Impacts of land degradation on historical temperature records from the Sonoran desert

Robert Balling, Jeffrey M. Klopatek, Mark L. Hildebrandt, Cherie K. Moritz, Christopher J. Watts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Previous research revealed that severe overgrazing and resultant land degradation in the semiarid areas of northern Mexico created significantly higher temperatures in the border area. In this investigation, the temperature and precipitation records from ten 'homogeneous' stations are identified in the add and hyperarid areas of northwest Sonora and are compared with the records from ten stations in southwestern Arizona. Our data show that the Mexican stations are again consistently warmer than the Arizona stations when statistical controls are applied to correct for the linear or nonlinear effects of latitude and/or elevation. The stations in Sonora warm at a statistically significantly faster pace than the stations in Arizona during the study period. Furthermore, and consistent with other dryland areas undergoing land degradation, the stations in Sonora reveal a significant increase in the diurnal temperature range during the summer season. Local precipitation reduces the temperature differential between nations on the time scale of days, but enhances the differential on the time scale of months and seasons. Among other findings, the results show how land degradation in dryland areas appears to influence local historical temperature records.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)669-681
Number of pages13
JournalClimatic Change
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Atmospheric Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Impacts of land degradation on historical temperature records from the Sonoran desert'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this