Drylands, particularly in the developing countries are highly affected by climate change. Major devastating changes are expected to happen in drylands’ area, ecosystem structures, productivity and socioeconomic characteristics. Into this context, this study aimed at investigating drylands’ socioeconomic and biophysical characteristics and assess its vulnerability to changes in temperature and rainfall. The Northern Jordan Valley region, Palestine, was selected as a pilot study area due to its importance at all levels. Direct meetings and a questionnaire were used to collect socioeconomic and agricultural data over the period February-July/2019. Soil samples were collected from representative fields in the study area to test the major soil chemical properties. A large climatic dataset (1970-2019) was analyzed to investigate changes in rainfall and temperature.
According to questionnaires, the average households’ monthly income in the study area was in the range US$ 440-900. A significant portion of households’ monthly income was spent on water for domestic and agricultural purposes. Water harvesting was a predominant activity due to water scarcity in the study area. The chemical analysis of the soil samples revealed that the salinity in the irrigated area was more likely a result of the farmers' agricultural practices. Analysis of climatic data of the Northern Jordan Valley announced a reduction in annual rainfall by 4.5 mm/ decade during the period 1970-2019. In addition, the average monthly values of maximum and minimum temperatures of the same period have exceeded the long-term monthly average of maximum and minimum temperatures in the study area. These changes in rainfall and temperature has exaggerated water scarcity in the study area, and provides a strong evidence on climate change in the region. The high vulnerability of Northern Jordan Valley region to climate change has strongly impacted the livelihoods' of its inhabitants and forced many people to immigrate.