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Arid regions of the Western United States as mapped in 1893 1893 Arid regions of the western united states.jpg
Arid regions of the Western United States as mapped in 1893

A region is arid when it is characterized by a severe lack of available water, to the extent of hindering or preventing the growth and development of plant and animal life. Environments subject to arid climates tend to lack vegetation and are called xeric or desertic. Most "arid" climates straddle the Equator; these places include parts of Africa, South America, Central America, and Australia.

Morphogenesis is the biological process that causes an organism to develop its shape. It is one of three fundamental aspects of developmental biology along with the control of cell growth and cellular differentiation, unified in evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo).

Deserts and xeric shrublands biome defined by the World Wildlife Fund

Deserts and xeric shrublands are a habitat type defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature. Deserts and xeric shrublands form the largest terrestrial biome, covering 19% of Earth's land surface area.

Equator Intersection of a spheres surface with the plane perpendicular to the spheres axis of rotation and midway between the poles

An equator of a rotating spheroid is its zeroth circle of latitude (parallel). It is the imaginary line on the spheroid, equidistant from its poles, dividing it into northern and southern hemispheres. In other words, it is the intersection of the spheroid with the plane perpendicular to its axis of rotation and midway between its geographical poles.


Change over time

The distribution of aridity observed at any one point in time is largely the result of the general circulation of the atmosphere. The latter does change significantly over time through climate change. For example, temperature increase (by 1.5–2.1 percent) across the Nile Basin over the next 30–40 years could change the region from semi-arid to arid, resulting in a significant reduction in agricultural land. In addition, changes in land use can result in greater demands on soil water and induce a higher degree of aridity.

Atmosphere The layer of gases surrounding an astronomical body held by gravity

An atmosphere is a layer or a set of layers of gases surrounding a planet or other material body, that is held in place by the gravity of that body. An atmosphere is more likely to be retained if the gravity it is subject to is high and the temperature of the atmosphere is low.

Climate change Change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns for an extended period

Climate change occurs when changes in Earth's climate system result in new weather patterns that last for at least a few decades, and maybe for millions of years. The climate system is comprised of five interacting parts, the atmosphere (air), hydrosphere (water), cryosphere, biosphere, and lithosphere. The climate system receives nearly all of its energy from the sun, with a relatively tiny amount from earth's interior. The climate system also gives off energy to outer space. The balance of incoming and outgoing energy, and the passage of the energy through the climate system, determines Earth's energy budget. When the incoming energy is greater than the outgoing energy, earth's energy budget is positive and the climate system is warming. If more energy goes out, the energy budget is negative and earth experiences cooling.

Semi-arid climate climat with precipitation below potential evapotranspiration

A semi-arid climate or steppe climate is the climate of a region that receives precipitation below potential evapotranspiration, but not as low as a desert climate. There are different kinds of semi-arid climates, depending on variables such as temperature, and they give rise to different biomes.

See also

An aridity index (AI) is a numerical indicator of the degree of dryness of the climate at a given location. A number of aridity indices have been proposed ; these indicators serve to identify, locate or delimit regions that suffer from a deficit of available water, a condition that can severely affect the effective use of the land for such activities as agriculture or stock-farming.

Arid Forest Research Institute

Arid Forest Research Institute (AFRI) is a research institute situated in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India. The institute conducts scientific research in forestry in order to provide technologies to increase the vegetative cover and to conserve biodiversity in the hot arid and semi-arid regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat. It operates under the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.

Desert climate type of climate

The desert climate, is a climate in which there is an excess of evaporation over precipitation. The typically bald, rocky, or sandy surfaces in desert climates hold little moisture and evaporate the little rainfall they receive. Covering 14.2% of earth's land area, hot deserts may be the most common type of climate on earth.

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Desertification is a type of land degradation in which a relatively dry area of land becomes a desert, typically losing its bodies of water as well as vegetation and wildlife. It is caused by a variety of factors, such as through climate change and through the overexploitation of soil through human activity. When deserts appear automatically over the natural course of a planet's life cycle, then it can be called a natural phenomenon; however, when deserts emerge due to the rampant and unchecked depletion of nutrients in soil that are essential for it to remain arable, then a virtual "soil death" can be spoken of, which traces its cause back to human overexploitation. Desertification is a significant global ecological and environmental problem with far reaching consequences on socio-economic and political conditions.

Drought extended period when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply

A drought or drouth is a natural disaster of below-average precipitation in a given region, resulting in prolonged shortages in the water supply, whether atmospheric, surface water or ground water. A drought can last for months or years, or may be declared after as few as 15 days. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region and harm to the local economy. Annual dry seasons in the tropics significantly increase the chances of a drought developing and subsequent bush fires. Periods of heat can significantly worsen drought conditions by hastening evaporation of water vapour.

Namib desert in south Africa

The Namib is a coastal desert in southern Africa. The name Namib is of Khoekhoegowab origin and means "vast place". According to the broadest definition, the Namib stretches for more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) along the Atlantic coasts of Angola, Namibia, and South Africa, extending southward from the Carunjamba River in Angola, through Namibia and to the Olifants River in Western Cape, South Africa. The Namib's northernmost portion, which extends 450 kilometres (280 mi) from the Angola-Namibia border, is known as Moçâmedes Desert, while its southern portion approaches the neighboring Kalahari Desert. From the Atlantic coast eastward, the Namib gradually ascends in elevation, reaching up to 200 kilometres (120 mi) inland to the foot of the Great Escarpment. Annual precipitation ranges from 2 millimetres (0.079 in) in the most arid regions to 200 millimetres (7.9 in) at the escarpment, making the Namib the only true desert in southern Africa. Having endured arid or semi-arid conditions for roughly 55–80 million years, the Namib may be the oldest desert in the world and contains some of the world's driest regions, with only western South America's Atacama Desert to challenge it for age and aridity benchmarks.

Peneplain A low-relief plain formed by protracted erosion

In geomorphology and geology a peneplain is a low-relief plain formed by protracted erosion. This is the definition in the broadest of terms, albeit with frequency the usage of peneplain is meant to imply the representation of a near-final stage of fluvial erosion during times of extended tectonic stability. Peneplains are sometimes associated with the cycle of erosion theory of William Morris Davis, but Davis and other workers have also used the term in a purely descriptive manner without any theory or particular genesis attached.

Sahara desert in Africa

The Sahara is a desert located on the African continent. It is the largest hot desert in the world, and the third largest desert overall after Antarctica and the Arctic. Its area of 9,200,000 square kilometres (3,600,000 sq mi) is comparable to the area of China or the United States. The name 'Sahara' is derived from a dialectal Arabic word for "desert", ṣaḥra.

Discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation

The discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation constitutes a major development in modern physical cosmology. The cosmic background radiation (CMB) was measured by Andrew McKellar in 1941 at an effective temperature of 2.3 K using CN stellar absorption lines observed by W. S. Adams. Theoretical work around 1950 showed that the need for a CMB for consistency with the simplest relativistic universe models. In 1964, US physicist Arno Penzias and radio-astronomer Robert Woodrow Wilson rediscovered the CMB, estimating its temperature as 3.5 K, as they experimented with the Holmdel Horn Antenna. The new measurements were accepted as important evidence for a hot early Universe and as evidence against the rival steady state theory. In 1978, Penzias and Wilson were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for their joint measurement.

Cuesta A hill or ridge with a gentle slope on one side and a steep slope on the other

A cuesta is a hill or ridge with a gentle slope on one side, and a steep slope on the other. In geology the term is more specifically applied to a ridge where a harder sedimentary rock overlies a softer layer, the whole being tilted somewhat from the horizontal. This results in a long and gentle backslope called a dip slope that conforms with the dip of resistant strata, called caprock. Where erosion has exposed the frontslope of this, a steep slope or escarpment occurs. The resulting terrain may be called scarpland.

In geology and climatology, a pluvial is either a modern climate characterized by relatively high precipitation, or an interval of time of variable length – decades to thousands of years – during which a climate is characterized by either relatively high precipitation or humidity. Subdivisions of a pluvial, which are characterized by relatively high precipitation, are known as a subpluvials. Formally, pluvials were equated with glacial stages of the Quaternary. However, pluvials, as in equatorial regions, can also occur during interglacial stages. Lower latitudes have even experienced major pluvials in early to mid-Holocene times.

Terrace (geology) A step-like landform

In geology, a terrace is a step-like landform. A terrace consists of a flat or gently sloping geomorphic surface, called a tread, that is typically bounded one side by a steeper ascending slope, which is called a "riser" or "scarp." The tread and the steeper descending slope together constitute the terrace. Terraces can also consist of a tread bounded on all sides by a descending riser or scarp. A narrow terrace is often called a bench.

Pediplain An extensive plain formed by the coalescence of pediments

In geology and geomorphology a pediplain is an extensive plain formed by the coalescence of pediments. The processes through which pediplains forms is known as pediplanation. The concepts of pediplain and pediplanation were first developed by geologist Lester Charles King in his 1942 book South African Scenery. The concept gained notoriety as it was juxtaposed to peneplanation.

The Winkler Index, sometimes known as the Winkler Scale or WinklerRegions, is a technique for classifying the climate of wine growing regions based on heat summation or growing degree-days. In the system, geographical areas are divided into five climate regions based on temperature converted to growing degree-days, and is commonly known as Regions I–V. The system was developed at the University of California, Davis by A. J. Winkler and Maynard Amerine.

Rhodes Whitmore Fairbridge was an Australian geologist and expert on climate change. His father was Kingsley Fairbridge.

Sahara pump theory

The Sahara pump theory is a hypothesis that explains how flora and fauna migrated between Eurasia and Africa via a land bridge in the Levant region. It posits that extended periods of abundant rainfall lasting many thousands of years in Africa are associated with a "wet-Sahara" phase, during which larger lakes and more rivers existed. This caused changes in the flora and fauna found in the area. Migration along the river corridor was halted when, during a desert phase 1.8–0.8 million years ago (mya), the Nile ceased to flow completely and possibly flowed only temporarily in other periods due to the geologic uplift of the Nile River region.

Battle of Ferkeh

The Battle of Ferkeh occurred during the Mahdist War when an army of the Mahdist Sudanese was surprised and routed by British-led Egyptian forces under Sir Herbert Kitchener on 7 June 1896. It was the first significant action of the reconquest of Sudan that culminated in the Battle of Omdurman in September 1898.

Francis D. K. "Frank" Ching is an architecture and design graphics writer. He is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington.

Bali Sea The body of water north of the island of Bali and south of Kangean Island in Indonesia

The Bali Sea is the body of water north of the island of Bali and south of Kangean Island in Indonesia. The sea forms the south-west part of the Flores Sea, and the Madura Strait opens into it from the west.

Facultative lagoon waste treatment pond

Facultative lagoons are a type of waste stabilization pond used for biological treatment of industrial and domestic wastewater. Sewage or organic waste from food or fiber processing may be catabolized in a system of constructed ponds where adequate space is available to provide an average waste retention time exceeding a month. A series of ponds prevents mixing of untreated waste with treated wastewater and allows better control of waste residence time for uniform treatment efficiency.

Earth rainfall climatology

Earth rainfall climatology Is the study of rainfall, a sub-field of Meteorology. Formally, a wider study includes water falling as ice crystals, i.e. hail, sleet, snow. The aim of rainfall climatology is to measure, understand and predict rain distribution across different regions of planet Earth, a factor of air pressure, humidity, topography, cloud type and raindrop size, via direct measurement and remote sensing data acquisition. Current technologies accurately predict rainfall 3–4 days in advance using numerical weather prediction. Geostationary orbiting satellites gather IR and visual wavelength data to measure realtime localised rainfall by estimating cloud albedo, water content, and the corresponding probability of rain. Geographic distribution of rain is largely governed by climate type, topography and habitat humidity. In mountainous areas, heavy precipitation is possible where upslope flow is maximized within windward sides of the terrain at elevation. On the leeward side of mountains, desert climates can exist due to the dry air caused by compressional heating. The movement of the monsoon trough, or intertropical convergence zone, brings rainy seasons to savannah climes. The urban heat island effect leads to increased rainfall, both in amounts and intensity, downwind of cities. Global warming may also cause changes in the precipitation pattern globally, including wetter conditions at high latitudes and in some wet tropical areas, and drier conditions in parts of the subtropics and middle latitudes. Precipitation is a major component of the water cycle, and is responsible for depositing most of the fresh water on the planet. Approximately 505,000 cubic kilometres (121,000 cu mi) of water falls as precipitation each year; 398,000 cubic kilometres (95,000 cu mi) of it over the oceans. Given the Earth's surface area, that means the globally averaged annual precipitation is 990 millimetres (39 in). Climate classification systems such as the Köppen climate classification system use average annual rainfall to help differentiate between differing climate regimes.


International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.