Dry Climates (Group B)

The Dry Climates (Group B) have less precipitation than evaporation. Dry climate zones cover about 26 percent of the world’s land area. What climate characteristics is the dry climate group likely to have?

  • Temperature: Abundant sunshine. Summer temperatures are high; winters are cooler and longer than Tropical Moist climates
  • Rainfall: Irregular; several years of drought are often followed by a single year of abundant rainfall


Arid or Desert (BW)

a desert devoid of vegetationLow-latitude (or subtropical) deserts are found between 15º to 30º N and S latitudes. This is where warm dry air sinks in the subtropical high pressure zones. True deserts make up around 12 percent of the world’s lands.

In the Sonoran Desert of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, skies are clear. The typical weather is extremely hot summer days and cold winter nights. Although annual rainfall is less than 25 cm (10 inches), rain falls during two seasons. Pacific storms bring winter rains and monsoons bring summer rains. Since organisms do not have to go too many months without some rain, a unique group of plants and animals can survive in the Sonoran desert.

Midlatitude deserts are found in the rainshadow areas on the leeward side of mountain ranges.

Semi-Arid or Steppe (BS)

An open field with short vegetationSemi-arid regions, called steppe, are found in both subtropical and midlatitude locations and are caused by either STH pressure or rainshadow, similar to deserts. They are somewhat wetter, though. In subtropical areas they receive about 15 to 30 inches of precipitation, and  about 10 to 20 inches in midlatitude regions. The annual temperature range may be large. Steppe biomes are dominated by short grasses.

In the United States, the Great Plains and the Great Basin are midlatitude steppe climate.

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