Hadley Cells and deserts

Much of the geological literature presumes that thick sequences of bedded Phanerozoic evaporites accumulated in hot arid zones of the world tied to the distribution of the world’s deserts  located beneath regions of descending cool dry air tied to Hadley Cell circulation in a latitudinal belt that is typically located 15 to 45 degrees north or south of the equator. As this sinking cool air mass approaches the landsurface beneath the descending arm of a Hadley Cell it warms, and so its moisture-carrying capacity increases. Today in Africa and Australia more than 60% of the land-surface is desert and the areas are increasing.

Across the Phanerozoic, the larger deserts are generally tied  two climate belts that were maintained by sub-tropical (Hadley Cell) positions and separated by a tropical equatorial belt. But at the time of Pangaea (mid Permian to Jurassic) when the world had a single landmass (supercontinent) the two subtropical belts merged into a single arid to hyperarid zone across the continental interior.

 

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