Semiarid

It's not quite a desert, but it is a dry climate!

Climate Location

Semiarid regions, also called steppes, are mid-latitude climates found between 30° -55° North and South latitude. They are usually located at the edges of deserts. Most often, these regions are limited to the interiors of large land masses. A good example of a typical steppe location would be the Great Plains of the United States.

Yearly Precipitation

In the driest semiarid regions, there can be less than 10 cm of rainfall per year. Other steppes have been known to receive about 50 cm of rainfall. Steppes are dry, but receive enough rainfall for grasses and low bushes to grow well.

Seasons and Temperature Range

Semiarid regions have all four seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter. Summers in a steppe are warm and can reach very high, hot temperatures. Their winters remain extremely cold. These areas have a temperature range of around 31°C (56°F).

Factors Affecting Climate

Many semiarid regions are surrounded by mountains, blocking moist ocean air masses. A rain shadow is a result. Thus, the climate is drier. These same mountains also trap polar air masses. This leads to cold winters. These climates are found only towards the middle of landmasses as well, so the climate is drier still. The latitude of a semiarid region is not high enough to result in permanent cold weather, but neither is it low enough to result in a year-round warm climate.