Research Topic

Environmental Change in Drylands: Past, Present, Future

About this Research Topic

Dryland environments, spanning hyper-arid to sub-humid climates, cover ~40% of the terrestrial surface, host some 40% of the world’s human population, and are characterized by considerable seasonal and inter-annual variations in precipitation. Climatic and environmental variability in drylands has been a key ...

Dryland environments, spanning hyper-arid to sub-humid climates, cover ~40% of the terrestrial surface, host some 40% of the world’s human population, and are characterized by considerable seasonal and inter-annual variations in precipitation. Climatic and environmental variability in drylands has been a key characteristic over a range of timescales from the Quaternary into the Anthropocene. Aspects include glacial to interglacial-paced impacts on temperature and hydroclimate; precessional-insolation forcing of global monsoon systems; teleconnections with millennial-scale climate events deriving from the North Atlantic; and desertification. Climatic oscillations have influenced dryland landscapes, ecology and hominin populations. Dryland responses to climatic variation are recorded in landforms (geoproxies) and in the sediments themselves, including biomarkers, soils and chemical precipitates such as speleothems, mound springs and tufas.

This Research Topic focuses on showcasing innovative new approaches to interpreting archives of environmental change in drylands. The landscape processes in the drylands are dynamic and usually respond nonlinearly to climate change and other external forcing. The interpretation of the sedimentary archives such as aeolian, lacustrine deposits and many others can be complex, and not as straightforward as previously thought. It also reveals the complex arid landscape dynamics in response to external forcing. The study of developing new proxies, new interpretation of multi-proxies, improving chronological controls, integrating with numerical models and process-informed paleoenvironmental reconstruction would be crucial to improve the use of geoproxy records, and for better understating the environmental change history in drylands.

We welcome manuscripts discussing new proxies, geochronology, age modelling, and model-data integration. Developments in proxies include records from soils (sediment production and soil dynamics), biomarkers preserved in dryland sediments, and interpretations of geoproxies. Manuscripts addressing environmental change and landscape dynamics in the drylands at present and in the future are also welcomed.


Keywords: drylands, arid zone, aeolian environmental change, climate change impact, land desertification and rehabilitation


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

07 January 2022 Manuscript
07 February 2022 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

07 January 2022 Manuscript
07 February 2022 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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