Climate Adaptations Significance to humans Seasons Animals Plants
Trade wind deserts The trade winds in two belts on the equatorial sides of the Horse Latitudes heat up as they move toward the Equator. These dry winds dissipate cloud cover, allowing more sunlight to heat the land. Most of the major deserts of the world lie in areas crossed by the trade winds. The worlds largest desert, the Sahara of North Africa, which has experienced temperatures as high as 57° C, is a trade wind desert. The Sahara of Africa is the worlds largest desert. It contains complex linear dunes that are separated by almost 6 kilometers. (Skylab photograph).
The Sahara of Africa is the worldslargest desert. It contains complexlinear dunes that are separated byalmost 6 kilometers. (Skylabphotograph).
Midlatitude deserts Midlatitude deserts occur between 30° and 50° N. and S., poleward of the subtropical highpressure zones. These deserts are in interior drainage basins far from oceans and have a wide range of annual temperatures. The Sonoran Desert of southwestern North America is a typical midlatitude desert.
A rare rain in the Tengger, a midlatitude desert of China, exposes ripples and a small blowout on the left. Winds will shortly cover or remove these features.
Rain shadow deserts are formed because tall mountain ranges prevent moisture-rich clouds from reaching areas on the lee, or protected side, of the range. As air rises over the mountain, water is precipitated and the air loses its moisture content. A desert is formed in the leeside "shadow" of the range.
This Landsat image shows the Turpan Depression in the rainshadow desert of the Tian Shan of China. A sand sea is in thelower center on the right, but desert pavement, gray in color, dominates this desert. The few oases in the desert and thevegetation in the mountains at the top are in red. A blanket ofsnow separates the vegetation in the Tian Shan from the rain shadow desert.
Like many desert animals, red kangaroos prefer to sleep in the day, when the desert is at it’s hottest, and wake up at nighttime, when it is actually very cold. That explains why many animals have fur, even in hot deserts.
An addax has long horns. No two addax look the same. They all have brown hair, but their skin tones vary. Addax never drink water! Instead they get all the liquid they need from the food they eat.
The desert larks’ feathers are a light brown color, which means that it is well camouflaged in the desert sand
Many plants are found in the desert. They usually grow close to the ground. These plants have special parts that help them save water. The special parts are: thick stem, shallow and wide roots, and thick skin covered with spines instead of leaves
There are several plants that are able to survive in thedesert.Most plants survive by their long roots to reachunderground water sources.Prickly PearA Variety of cactusesDragon TreeOctillo PlantDesert SpoonBoojum
To avoid the heat, people in deserts have to dress up carefully : The long, flowing robes shield the skin from the sun and allow air to reach the body. The clothes are loose-fitting to prevent immediate sweat evaporation so that the body does not dehydrate so quickly in the very dry air. Headgear shields the head from the sun. Veils protect the face and keep the sand out of the mouth. The clothes also keep the people warm at night and in winter
ANTARTIC DESERT With a whooping 14.0 million square kilometers, Antarctica is the largest desert in the world. Situated in the Antarctic region of the southern hemisphere, this desert is also the fifth largest of the seven continents of the world. An amazing fact about Antarctica is that it increases in its size during winter, due to the build up of sea ice around the coasts. More than 99% of the area is covered with ice and as on 21st July, 1983, the lowest temperature which was recorded in this continent was a chilling -89.2°C.
The largest of all the hot deserts around the world, andcovering an area of 9,400,000 square kilometers, is theSahara desert. It is known to be inhabited by 4 millionpeople. In its northern parts, the desert has a sub tropicalclimate and in the south, a tropical one. Some of the sanddunes found in this region are known to be as high as 590ft. The Sahara desert plants includegrass, succulents, shrubs and trees. Fauna in the Saharadesert comprise dromedary camels and goats (thedomesticated ones), deathstalker Scorpion, secretarybird, pale fox, spotted hyena, fennec fox, Nubianbustards, addax, the Sahara cheetah, monitorlizards, Sand vipers, hyrax, and ostrich.
The second largest desert in North America, the Chihuahuadesert covers a large area of about 362,600 square kilometers;making it rank third among the largest deserts of the WesternHemisphere. The desert has a mild temperature which rangesfrom 35 - 400C. Unlike other deserts, it is biologically more diverseand includes plants such as agave, creosote bush, mesquitetree, prickly pear, sotol, peyote and lechuguilla to name a few. Ithas a wide range of animal species ranging from desertcottontail, black-tailed jack rabbit, cactus mouse, kit fox, cactuswren to greater road runner. Reptiles include Mojaverattlesnake, coachwhip snake, new Mexican whiptail lizard,spinys, horned, collared and geckos. Red-spotted toads andbarred tiger salamander can also be found on this desert.
Also known as the Great Indian desert, the Thardesert occupies an area of more than 200,000 squarekilometers. Most of it is in the Indian state ofRajasthan, and runs into the southern portion ofHaryana and Punjab. Desert animals such as theGreat Indian Bustard, the black buck, the IndianGazelle and the Indian Wild ass are found here.Eagles, harriers, falcons, buzzards, etc., are amongthe many species of birds that are commonly spottedin this region. The deserts wide variety of floraincludes many types of tree species, small trees andshrubs and herbs.
This desert covers an area of 2,300,000 square kilometers, and stretches from Yemen to the Persian Gulf and Oman to Jordan and Iraq. Calligonum crinitum, cornulaca Arabica, cyperus conglomeratus are the typical plants of this desert. The wildlife in this extreme environment include dromedary camel, gazelles, sand cats, oryx, spiny-tailed lizards, monitor lizard and Arabian cobra.
Southern Nevada, Western Arizona, SouthwesternUtah, and Southeastern California come within theMojave desert, which covers an area of 25,000square kilometers. Plants which have adaptedthemselves to the environment of the desert arejoshua tree, pinyon pine, mesquite, California juniperand many other types of cactus and shrubs. Thedesert has a wide range of animals and birds;common examples include gopher snake,hummingbird, kangaroo rat, Mojave greenrattlesnake, Mojave ground squirrel, rosy boa,tarantula, and Western Diamondback Rattlesnake toname a few.