Semi-arid climate

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Regions with semi-arid climates
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BSh
BSk BS climate.png
Regions with semi-arid climates
   BSh
   BSk

A semi-arid climate, semi-desert 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.

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Defining attributes of semi-arid climates

A more precise definition is given by the Köppen climate classification, which treats steppe climates (BSk and BSh) as intermediates between desert climates (BW) and humid climates in ecological characteristics and agricultural potential. Semi-arid climates tend to support short or scrubby vegetation and are usually dominated by either grasses or shrubs.

Sahel region of Mali Les Falaises de Bandiagara.jpg
Sahel region of Mali

To determine if a location has a semi-arid climate, the precipitation threshold must first be determined. The method used to find the precipitation threshold (in millimeters):

If the area's annual precipitation in millimeters is less than the threshold but more than half the threshold, it is classified as a BS (steppe or semi-arid climate). [1]

Furthermore, to delineate hot semi-arid climates from cold semi-arid climates, there are three widely used isotherms: either a mean annual temperature of 18 °C (64.4 °F), or a mean temperature of 0 or −3 °C (32.0 or 26.6 °F) in the coldest month, so that a location with a BS type climate with the appropriate temperature above whichever isotherm is being used is classified as hot semi-arid (BSh), and a location with the appropriate temperature below the given isotherm is classified as cold semi-arid (BSk).

Hot semi-arid climates

Regions with hot semi-arid climates Koppen-Geiger Map BSh present.svg
Regions with hot semi-arid climates

Hot semi-arid climates (type "BSh") tend to be located in the 20s and 30s latitudes of the (tropics and subtropics), typically in proximity to regions with a tropical savanna or a humid subtropical climate. These climates tend to have hot, sometimes extremely hot summers and warm to cool winters, with some to minimal precipitation. Hot semi-arid climates are most commonly found around the fringes of subtropical deserts.

Hot semi-arid climates are most commonly found in Africa, Australia and South Asia. In Australia, a large portion of the Outback surrounding the central desert regions lies within the hot semi-arid climate region. [2] [ clarification needed ] In South Asia, both India and sections of Pakistan experiences the seasonal effects of monsoons and feature short but well-defined wet seasons, but is not sufficiently wet overall to qualify as a tropical savanna climate.

Hot semi-arid climates can also be found in Europe, primarily in Southeast Spain [3] [4] and parts of Greece, [5] Italy, Portugal and Cyprus. Also in parts of North America, such as in Mexico, ABC Islands, and areas of the Southwestern United States, and sections of South America such as the sertão , the Gran Chaco, and on the poleward side of the arid deserts, where they typically feature a Mediterranean precipitation pattern, with generally rainless summers and wetter winters.

Cold semi-arid climates

Regions with cold semi-arid climates Koppen-Geiger Map BSk present.svg
Regions with cold semi-arid climates

Cold semi-arid climates (type "BSk") tend to be located in elevated portions of temperate zones, typically bordering a humid continental climate or a Mediterranean climate. They are typically found in continental interiors some distance from large bodies of water. Cold semi-arid climates usually feature warm to hot dry summers, though their summers are typically not quite as hot as those of hot semi-arid climates. Unlike hot semi-arid climates, areas with cold semi-arid climates tend to have cold winters. These areas usually see some snowfall during the winter, though snowfall is much lower than at locations at similar latitudes with more humid climates.

Areas featuring cold semi-arid climates tend to have higher elevations than areas with hot semi-arid climates, and tend to feature major temperature swings between day and night, sometimes by as much as 20°C (36°F) or more in that time frame. These large diurnal temperature variations are seldom seen in hot semi-arid climates. Cold semi-arid climates at higher latitudes tend to have dry winters and wetter summers, while cold semi-arid climates at lower latitudes tend to have precipitation patterns more akin to subtropical climates, with dry summers, relatively wet winters, and even wetter springs and autumns.

Cold semi-arid climates are most commonly found in Asia and North America. However, they can also be found in Northern Africa, South Africa, Europe, sections of South America and sections of interior southern Australia (e.g. Kalgoorlie and Mildura) and New Zealand (around Alexandra).

Regions of varying classification

In climate classification, three isotherms means that delineate between hot and cold semi-arid climates — the 18 °C (64 °F) average annual temperature or that of the coldest month (0 or −3 °C (32 or 27 °F)), the warm side of the isotherm of choice defining a BSh climate from the BSk on the cooler side. As a result of this, some areas can have climates that are classified as hot or cold semi-arid depending on the isotherm used. One such location is San Diego, California (at its main airport), which has cool summers for the latitude due to prevailing winds off the ocean (so the average annual temperature is below 18 °C (64 °F)) but mild winters (average temperature in January, 14 °C (57 °F), and closer to the 18.0 °C (64.4 °F) isotherm that separates tropical and subtropical climates than to the 0 or −3 °C (32 or 27 °F) isotherm for the coldest month that separates temperate and continental climates).

Charts of selected cities

Patos, Paraíba, Brazil
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Source: [6]
Penticton, Canada
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Source: [7]
Jaipur (Sanganer), India
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Source: India Weather On Web
Niamey, Niger
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Source: Deutscher Wetterdienst [8]
Port Louis, Mauritius
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Source: World Meteorological Organization. [9]
Murcia, Spain
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Source: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología [10]
Reno, Nevada, United States
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Lampedusa, Italy
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Source: Servizio Meteorologico [12]
Piraeus, Greece
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Source: H.N.M.S [13]

See also

Related Research Articles

Climate Statistics of weather conditions in a given region over long periods

Climate is the long-term average of weather, typically averaged over a period of 30 years. More rigorously, it is the mean and variability of meteorological variables over a time spanning from months to millions of years. Some of the meteorological variables that are commonly measured are temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, and precipitation. In a broader sense, climate is the state of the components of the climate system, which includes the ocean and ice on Earth. The climate of a location is affected by its latitude, terrain, and altitude, as well as nearby water bodies and their currents.

Temperate climate Main climate class

In geography, the temperate climates of Earth occur in the middle latitudes, which span between the tropics and the polar regions of Earth. These zones generally have wider temperature ranges throughout the year and more distinct seasonal changes compared to tropical climates, where such variations are often small.

Desert climate Arid climate subtype in the Köppen climate classification system

The desert climate or arid climate, is a climate 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 are the most common type of climate on earth after polar climate.

Continental climate

Continental climates often have a significant annual variation in temperature. They tend to occur in the middle latitudes, where prevailing winds blow overland, and temperatures are not moderated by bodies of water such as oceans or seas. Continental climates occur mostly in the Northern Hemisphere, which has the kind of large landmasses on temperate latitudes required for this type of climate to develop. Most of northern and northeastern China, eastern and southeastern Europe, Western and north western Iran, central and southeastern Canada, and the central and northeastern United States have this type of climate.

Mediterranean climate Type of climate

A Mediterranean climate or dry summer climate is characterized by dry summers and mild, wet winters. The climate receives its name from the Mediterranean Basin, where this climate type is most common. Mediterranean climate zones are typically located along the western sides of continents, between roughly 30 and 45 degrees north and south of the equator. The main cause of Mediterranean, or dry summer climate, is the subtropical ridge which extends northwards during the summer and migrates south during the winter due to increasing north–south temperature differences.

Subtropics Geographic and climate zone

The subtropical zones or subtropics are geographic and climate zones located to the north and south of the tropical zone. Geographically part of the north and south temperate zones, they cover the latitudes between 23°26′11.6″ and approximately 35° in the northern hemisphere and in the southern hemisphere.

Köppen climate classification Climate classification system

The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by German-Russian climatologist Wladimir Köppen (1846–1940) in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen, notably in 1918 and 1936. Later, the climatologist Rudolf Geiger (1894-1981) introduced some changes to the classification system, which is thus sometimes called the Köppen–Geiger climate classification system.

Oceanic climate

An oceanic climate, also known as a maritime climate, marine climate is the Köppen classification of climate typical of west coasts in higher middle latitudes of continents, and generally features mild summers and cool but not cold winters, with a relatively narrow annual temperature range and few extremes of temperature. Oceanic climate is found both in the temperate and subtropical areas, in Western Europe, parts of central and Southern Africa, North America, South America as well as part of Australia and New Zealand.

Humid continental climate Category in the Köppen climate classification system

A humid continental climate is a climatic region defined by Russo-German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1900, typified by four distinct seasons and large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot summers and cold winters. Precipitation is usually distributed throughout the year. The definition of this climate regarding temperature is as follows: the mean temperature of the coldest month must be below 0 °C (32.0 °F) or −3 °C (26.6 °F) and there must be at least four months whose mean temperatures are at or above 10 °C (50 °F). In addition, the location in question must not be semi-arid or arid. The Dfb, Dwb, and Dsb subtypes are also known as hemiboreal.

In climatology, the term mesothermal is used to refer to certain forms of climate found typically in the Earth's temperate zones. It has a moderate amount of heat, with winters not cold enough to sustain snow cover. Summers are warm within oceanic climate regimes, and hot within continental climate regimes.

Climate of the United States Varies due to changes in latitude, and a range of geographic features

The climate of the United States varies due to changes in latitude, and a range of geographic features, including mountains and deserts. Generally, on the mainland, the climate of the U.S. becomes warmer the further south one travels, and drier the further west, until one reaches the West Coast.

Soto la Marina, Tamaulipas

Soto la Marina is a town in Soto la Marina Municipality located in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. It was directly hit by Hurricane Alex in 2010. It is located on the banks of the Soto la Marina river, just up river from the small ocean port of La Pesca, and downriver from Ciudad Victoria, the capital of the State of Tamaulipas. 180 miles South of Brownsville, Texas, it is accessible from there via a highway in approximately 3 hours driving time.

Climate of Argentina

The climate of Argentina varies from region to region, as the vast size of the country and wide variation in altitude make for a wide range of climate types. Summers are the warmest and wettest season in most of the country except in most of Patagonia where it is the driest season. Winters are normally mild in the north, cool in the center and cold in the southern parts experiencing frequent frost and snow. Because southern parts of the country are moderated by the surrounding oceans, the cold is less intense and prolonged than areas at similar latitudes in the northern hemisphere. Spring and autumn are transition seasons that generally feature mild weather.

Climate of Mexico

[ Climate of Mexico Areas south of the twentieth-fourth parallel with elevations up to 1,000 meters (3,281 ft), have a yearly median temperature between 24 and 28 °C. Temperatures here remain high throughout the year, with only a 5 °C (9 °F) difference between winter and summer median temperatures. Although low-lying areas north of the twenty-fourth parallel are hot and humid during the summer, they generally have lower yearly temperature averages because of more moderate conditions during the winter.

Climate of Venezuela

The Climate of Venezuela is characterized for being tropical and isothermal as a result of its geographical location near the Equator, but because of the topography and the dominant wind direction, several climatic types occur which can be the same as found in temperate latitudes, and even polar regions. Latitude exerts little influence on the Venezuelan While the coastal cities of Maracaibo, Barcelona, Porlamar and Maiquetia can get extremely hot, cities located at valleys such as Mérida, Caracas, Los Teques and San Cristobal have cooler climates, and the highest towns of Mucuchies and Apartaderos have cold (tundra) climates.

Humid subtropical climate Transitional climatic zone

A humid subtropical climate is a zone of climate characterized by hot and humid summers, and cold to mild winters. These climates normally lie on the southeast side of all continents, generally between latitudes 25° and 40° and are located poleward from adjacent tropical climates. It is also known as warm temperate climate.

Loomis, Washington

Loomis is a census-designated place (CDP) in Okanogan County, Washington, United States. The population was 159 at the 2010 Census. Its area is 0.85 square miles (2.2 km2), which is all land and no water area.

Climate of Spain Overview of the climate of Spain

The climate in Spain varies across continental Spain. Spain is the most climatically diverse country in Europe with 13 different Köppen climates, excluding the Canary Islands, and is within the 10 most climatically diverse countries in the world. Five main climatic zones can be distinguished, according to the country's Köppen-Geiger climate classification and orographic conditions:

Trewartha climate classification Method of classifying the worlds climates

The Trewartha climate classification is a climate classification system first published by American geographer Glenn Thomas Trewartha in 1966. It is a modified version of the Köppen–Geiger system, created to answer some of its deficiencies. The Trewartha system attempts to redefine the middle latitudes to be closer to vegetation zoning and genetic climate systems. It was considered a more true or "real world" reflection of the global climate.

Climatic regions of Argentina

Due to its vast size and range of altitudes, Argentina possesses a wide variety of climatic regions, ranging from the hot subtropical region in the north to the cold subantarctic in the far south. Lying between those is the Pampas region, featuring a mild and humid climate. Many regions have different, often contrasting, microclimates. In general, Argentina has four main climate types: warm, moderate, arid, and cold in which the relief features, and the latitudinal extent of the country, determine the different varieties within the main climate types.

References

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