[106], Round the rims of deserts, where more precipitation occurred and conditions were more suitable, some groups took to cultivating crops. [39] A much smaller scale, short-lived phenomenon can occur in calm conditions when hot air near the ground rises quickly through a small pocket of cooler, low-pressure air above forming a whirling column of particles, a dust devil. The mechanism is little understood but the particles usually have a negative charge when their diameter is under 250 μm and a positive one when they are over 500 μm.[41][42]. The repeated fluctuations put a strain on exposed rock and the flanks of mountains crack and shatter. The desert lark takes frequent dust baths which ensures that it matches its environment. The largest hot desert in the world is the Sahara in North Africa. Few make it to adulthood. They include the Tengger and Sonoran Deserts. Clouds of sand or dust are often so dense that they obscure the sun. Deserts sometimes expand (desertification), and sometimes contract. There are over 669 biosphere reserves around the world in over 120 countries. During a Santa Ana, it is advised that boaters moor on the back side of the island to avoid the dangerous conditions of the front side. The Hohokam tribe constructed over 500 miles (800 km) of large canals and maintained them for centuries, an impressive feat of engineering. In the Sonoran Desert, Couch's spadefoot toad spends most of the year dormant in its burrow. Some animals remain in a state of dormancy for long periods, ready to become active again during the rare rainfall. They reduce visibility and can remain in the atmosphere for days on end, conveyed by the trade winds for distances of up to 6,000 km (3,700 mi). The North Slope of Alaska's Brooks Range also receives less than 250 mm (9.8 in) of precipitation per year and is often classified as a cold desert. Deserts of this type are often long and narrow and bounded to the east by mountain ranges. [62][63] Nevertheless, there is some plant life in the Atacama, in the form of specialist plants that obtain moisture from dew and the fogs that blow in from the Pacific. Rain falling in the cold season may be more effective at promoting plant growth, and defining the boundaries of deserts and the semiarid regions that surround them on the grounds of precipitation alone is problematic.[17]. In other words, they can have less rainfall in a year than they give up through evaporation".[5]. Other deserts are flat, stony plains where all the fine material has been blown away and the surface consists of a mosaic of smooth stones. It may be that after the sand and dust is blown away by the wind the stones jiggle themselves into place; alternatively, stones previously below ground may in some way work themselves to the surface. The necessary moisture may be present in the form of dew or mist. One well-studied example is the specializations of mammalian kidneys shown by desert-inhabiting species. Biosphere reserves are the areas of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems which promote the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use. [7], barren area of land where little precipitation occurs, "Even the driest place on Earth has water", "Two dry for life: the Atacama Desert and Mars", https://simple.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Desert&oldid=7047957, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License. [88] Mammals living in cold deserts have developed greater insulation through warmer body fur and insulating layers of fat beneath the skin. Saguaro grows slowly but may live for up to two hundred years. When rain falls, the water is rapidly absorbed by the shallow roots and retained to allow them to survive until the next downpour, which may be months or years away. The Gobi Desert in Central Asia is one of the coldest deserts in the world. Some plants have resolved this problem by adopting crassulacean acid metabolism, allowing them to open their stomata during the night to allow CO2 to enter, and close them during the day,[68] or by using C4 carbon fixation.

Frost is not uncommon in the desert but, due to the very dry condition year round, snow is rare. [17][18] Arid deserts receive between 25 and 200 mm (1 and 8 in) in a year and semiarid deserts between 200 and 500 mm (8 and 20 in). Dust storms usually start in desert margins rather than the deserts themselves where the finer materials have already been blown away. They occur in regions where large temperature differences occur between sea and land. [34], As the mountains are eroded, more and more sand is created. [100] A desert especially rich in mineral salts is the Atacama Desert, Chile, where sodium nitrate has been mined for explosives and fertilizer since around 1850. Kangaroos keep cool by increasing their respiration rate, panting, sweating and moistening the skin of their forelegs with saliva.

[38] In a study of a dust storm in China in 2001, it was estimated that 6.5 million tons of dust were involved, covering an area of 134,000,000 km2 (52,000,000 sq mi). [30] Chemical weathering processes probably play a more important role in deserts than was previously thought. [129] Antoine de Saint-Exupéry described both his flying and the desert in Wind, Sand and Stars[130] and Gertrude Bell travelled extensively in the Arabian desert in the early part of the 20th century, becoming an expert on the subject, writing books and advising the British government on dealing with the Arabs. [2] Various episodes of hot, dry winds have been described over this history as dust storms, hurricane-force winds, and violent north-easters, damaging houses and destroying fruit orchards. Leaching by ground water can extract ore minerals and redeposit them, according to the water table, in concentrated form. This area of deposited clay, silt or sand is known as a playa. These kinds of areas can cover about 33% of the land on Earth. Like other desert animals, the camel loses little water in its wastes (urine and feces). Other articles where Cold desert is discussed: desert: Environment: cold deserts occur in temperate regions at higher latitudes—and therefore colder temperatures—than those at which hot deserts are found. Meteor. [26], Polar deserts such as McMurdo Dry Valleys remain ice-free because of the dry katabatic winds that flow downhill from the surrounding mountains. The seed of the mesquite tree, which grows in deserts in the Americas, is hard and fails to sprout even when planted carefully. [86] Carnivores can obtain much of their water needs from the body fluids of their prey. The wind shows us how close to the edge we are. However, the size and harshness of the terrain meant that all supplies needed to be brought in from great distances.

[110] Geological processes in a desert climate can concentrate minerals into valuable deposits. [19] Like arid deserts, temperatures can vary greatly in semi deserts. The Santa Ana winds are personified in The CW musical series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend as a prankster narrator responsible for main characters and enemies Rebecca and Nathaniel kissing for the first time. The deserts of North America have more than one hundred playas, many of them relics of Lake Bonneville which covered parts of Utah, Nevada and Idaho during the last ice age when the climate was colder and wetter. [136] Examination of the surface of rocks by laser beamed from the Mars Exploration Rover have shown a surface film that resembles the desert varnish found on Earth although it might just be surface dust.

[112] It has been found that plant growth-promoting bacteria play a role in increasing the resistance of plants to stress conditions and these rhizobacterial suspensions could be inoculated into the soil in the vicinity of the plants. [100] Other desert minerals are copper from Chile, Peru, and Iran, and iron and uranium in Australia. The Santa Ana winds and the accompanying raging wildfires have been a part of the ecosystem of the Los Angeles Basin for over 5,000 years, dating back to the earliest habitation of the region by the Tongva and Tataviam peoples. Species such as the addax antelope,[84] dik-dik, Grant's gazelle and oryx are so efficient at doing this that they apparently never need to drink. The water budget of an area can be calculated using the formula P − PE ± S, wherein P is precipitation, PE is potential evapotranspiration rates and S is the amount of surface storage of water. [65] Seepages may occur in the walls of canyons and pools may survive in deep shade near the dried up watercourse below. Where these lie close to the surface, wells can be dug and oases may form where plant and animal life can flourish. These larger particles anchor the other particles in place and may also be packed together on the surface so as to form a miniature desert pavement. [citation needed], During the Santa Ana winds, large ocean waves can develop. [98], Humans have long made use of deserts as places to live,[99] and more recently have started to exploit them for minerals[100] and energy capture. Rates of evapotranspiration in cold regions such as Alaska are much lower because of the lack of heat to aid in the evaporation process. They travelled over large areas with their herds, moving to new pastures as seasonal and erratic rainfall encouraged new plant growth.

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