occurs once a year on average with the highest probability of occurrence falls in the period from May to July.

For the last few years, certain climate changes that are not temporary ones have been observed and research will give somewhat changed parametres for the whole county.

Soil types

There are the following soil types in the area of Međimurje:

-           clayish soil on the limestone base – the hilly part,

-           clay- under the hilly part and along the Mura river,

-           peat and mud- LowerMedimurje along the Mura river

-           gravel soil – along the line Gornji Hrašcan- Donji Hrašcan,

-           mould and clay – the central plateau,

-          sands and gravel – along the Drava.

In accordance with an analysis, it can be seen that the majority of the soil in Upper Međimurje belongs to podsoles of various degree of podsoling of several eroded soils whose basic matter consists of clayish marls, sands and sandstone. The soils were made by devastation of woods at the steeper slopes of higher hills and the soils are used for growing agricultural/wine and fruit-growing cultures. The highest positions of Upper Međimurje (above 260 m) feature mineral/carbonate soil (brown/yellowish-gray). This type of soil generated through the surface erosion of lime marl containing clay. This soil features a high potential fertility but the fertility has been deteriorated through washing off the nutritious herbal components caused by abrupt drain of waters along the steep slopes. These types of soils are used for vineyards so the battle against erosion is thus as well important here. In Lower Međimurje, around the Trnava river mostly, the older alluvial-swampy soils developed and their base is silicate pebble. These types of soil are the most infertile of all the soils in Međimurje and they are thus used as natural meadows and pastures. As the bed of the Drava river moved from the North to the South, the layers of  pebbles and sand remained and the layers of clay and sand-clay precipitated over them. These soils are mostly cultivated (corn, cereals etc.) whereas the lower parts have been intended for meadows and the shallow soil stretches (pebbles are close to surface) have been intended for pastures. At the sites where these soils are deep and clayish, fertiity is considerable and the sites can be considered the most fertile in Međimurje.

In the eastern part of Lower Međimurje, a little off the flows of the Drava and the Mura, the alluvial-swampy clay soils developed on the newer sediments of the Mura. These soils contain a high degree of humus  and their potential fertility is relatively high so the vast majority of them is cultivated and the rest are natural meadows. Along the Mura river, the alluvial  swampy/clayish soils developed and they are used as ploughland rather than natural meadows and pastures.

Vegetation

The dense population and relatively easy access to the forests resulted in a drastic decrease of forested areas and a significant deterioration in the remaining forested areas. The two different parts of Međimurje as to the relief feature as well the two basic different types of forest vegetation. The most important forest community is the common oak forest that combines with ash, alder and poplar in moist areas and with hornbeam, cherry and common maple in drier areas. There are as well white and black alder forests (along the Drava mostly) and willow and poplar forests that are mostly bush-like today.  As to Upper Međimurje, the main forest communities are sessile oak and hornbeam forests, sessile oak and common hornbeam forests,  sessile oak and chestnut forests, beech forests and most interesting of all, scots pine forests. The sessile oak and hornbeam forests have mostly been cleared as they were extremely appropriate for building settlements and spreading of agricultural areas (ploughland, meadows, pastures, vineyards, orchards). This type of forest community has survived in some sites but it is so deteriorated that it is hardly recognizable. The sessile oak and chestnut forests were similarly affected by man.

Besides forests, there are as well meadow, swamp and water communities of some sorts of bush and low plants.

Space

- its natural features and resources make the basis and motivation for every human activity and the peculiarities of its natural characteristics reflects in the peculiarities of the economic development. The natural features, populated units and individual objects shape up the cultural and natural heritage of the area. A continuous settling and human activities in the course of centuries have changed the natural image of Međimurje. Forest and swamp areas have beeen turned into ploughlands and inhabited areas. The result of the process is that Međimurje is so densely populated that it makes it one of the the top areas in Croatia as to the density of population.


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