Dry Weather: Characteristics, Location, Vegetation, Fauna and Types

He Dry weather it is the one that presents a lower annual average precipitation than evaporation and transpiration in the same period. Also, as the air is dry, there are few clouds and the sun is intense. L Summers are hot to very hot and it rarely rains. Winter can be cold or warm and winter nights can be very cold.

Also, there is a large difference in temperatures between day and night. This type of climate is the result of the pattern of global air circulation. According to this pattern, the equatorial air rises into the atmosphere and is heated by intense sunlight. In the process it loses part of its water vapor.

Dry weather

Finally, this air comes back down hundreds of kilometers from the equator and heats up more as it goes down. Thus, the air continues to lose the little water vapor that remains inside it. In this situation, with dry air moving from above, areas of arid and semi-arid climates inevitably occur in the peripheries of the tropics.

Other factors contribute to the generation of these areas, such as the mountains that block the humid winds of the sea and force the air to rise. TO As it rises, it cools and causes rain on its slopes; then there is not enough water vapor left to form rain on the inland side. This reinforces dryness in deserts and steppes.


  • 1 characteristics
    • 1.1 Low rainfall
    • 1.2 Large extensions
    • 1.3 Greater evaporation
    • 1.4 Extreme temperatures
  • 2 Location
    • 2.1 Arid or desert (BW according to the Köppen scale)
    • 2.2 Semi-arid or steppe (BS according to the Köppen scale)
  • 3 Flora and vegetation
    • 3.1 Cactus nopal (Opuntia ficus-indica)
    • 3.2 Saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea)
    • 3.3 Estepicursores or clouds of the desert (Lechenaultia divaricata)
    • 3.4 The titanca (Puya raimondii)
  • 4 Fauna
    • 4.1 Rattlesnake (Crotalus cerastes)
    • 4.2 Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus)
    • 4.3 Coyote (Canis latrans)
    • 4.4 Zorro corsac (Vulpes corsac)
    • 4.5 Hawk saker of the steppe (Falco cherrug)
    • 4.6 Bison (Bison bison)
  • 5 Types of dry climate
    • 5.1 Barren or desert
    • 5.2 Semi-arid or steppe
  • 6 References


Low rainfall

The main characteristic of a dry climate are low and infrequent precipitation. In arid or semi-desert areas rainfall averages 35 cm per year. Even some deserts have not received rain for years.

Semi-arid or steppe regions, although they receive a little more rain than deserts, receive a maximum of 50 cm per year on average.

This amount of rainwater reaches only to maintain short grasses and scattered shrubs or artemisia, which is the dominant vegetation in this type of climate.

Large extensions

The arid and semi-arid regions together make up 26% of Earth's land surface, and deserts comprise 12%.

Thus, dry climates are the most extensive; occupy more than a quarter of the earth's surface. In this climate many plants and animals have adapted to live with minimal rain, dry winds and high temperatures.

Greater evaporation

Another characteristic of a dry climate is that evaporation is greater than precipitation. As a result, the soils lack moisture.

For example, arid regions in the Middle East average less than 20 cm of rain per year, but annual evaporation rates are more than 200 cm.

This extreme evaporation contributes to dry and coarse soils on which plant life is scarce.

Extreme temperatures

In dry climates there is a wide variation in temperatures, both seasonal and daily. As the sun's rays are more direct, the temperature oscillations between day and night are extreme.

In general, deserts have hot summers, cool nights and moderate winters. However, in cold deserts winters can be extremely cold, falling even below the freezing point.


Arid or desert (BW according to the Köppen scale)

Dry desert climates can be found in the deserts of Africa. This includes the deserts of the Sahara, Libya, Nubia, Danakil, Grand Bara, Namib and Kalahari.

On the other hand, in the Middle East there are the desert of Arabia, that of Syria and that of Lut. On the other hand, South Asia has the deserts of Dasht-e Kavir, Dasht-e Lut and the Thar Desert.

With regard to the American continent, we can mention the Mojave Desert, the Sonora Desert and the Chihuahuan Desert. For its part, the Australian continent has the Simpson Desert and Victoria.

With respect to Europe, there is a small group of places that have a desert climate, such as the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park in Almería and a small area in the southwest of Murcia and Alicante, Spain.

In addition, part of the Canary Islands (especially Fuerteventura and Lanzarote) have hot and dry climates in the desert.

Semi-arid or steppe (BS according to the Köppen scale)

The largest steppe region on the planet, usually called the Great Steppe, is found in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. This goes from Ukraine in the west to Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan Altai, Kopet Dag and Tian Shan.

In the same way, this variety of dry climate can be found in the internal areas of Anatolia in Turkey, Central Anatolia and Eastern Anatolia. TO some areas of southeastern Anatolia, a large extension of Armenia and the Pannonian plain in eastern Europe (especially Hungary) maintain this type of climate.

Another large steppe area (prairie) is found in the central United States, western Canada and northern Mexico.

In South America, the cold steppe is found in Patagonia and in much of the highlands east of the southern Andes.

In addition, steppe areas of a relatively small size can be found in the interior of the South Island of New Zealand.

Flora and vegetation

Cactus nopal ( Opuntia ficus-indica )

The cactus cactus is composed of many circular pads that grow from a thick and round trunk. The pads are all covered with thorns. In these pads the cactus stores water for the dry times. The nopal can grow up to 2.10 m tall.

In some prickly pear cactus grow small yellow flowers with red centers. They also produce edible red or purple fruits, called nopales.

Cactus saguaro ( Carnegiea gigantea )

The saguaro cactus is a cactus that occurs in dry, warm and rocky climate. Its skin is smooth and waxy and has a kind of rib that runs up and down along the plant.

Its branches grow upright in the trunk and can become very tall. The saguaro is covered with 5 cm thorns located on each of the vertical ribs.

When it rains, this cactus absorbs water and keeps it in its ribs. This special ability allows it to survive in the extremely hot and dry desert climate.

Estepicursores or clouds of the desert ( Lechenaultia divaricata )

A steppe is a plant that detaches from its roots and is driven by the wind. In dry and warm climates they grow rapidly to become a plant with thorny flowers.

Then, this plant is detached from its root and rolls through the desert. In their movement, the shrivelers scatter their seeds.

When rolling, these plants can be made as small as a soccer ball or as big as a car. They grow and spread very fast because the warm and flat terrain of the desert facilitates the trip.

The titanca ( Puya raimondii )

It is a very rare and exceptional plant of the Andean steppe of Peru and Bolivia. It grows to 4000 meters above sea level and reaches 10 m in height. Its appearance is that of a large pineapple.

This plant blooms and bears fruit generally when it is more than one hundred years old, after which it dies. Today, it has become a rare species that has disappeared from many areas that used to be its natural environment.


Rattlesnake ( Crotalus cerastes )

There are 32 known species of rattlesnakes. They all look a little different with different patterns on their skin that vary in color, but all have a triangular head and a rattle at the end of the tail.

On the other hand, this snake has the ability of camouflage and is carnivorous. Its diet is composed mainly of small terrestrial animals, such as lizards and rodents.

Thorny Devil ( Moloch horridus )

The thorny devil is a type of lizard typical of dry climates the size of a human hand. It is covered with cone-shaped spines and has a spiny hump behind its head that it uses to protect itself.

Also, this lizard is usually yellow and brown, but these colors change according to the type of soil that crosses. This ability makes it easier for them to hide in the desert climate.

Coyote ( Canis latrans )

The coyote is a member of the dog family. It has a brown coat mixed with hairs that can be brown, gray or rusty black.

This animal uses the darkness of the night to sneak up on its prey, and takes advantage of its great sense of sight, smell and hearing to hunt it. Coyotes eat mainly rabbits and other rodents.

Corsican fox ( Vulpes corsac )

This fox is native to the Mongolian steppe. It is reddish gray with long legs, big ears and a short and pointed face. He is omnivorous and his good hearing, sense of smell and sight make him a good hunter.

In addition, these foxes are of migratory customs and they move towards the south when the food is scarce.

The females mate between January and March. After 50 to 60 days, they give birth to 2 to 6 young at a time.

Hawk saker of the steppe ( Falco cherrug )

The falcon saker is a large and strong bird with large eyes and a short hooked beak. On average, birds are between 45 and 50 cm tall.

In relation to its natural habitat, it is found in southeastern Europe and Asia. However, they migrate to Kazakhstan and the Middle East in the winter.

This type of hawk hunts mammals like rats, weasels, field mice, stoats, squirrels and birds. These birds pounce on their prey at a speed of around 300 kph and are very fierce hunters.

Often, they even attack prey that are larger than these. Female hawks are even more ferocious than males.

Bison ( Bison bison )

The bison or buffalo is perhaps the most typical herbivorous steppe. Until the nineteenth century there were two species of bison: the European bison and the American bison.

Today, the European bison has almost disappeared, decimated by hunting and by the disappearance of its habitat. On the other hand, until the mid-nineteenth century enormous herds of American bison used to run across the prairies.

Unfortunately, the fierce persecution carried out by planters and hunters has brought this species to the brink of extinction. At present, this bison is recovering thanks to the protection plans and the establishment of large reserves.

Types of dry climate

Barren or desert

It is a desert completely devoid of vegetation. Of low latitude, the arid deserts are located between latitudes 15º N and 30º S.

This zone corresponds to the belt bordered by the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, to the north and south of the equator, respectively.

In this type of dry climate the winds are light. This allows the evaporation of moisture with intense heat. Usually these winds flow down, so the area is rarely penetrated by air masses that produce rain, generating a very dry heat.

Semi-arid or steppe

This climate is above Ecuador at latitude 35º N at 55º N, and is characterized by grasslands. It is a semi-arid climate that is located between the desert climate (BW) and more humid climates of groups A, C and D.

If it received less rain, the steppe would be classified as an arid desert. With more rain, it would be classified as a high grass meadow.

In general, the steppe is a belt of transition that surrounds the desert and separates it from humid climates. This type of climate exists in the interior regions of the continents of North America and Eurasia.

Moist air masses from the ocean are blocked by mountain ranges to the west and south. As a result, the air that passes is drier.

In the same way, these mountain ranges also trap the air that comes from the poles in winter, making the winters very cold and summers from warm to hot.


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  3. Peterson, J. (2018, March 13). Characteristics of a Dry Climate. Taken from sciencing.com .
  4. Lumen-Physical Geography. (s / f). Dry Climates (Group B). Taken from courses.lumenlearning.com.
  5. ISC Audubon. (2013, January 29). Köppen Climate Classification. Taken from thesustainabilitycouncil.org.
  6. Barrameda. (s / f). The steppes. Taken from barrameda.com.ar.
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  8. Plants and animals. (s / f). Animals of the eurasian steppe. Taken from nlaver19steppe.weebly.com.

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