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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 Development or developing may refer to: Arts *Development hell, when a project is stuck in development *Filmmaking#Development, Filmmaking, development phase, including finance and budgeting *Development (music), the process thematic material i ...
of plant and animal life. Environments subject to arid climates tend to lack vegetation and are called
xeric Deserts and xeric shrublands are a biome A biome is a collection of plants and animals that have common characteristics for the environment they exist in. They can be found over a range of continents. Biomes are distinct biological communiti ...
or
desert upright=1.5, alt=see caption, Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali ("Empty quarter") in the United Arab Emirates">Rub'_al_Khali.html" ;"title="Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali">Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali ("Empty quarter") in the United Arab ...
ic. Most "arid" climates straddle the
Equator The Earth's equator is an imaginary planetary line that is about long in circumference. The equator divides the planet into the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere and is located at 0 degrees latitude In geography, latitude is ...

Equator
; these places include parts of
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are ...

Africa
,
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the conti ...
,
South America South America is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered fr ...
,
North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to ...
, and
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, smal ...

Australia
.


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 An atmosphere (from the greek words ἀτμός ''(atmos)'', meaning 'vapour', and σφαῖρα ''(sphaira)'', meaning 'ball' or 'sphere') is a layer or a set of layers of gases surrounding a planet or other material body, that is held in ...
. The latter does change significantly over time through
climate change Climate change includes both global warming driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century ...
. For example, temperature increase (by 1.5–2.1 percent) across the
Nile Basin The Nile Basin is the part of Africa drained by the Nile, Nile River and its tributary, tributaries. Besides being the second largest drainage basin, hydrographic basin in Africa, the Nile Basin is effectively the most notable drainage basin on th ...
over the next 30–40 years could change the region from
semi-arid A semi-arid climate, semi-desert climate, or steppe climate is the climate 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 ove ...
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.


See also

*
Aridity indexAn aridity index (AI) is a numerical indicator of the degree of dryness of the climate at a given location. A number of aridity A region is arid when it is characterized by a severe lack of available water, to the extent of hindering or preventin ...
*
Arid Forest Research Institute Arid Forest Research Institute (AFRI) is a research institute A research institute, research centre, or research center is an establishment founded for doing research. Research institutes may specialize in basic research or may be oriented to ...
*
Desert climate The desert climate or arid climate (in the Köppen climate classification ''BWh'' and ''BWk''), is a climate which there is an excess of evaporation over precipitation. The typically bald, rocky, or sandy surfaces in desert climates hold little mo ...
*
Desiccation toleranceDesiccation tolerance refers to the ability of an organism to withstand or endure extreme dryness, or drought A drought is an event of prolonged shortages in the water supply, whether atmospheric (below-average precipitation), surface water or g ...
*
Drought A drought is an event of prolonged shortages in the water supply, whether atmospheric (below-average precipitation), surface water or ground water Groundwater is the water Water is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, Transparency a ...

Drought
*
Relative humidity Humidity is the concentration of water vapor present in the air. Water vapor, the gaseous state of water, is generally invisible to the human eye. Humidity indicates the likelihood for precipitation (meteorology), precipitation, dew, or fog to be ...

Relative humidity
*
Vapor pressure
Vapor pressure


References

* Griffiths, J. F. (1985) 'Climatology', Chapter 2 in ''Handbook of Applied Meteorology'', Edited by David D. Houghton, John Wiley and Sons, . * Durrenberger, R. W. (1987) 'Arid Climates', article in ''The Encyclopedia of Climatology'', p. 92–101, Edited by J. E. Oliver and R. W. Fairbridge, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York, . * Stadler, S. J (1987) 'Aridity Indexes', article in ''The Encyclopedia of Climatology'', p. 102–107, Edited by J. E. Oliver and R. W. Fairbridge, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York, .
Blue Peace for the Nile Report
2009, Strategic Foresight Group Climate patterns
Soil science For :Agricultural soil science and :Environmental soil science, see :Edaphology.
To discuss soil science category structure, go to category talk:soil science, talk page. Earth sciences {{CatAutoTOC ...
Water scarcity {{climate-stub