Dry Climate: Characteristics, Types, Flora, Fauna and More

When you are in a place with very few clouds, intense sun and where you do not feel the breeze running. If you are in an area that has a type of Dry weather, More information about it below.

Dry weather

Before learning more about this topic, it is important to clarify some definitions that concern the climate and its system.

Definition of a Climate System

They are characteristics that normally occur in a place and that are related to the meteorological conditions that are observed in long periods of time.

For Peixoto and Oort. (1992)

"The climate system in general is assumed to be a closed system, since it allows the existence of an energy flow with space but not an exchange of matter."

 “It is defined as an entity composed of five interacting components (atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, lithosphere and biosphere) that, together, function complexly as a whole”.

It is easier when asked what the weather is like in the city where you live? To answer, for example, simply that it is cold, however, this answer goes further. When we talk about climate, it is important to identify what is influenced by the following elements:

  • Latitude.
  • Elevation (not to be confused with altitude).
  • Proximity to water, be it oceans, lakes, etc.
  • Proximity to mountains.
  • ocean currents.
  • Atmospheric circulation.

dry weather 2

different types of weather 

There are three types of climate: warm, temperate and polar.

The climate expert Köppen, in the year 1900 began to design a proposal for such a subdivision. Based on his studies as a geographer and meteorologist, he assigned a letter of the alphabet and some categories to divide it.

Köppen Climate Classification (1936)




A Humid tropical climate Average monthly temperature of the coldest month greater than 18° C.
B Dry weather Take into account the average annual temperature
C Cold weather Average temperature of the coldest month is between -3°C and 18°C.
D subarctic climate 3°C and average temperature of the warmest month greater than 10°C.
E Snowy or polar climate

Average temperature of the month is less than 10°C


What are their characteristics?

The days with this climate are extremely hot and winter tends to vary in each season, even reaching very warm days with winter nights that can be very cold.

The global air circulation pattern in this climate is due to the fact that when sunlight is intense, the air that rises from the equatorial zone reaches the atmosphere and loses much of its water vapor.

From the equatorial zone the air goes down hundreds of kilometers and as it goes down it gets hotter, the little water vapor that remains in the air continues to be lost. Regions with arid and semi-arid climates are then generated, with dry air that moves in the atmosphere and inevitably on the peripheries of the tropics, these desert areas are created. 

The high mountain areas, for their part, block the humid winds from the sea and force the air to rise, making it easier for those areas to rain and stay with the water that allows this area a favorable vegetation for a type of fauna and flora. special.

When the water vapor is exhausted, the rain process does not take place and this will increase inland, the dryness in the deserts and steppes.

Dry weather

Elements that characterize the dry climate

It is identified because it rarely rains and is accompanied by evaporation and transpiration that will be higher than the precipitation that occurs annually in a region. Its elements are described below:

low precipitation

When a region has "low rainfall" and infrequent, we are facing a Dry weather, since that is its main characteristic.

This rainfall averages about 35 cm per year, in arid or semi-desert areas and the so-called semi-arid or steppe areas receive a maximum of 50 cm per year on average. There are some desert areas that have not received rain for years.

The amount of rainfall in these regions makes it possible for only short grasses and scattered bushes or artemisia to grow on the ground, which is the dominant vegetation in this type of climate. Although they do get a bit more rain than deserts.

large extensions

The land surface of the planet is made up of 26% of arid and semi-arid zones and 12%. of deserts. Occupying more than a quarter of the land area.

These areas will also allow, due to their extensive territories and climate, conditions for the development of specific ecosystems.

Increased evaporation

It is a visible trait in the soil, its aridity when the rains decrease and a heat that seems to spring from the ground. All of this contributes to making plant life scarce.

The areas of southwestern Asia are places with large arid territories, where it is estimated that only 20 cm of rain falls annually, as well as evaporation in the area is more than 200 cm each year, generating intense heat. All of the above results in the formation of dry and thick soils.

Extreme temperatures

This feature is shown by the extreme temperature swings in these regions, during the day and at night. Although in summer the deserts are quite hot, their nights are usually cool.

However, in the deserts of cold areas, winters can be extremely harsh, even frozen people have been found, due to the point at which the temperature drops.

Dry weather

Geographical location of the dry climate in the world

The places on the planet with the different types of dry climate and their varieties are named below, according to the Köppen scale (1936):

Arid or desert BW

These zones are extended on the earth's surface. The vegetation and fauna that remain and survive do so because they have acquired a way to store or withstand several days without water. Extremely hot days over 30°C and very cold nights up to 3°C.

These deserts are located between latitude 15º N and 30º S, with few air currents and low latitude. This arid place is completely devoid of vegetation. Its territorial location is found; north and south of the equator and circles the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

When you are in a place with this climate, it is characterized by the fact that it rarely rains and is accompanied by evaporation and transpiration higher than the precipitation that occurs annually in that region.

In this type of dry climate, it generally has few Clouds, an intense sun and the winds are light and flow downwards, negating the possibility that in that area, it can rarely be penetrated by air masses that produce rain, generating a very dry heat.

The regions or countries are named below. where these deserts are present:

  • Deserts of the Sahara, Libya, Nubia, Danakil, Grand Bara, Namib and Kalahari.
  • The Arabian desert, the Syrian desert and the Lut desert are in the Middle East.
  • The deserts of Dasht-e Kavir, Dasht-e Lut and the Thar desert in South Asia.
  • The Mojave, Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts in the American Continent.
  • Simpson Desert and Victoria Desert in Australia.
  • The Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park in Almería and an area in the southwest of Murcia and Alicante. The Canary Islands Fuerteventura and Lanzarote have hot and dry climates in the desert in Spain-Europe. 

Semi-arid or steppe BS

These regions receive slightly more rainfall than the arid climate. Up to 500 and 800 mm per year. Unlike the dry arid climate, this one is located at a distance of 35º N to 55º N, from the equator.

The steppe can be considered as a transitional climate between desert and humid climates. They are found in territories far from the sea. On the planet it is present in areas of North America, Europe and Asia. In the United States, for example, all of the following states have this type of dry climate: "Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming."

Mountain ranges trap air coming from the poles in winter, making the poles very cold and summers warm to hot. Moist air masses from the ocean are blocked by mountain ranges to the west and south. Consequently, the passing air is drier.

There are two terminations in case the rain conditions the soil of the Steppe:

  • Arid desert: if it received less rain.
  • Tall grass prairie: if it got more rain.

The author considered important two classifications for this category:

  1. Hot semi-arid climate (BSh)
  2. Steppe or cold semi-arid climate (BSk).
  3. Hot desert climate (BWh)
  4. Cold desert climate (BWk).

The regions or countries are named below. where they are present:

  • "The Great Steppe" is in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
  • From Ukraine in the west to Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan Altai, Kopet Dag and Tian Shan.
  • Inner Anatolian areas in Turkey, Central Anatolia, and Eastern Anatolia. Areas of southeastern Anatolia, a large area of ​​Armenia, and the Pannonian Plain in eastern Europe (especially Hungary).
  • 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 the interior of the South Island of New Zealand.

By studying for years, using a medium and long-term model, with indicators such as; the atmosphere, its temperature, rainfall, among others of a region, it has been possible to determine what the climate of that area is like.

This climate is going to be part of an ecosystem on which various forms of life will depend, be it human beings, animals, flora or bacterial life.

vegetation and flora 

Vegetation can only grow under certain levels of Temperature and Humidity. When a plant remains with a type of climate and in certain conditions, then it means that the environment meets the characteristics of a specific climate.

The life of the vegetation and its flora in this climate is very demanding to survive. Most are of the xerophytic type, also herbaceous, low grasses, thickets, thorny plants, among others.

The majorities of this variety of plants that exist are:

  • Palm trees of various sizes
  • Cactus
  • Water flower
  • dwarf trees
  • Succulent

Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica)

It is the traditional image of the desert vegetation, the nopal cactus. Its size can be up to 2,10 m high.

Its shape is given by the circular pads, which make up the bush growing into a thick, round trunk. These pads are all covered with thorns, and they are where the plant goes to collect water for when the drought approaches.

Saguaro cacti (Carnegiea gigantea)

It is specific this cactus grows and lives in dry, hot and rocky climate. Its branches are born upright in the trunk and it is one of the tallest plants in the desert. They have a kind of vertical ribs and, like the family it belongs to, it is covered with 5 cm spines.

His greatest survival ability, he uses it when it rains, because he is able to absorb water and keeps it stored and thus can survive in dry weather.

Steppicursors or desert clouds (Lechenaultia divaricata)

A stepicursor grows rapidly in dry, hot climates into a spiny flowering plant. Upon reaching adulthood, it detaches from its roots and begins to spin and be propelled by the wind, rolling throughout the desert.

Through this vertiginous movement, it manages to water the seeds so that more steppe cursors are born, grow and keep rolling through the desert. While they develop this activity, they start small and can become as big as a car.

The titanca (Puya raimondii)

In Peru and Bolivia where there is a large extension of the Andean steppe. This a plant that looks like a giant pineapple. When it reaches one hundred years, it blooms first and then its fruit appears, ending its existence there in the dry climate.

This endangered plant has become a rare species, almost completely gone from many areas that were once its natural environment.

animal life 

For the fauna in these arid and desert climates, due to the inclement sun during the day and temperatures that vary at night, existence is very difficult. Every day they must protect themselves from whoever their predator is in order to survive. Going to have a completely sacrificed existence and adaptation to the habitat of the dry climate.

Different species of animals have to adapt to heat, lack of water and food shortages. They defend themselves from the dry climate, with nocturnal or twilight activity and states of complete lethargy during the hottest months, spending days without drinking water and looking for their food until nightfall.

Rattlesnake (Crotalus cerastes)

The name of this snake owes it to a rattle at the end of the tail, which curiously she cannot hear, because she is deaf, this movement of her tail becoming a reflex. There are 32 recognized types, when looking at them together, their skin patterns may vary, but they all have a triangular shaped head.

Its bell is made of keratin, the same material that human nails and hair are made of. His ability to survive in these extreme climates is that he is able to camouflage himself. 

Their diet is made up of meat from small land animals, such as lizards and rodents.

Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus)

It is a lizard that is usually yellow and brown, this color varies according to the ground where it is to camouflage itself, making it easier to hide in that harsh desert climate. Its presence is typical of dry climates and is the size of a human hand.

It has a cone-shaped hump covered with spines on the back of its head that it uses to protect itself from its hunters. That hump is a false head, when they attack it, it can be torn off and the lizard escapes leaving the predator confused.

Coyote (Canis latrans)

It comes from the canine family and is often confused with wolves. There are more than 15 different species. These animals are monogamous. Coyote packs are not common, but if the youngest survive, they stay with their parents when they reach maturity.

Its physical characteristics is that it has a coat, which varies between brown colors, together with shades of gray or rusty black. It is distinguished because it is slender and has yellow eyes. It is an animal with a great capacity for adaptation, which is why it has extended its habitat in a surprising way and they are generally found in all the desert areas of South America and North America.

They are predators mainly of rabbits, different types of rodents and in some cases they have been seen attacking larger animals in packs, such as deer. It possesses a keen sense of sight, smell, and hearing for hunting, which it uses in the dark of night to sneak up on its prey.

Corsac fox (Vulpes corsac)

Territorially located in the Mongolian steppe. This animal has a reddish-gray coloration of hair with long legs, its face is short, pointed and with large ears. It is a good hunter and is omnivorous. It has good hearing, sense of smell and sight.

Unlike other foxes, these are more sociable, being able to share an area with other families of the same species. Families may hunt together once the pups are old enough. They mate between January and March, within 50 to 60 days, they give birth to 2 to 6 young at a time.

They may have migratory habits and move south when food is scarce.

Steppe saker falcon (Falco cherrug)

This bird remains in the areas of southeastern Europe and Asia, being a migratory bird to Kazakhstan and central Asia in the winter. It has a large size, with immense eyes that stand out on its face, reaching between 45 and 50 centimeters high. Its beak is hook-shaped.

It is the predator of mammals such as rats, weasels, field mice, stoats, squirrels and birds, being very fierce hunters. They acquire a speed on their prey that is around 300 kilometers per hour. 

They often attack prey that is larger than themselves. The female falcons are even more ferocious than the males and bigger too.

Bison (Bison bison)

The area of ​​this animal is Europe and North America, in fact the species are known as: the European bison and the North American bison.

Planters and hunters have waged a fierce persecution that has brought this species to the brink of extinction. Until the mid-XNUMXth century, huge herds of American bison used to run across the prairies. In the United States there are currently large reserves with protection plans to prevent their extinction.

As for Europe, the European bison has almost become extinct, decimated by hunting and the disappearance of its habitat, there are currently only 25 controlled species in the forests of Belarus and Poland. They live in two herds, which are compromising their future, because the genetic load that has been maintained since 1920 has not shown a diversity that allows them to survive.

The content of the article adheres to our principles of editorial ethics. To report an error click here.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *



  1. Responsible for the data: Actualidad Blog
  2. Purpose of the data: Control SPAM, comment management.
  3. Legitimation: Your consent
  4. Communication of the data: The data will not be communicated to third parties except by legal obligation.
  5. Data storage: Database hosted by Occentus Networks (EU)
  6. Rights: At any time you can limit, recover and delete your information.