A comprehensive review of dryland climates and their relationship to the physical environment, hydrology, and inhabitants. Chapters are divided into four major sections on background meteorology and climatology; the nature of dryland climates in relation to precipitation and hydrology; the climatology and climate dynamics of the major dryland regions on each continent; and an extensive review of long-term climate variability in the world's drylands. It includes key topics such as vegetation, geomorphology, desertification, micro-habitats, and adaptation to dryland environments.
This interdisciplinary volume provides an extensive review of the primary literature (covering over 2500 references) and the conventional and satellite datasets that form key research tools for dryland climatology. Illustrated with over 100 photographs, it presents a unique view of dryland climates for a broad spectrum of researchers, environmental professionals and advanced students in climatology, meteorology, geography, environment science, earth system science, ecology, hydrology and geomorphology.
Part I. The Dryland Environment
1. Introduction to dryland environments
2. The geomorphologic background
3. Vegetation of the dryland regions
Part II. The Meteorological Background
4. The general atmospheric circulation
5. The global distribution of arid climates and rainfall
6. Radiation, heat and surface exchange processes
7. Water balance
Part III. The Climatic Environment of Drylands
9. Defining aridity: the classification and character of dryland climates
10. Desert microclimate
11. Precipitation in the drylands
12. Hydrologic processes in the drylands
13. Desert winds and dust
Part IV. The Earth's Dry Lands
14. North America
15. South America
16. Subsaharan Africa
17. The Mediterranean lands
20. Coastal deserts
Part V. Life and Change in the Dryland Regions
21. Drought and other hazards
23. People in the dryland environments
24. Plant and animal life in the desert
25. Climatic variability and climatic change
Sharon Nicholson is a Professor of Meteorology at Florida State University, where she holds the rank of Distinguished Research Professor and also serves as the H. and K. Lettau Professor of Climatology. She has previously held positions at the University of Bonn (West Germany), Clark University (Massachusetts), and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (Colorado). She is acknowledged as an international expert on the climate of arid and semi-arid regions, having been active in arid lands research for 40 years, and is best known for her work on climatic variability in Africa. Professor Nicholson's work has been acknowledged by awards and medals from the American Meteorological Society and the Royal Meteorological Society of the UK. Her photographic skills have seen her placed as finalist in the National Geographic Travel Photography Contest and the American Geophysical Union's Geophysical Images Competition.
"Dryland Climatology provides the tools for an integrated understanding of the major drivers and effects of dryland climates [and] is much more than a traditional climatology monograph [...] Written by a leading climatologist with decades of active research in arid environments, this unique book addresses a readership of students, researchers, and practitioners in the fields of dryland science [...] I strongly recommend this topical book for graduate and advanced undergraduate courses and as a reference for research on dryland climates and arid landscapes."
– Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union
"Dryland Climatology presents a unique view of dryland climates from a broad perspective. The author, Sharon Nicholson, draws together over 30 years of her research in drylands to provide a comprehensive, 500-plus-page review of dryland climates [...] comprehensive yet skilfully crafted to explain detailed and complex concepts in an easy-to-follow manner [...] this volume has been very carefully thought through and nicely presented. [It] is a must for anybody interested in dryland systems and certainly reaches audiences far beyond the title."
– Adrian G. Parker, The Holocene