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Desert Climate

There are two main types of desert in the world-the hot desert and the semidesert. The hot desert is usually near the equator. A hot desert is usually the sandy-Egyptian type of desert. The semi-desert looks like a scrubland. The semidesert is the one you usually see on westerns. Deserts are formed when something gets in the way of rain clouds. This can be caused by winds or mountains. Some deserts are near oceans. The Mediterranean Sea is near the Sahara desert. California is another good example of a desert by the sea. Deserts by bodies of water are usually caused by winds. Mountains also play a roll in forming deserts. A rain soaked wind could be strolling along, planning a day in the desert, when WHAM! a big old mountain jumps in front them. Then the angry cloud might say, "Where the heck did that mouintain come from?" Being really mad, the cloud will drop all of his rain in order to get over the mountain, where he can raise a big windstorm in the desert. A good place to find plenty of mountains jumping up in front of innocent clouds is by the Himalayas. A cloud trying to visit his relatives in Mongolia might run into the Himalayas. Being a very angry cloud, he would drop all of his rain right on India, leaving everything behind the Himalayas, like the Gobi desert dry.

When most people think of the desert, they think of camels, snakes and lizards as being the only animals that live in the desert. Really, there are many more animals living in the desert. There are coyotes, foxes, peccaries, tarantulas, scorpions, ring tailed cats, antelope, skunks, mule deer, boars, and in some places, lions and elephants. There is an abundance of small animals that support the deserts population of hawks, falcons, owls, roadrunners, buzzards, and eagles. Wood peckers make their homes in the large cactuses. Here in the Oregon desert, you can find bobcats and chipmunks and woodchucks among the sycamores. Most of the animals that live in the deserts have adapted to the desert life very well. All desert dwellers have adapted to conserve water, food and energy. The camel is an example. The camel is one of the best survivors in the desert. The camel stores fat in its hump. Camels have long legs to keep the sands heat away and long hair to keep the cold desert nights warmer. Some animals have special eyelids that they can see through to keep the sand out during a sand storm. No matter what the animal, each one has a special adaptation.

Types of desert

The Thar Desert near Jaisalmer, India

High desert in Eastern Oregon, United States The Agasthiyamalai hills cut off Tirunelveli (India) from the monsoons, creating a rainshadow region

In 1953, Peveril Meigs divided desert regions on Earth into three categories according to the amount of precipitation they received. In this now widely accepted system, extremely arid lands have at least 12 consecutive months without rainfall, arid lands have less than 250 millimeters (10 in) of annual rainfall, and semiarid lands have a mean annual precipitation of between 250 and 500 millimeters (10-20 in). Arid and extremely arid lands are deserts, and semiarid grasslands are generally referred to as steppes.[1] Measurement of rainfall alone cannot provide an accurate definition of what a desert is because being arid also depends on evaporation, which depends in part on temperature. For example, Phoenix, Arizona receives less than 250 millimeters (10 in) of precipitation per year, and is immediately recognized as being located in a desert due to its arid adapted plants. However, the

North Slope of Alaska's Brooks Range also receives less than 250 millimeters (10 in) of precipitation per year, and is not generally recognized as a desert region.[citation needed] Potential evapotranspiration supplements the measurement of rainfall in providing a scientific measurement-based definition of a desert. The water budget of an area can be calculated using the formula P-PES, wherein P is precipitation, PE is potential evapotranspiration rates and S is amount of surface storage of water. Evapotranspiration is the combination of water loss through atmospheric evaporation and through the life processes of plants. Potential evapotranspiration, then, is the amount of water that could evaporate in any given region. As an example, Tucson, Arizona receives about 300 millimeters, (12 in), of rain per year, however about 2500 millimeters, (100 in), of water could evaporate over the course of a year.[citation needed] In other words, about 8 times more water could evaporate from the region than actually falls. Rates of evapotranspiration in cold regions such as Alaska are much lower because of the lack of heat to aid in the evaporation process. There are different forms of deserts. Cold deserts can be covered in snow or ice; frozen water unavailable to plant life. These are more commonly referred to as tundra if a short season of above-freezing temperatures is experienced, or as an ice cap if the temperature remains below freezing year-round, rendering the land almost completely lifeless. Most non-polar deserts are hot in the day and chilly at night (for the latitude) because of the lack of the moderating effect of water. In some parts of the world, deserts are created by a rain shadow effect in which air masses lose much of their moisture as they move over a mountain range; other areas are arid by virtue of being very far from the nearest available sources of moisture. Deserts are also classified by their geographical location and dominant weather pattern as trade wind, mid-latitude, rain shadow, coastal, monsoon, or polar deserts. Former desert areas presently in non-arid environments are paleodeserts. Montane deserts are arid places with a very high altitude; the most prominent example is found north of the Himalaya especially in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, in parts of the Kunlun Mountains and the Tibetan Plateau. Many locations within this category have elevations exceeding 3,000 meters (10,000 ft) and the thermal regime can be hemiboreal. These places owe their profound aridity (the average annual precipitation is often less than 40 mm/1.5in) to being very far from the nearest available sources of moisture. Montane deserts are normally cold. Rain shadow deserts form when tall mountain ranges block clouds from reaching areas in the direction the wind is going. As the air moves over the mountains, it cools and moisture condenses, causing precipitation on the windward side. When that air reaches the leeward side, it is dry because it has lost the majority of its moisture, resulting in a desert. The air then warms, expands, and blows across the desert. The warm, desiccated air takes with it any remaining moisture in the desert.

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Sahara by NASA World Wind

A natural rock arch in south western Libya

The Sahara in Algeria. The Sahara (Arabic: ,a-ar al-kubra, "The Greatest Desert") is the secondlargest desert on Earth after Antarctica, and it is the world's largest hot desert. At over 9,000,000 square kilometers (3,500,000 sq mi), it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as the continent of Europe. The desert stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean. To the south, it is delimited by the Sahel: a belt of semi-arid tropical savanna separating the Sahara from Sub-Saharan Africa. The Sahara has an intermittent history that may go back as much as 3 million years.[1] Some of the sand dunes can reach 180 meters (600 ft) in height.[2] The name comes from the Arabic word for desert: ( ), "ar" ( ( helpinfo)).[3][4]