Encyclopedia of Engineering Geology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky, Brian Marker

Desert Environments

  • Martin StokesEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-73568-9_85

Definition

Environments with large contiguous areas and low vegetation cover due to dry conditions.

A desert can be defined by physical, biological, and climatological characteristics (UNEP 2006) with distinct hazards and engineering issues and solutions (Griffiths and Stokes 2012). Physically, they cover large surface areas with low vegetation cover developed into thin soils. Biologically, plants and animals are adapted for dry conditions. Climatologically, they are defined by moisture availability or temperature (Nash 2012). Moisture reflects (1) water supply via precipitation and (2) water loss from evaporation and plant transpiration, with classification into hyperarid, arid, semi-arid, and dry subhumid settings. Temperature regimes possess wide temporal variability, with classifications differentiating between hot/cold all year round and those with mild, cool or cold winters.

Desert Distribution and Controls

Deserts cover large areas of the Earth’s land surface (47%), as polar...

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References

  1. Fookes PG, Lee EM, Griffiths JS (2007) Engineering geomorphology: theory and practice. Whittles Publishing, Scotland, 281 pGoogle Scholar
  2. Griffiths JS, Stokes M (2012) Hazards and the desert ground model. In: Walker MJ (ed) Hot deserts: engineering, geology and geomorphology – engineering group working party report, Engineering geology special publications, vol 25. Geological Society, London, pp 97–142Google Scholar
  3. Griffiths JS, Fookes PG, Goudie AS, Stokes M (2012) Processes and landforms in deserts. In: Walker MJ (ed) Hot deserts: engineering, geology and geomorphology – engineering group working party report, Engineering geology special publications, vol 25. Geological Society, London, pp 33–95Google Scholar
  4. Nash DJ (2012) Desert environments. In: Walker MJ (ed) Hot deserts: engineering, geology and geomorphology – engineering group working party report, Engineering geology special publications, vol 25. Geological Society, London, pp 7–32Google Scholar
  5. UNEP (2006) Global deserts outlook. United Nations Environment Programme, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geography, Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of PlymouthPlymouthUK