In some deserts, temperatures rise so high that people are at risk of dehydration and even death. imaginary line around the Earth, another planet, or star running east-west, 0 degrees latitude. Deserts are usually created because they are located in a rain shadow -- a dry region downwind of mountain ranges caused by air losing its moisture as it passes over mountains. The rain can be unreliable. The causes of desertification – climate change and human impact; distribution of areas at risk; impact on ecosystems, landscapes and populations. Mexican access to the Colorado, which has its delta in the Mexican state of Baja California, was ignored. Fossils and artifacts show that lime and olive trees, oaks, and oleanders once bloomed in the Sahara. Deserts may seem lifeless, but in fact many species have evolved special ways to survive in the harsh environments. An oasis is fed by underwater streams and often occurs in a low enough area so that the water table can be tapped. Carbon dioxide is also the byproduct of burning fossil fuels. However, the Antarctica, which is a polar Animals that have adapted to a desert environment are called xerocoles. Turbans are also much longer—up to six meters (20 feet)!Desert dwellers have also adapted their shelters for the unique climate. Between 1958 and 1971, the government of Egypt constructed a massive dam on the Upper Nile (the southern part of the river, near Egypt’s border with Sudan). Death Valley, the lowest and driest place in North America, is in the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Communities, governments, and organizations are working to preserve desert habitats and increase desert productivity. arid area found on the leeward side of mountain ranges. [ dĕz ′ərt ] A large, dry, barren region, usually having sandy or rocky soil and little or no vegetation. Define desert. Some xerocoles avoid the sun by resting in scarce shade. Where does the phrase just deserts come from? For example, consider the desert city of Palm Springs, California. It is the spread of arid areas caused by a variety of factors, such as climate change (particularly the current global warming) and overexploitation of soil as a result of human activity. Camels are very efficient water users. Andrew Turgeon, Mary Crooks, National Geographic Society structure that serves to interrupt an air current or flow of wind. Melissa McDaniel Daytime temperatures in the Chihuahua can climb beyond 37°C (100°F), while nighttime temperatures can dip below freezing (0°C or 32°F). steady, predictable flow of fluid within a larger body of that fluid. Sustainability Policy |  The Sahara Desert crept 100 kilometers (39 miles) south between 1950 and 1975. small flow of water flowing naturally from an underground water source. large region that is higher than the surrounding area and relatively flat. They are hard, rock covered areas. National Geographic Environment: Desert Landscapes. Deserts may seem lifeless, but in fact many species have evolved special ways to survive in the harsh environments. Deserts are generally thought of as being places where very little rain falls. Dunes: Mounds of loose sand grains shaped up by the wind. Areas facing reduced precipitation include areas with some of the largest deserts in the world: North Africa (Sahara), the American Southwest (Sonoran and Chihuahuan), the southern Andes (Patagonia), and western Australia (Great Victoria). For example, consider the desert city of Palm Springs, California. A water-rich ecosystem that can be found in the desert is called an oasis. community and interactions of living and nonliving things in an area. Hooves from grazing livestock compact the soil, preventing it from absorbing water and fertilizers. It does not rain or snow a lot there. A jackrabbit’s long ears contain blood vessels that release heat. Roads and buildings were washed away, and more than 100 people died.Even in a desert, water and wind eventually wear away softer rock. Most desert birds are restricted to areas near water, such as river banks. Seven states—Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, and California—rely on the river for some of their water supply. Officially a desert is an area that gets less than 10 inches of precipitation a year. Corrections? When rare, heavy rains flood the deserts, rocks and sand are swept away. The potential evapotranspiration may be large but (in the absence of available water) the actual evapotranspiration may be close to zero. Updates? Weathering. People and the DesertAbout 1 billion people live in deserts. Sugar cane is a very water-intensive crop mostly harvested in tropical regions. Stocktrek Images / Getty Images. Desertification definition, the processes by which an area becomes a desert. science and methods of keeping clean and healthy. Dunes migrate constantly with the wind. Synonym Discussion of desert. to prepare and nurture the land for crops. Between 8000 and 3000 BCE, for example, the Sahara had a much milder, moister climate. Drilling into aquifers provides water for drinking, agriculture, industry, and hygiene. It gets an average of about five and a half inches of rain each year. The Nile provides the most reliable, plentiful source of freshwater in the region. Desert definition, a region so arid because of little rainfall that it supports only sparse and widely spaced vegetation or no vegetation at all: The Sahara is a vast sandy desert. A barren or desolate area, especially: a. In all deserts, there is little water available for plants and other organisms.Deserts are found on every continent and cover about one-fifth of Earth’s land area. Most experts agree that a desert is an area of land that receives no more than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of precipitation a year. If a media asset is downloadable, a download button appears in the corner of the media viewer. Lesson-1-location-of-deserts. The main types of deserts include hot and dry deserts, semi-arid deserts, coastal deserts, and cold deserts. They are found along the Tropic of Cancer, between 15 and 30 degrees north of the Equator, or along the Tropic of Capricorn, between 15 and 30 degrees south of the Equator. Comprehensive notes on key topics throughout the GCSE (14-16 Years Old) Geography studies. Underground water sometimes rises to the surface, forming springs or seeps. series or chain of mountains that are close together. to adjust to new surroundings or a new situation. Desert definition is - arid land with usually sparse vegetation; especially : such land having a very warm climate and receiving less than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of sporadic rainfall annually. long, loose robe or tunic made of thin cloth, usually white and worn by Arabic men. They occur in the Arctic, the Antarctic and Greenland, as well as above the tree lines of mountain ranges. Examples of hot deserts include the Sahara, which is in the continent of Africa, and the Australian desert. When moisture-laden air hits a mountain range, it is forced to rise. Their seeds may lie dormant for years during long dry spells. The temperature stays high even at night, making the city an “island” of heat in the middle of the desert. Sift through the sand (and these questions) and uncover the facts in this quiz about the world’s deserts. Almost the entire continent of Antarctica is a polar desert, experiencing little precipitation. If you have questions about licensing content on this page, please contact ngimagecollection@natgeo.com for more information and to obtain a license. The driest desert is the Atacama Desert … Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society. having to do with the study of ancient people and cultures. It is less pronounced in desert cities than cities built in heavily forested areas. Long-sleeved, full-length, and often white, these robes shield all but the head and hands from the wind, sand, heat, and cold. Then it might not rain again for months—or even years! Answers. person who studies artifacts and lifestyles of ancient cultures. complex way of life that developed as humans began to develop urban settlements. Over 50% of this area is deflated desert pavements. Windstorms in the Sahara hurl so much material into the air that African dust sometimes crosses the Atlantic Ocean. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. des‧ert1 /ˈdezət $ -ərt/ W3 noun 1 [ countable, uncountable] SG. This evidence includes rock paintings, graves, and tools. So desert plants typically have tiny, waxy leaves. Desert definition is - arid land with usually sparse vegetation; especially : such land having a very warm climate and receiving less than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of sporadic rainfall annually. 2. Also called a wadi. process by which liquid water becomes water vapor. the ease with which a place or thing can be reached from other places. Rising from the AshesThe desert city of Phoenix, Arizona, is named for the mythical desert bird that burns to death only to be reborn, rising from its own ashes. In 2011, Jeddah was struck by a sudden thunderstorm and flash flood. a dip or depression in the surface of the land or ocean floor. Hot and Cold DesertsThe largest hot desert in the world is the Sahara, which is 9 million square kilometers (3.5 million square miles). The largest hot desert in the world is the Sahara Desert in Africa, and the largest (non-Arctic) cold desert is the Gobi Desert in China. Economies are often molded by the location and cultures of which they are apart. Desertification, to put it plainly, is when land that was initially of another kind of biome transforms into a desert biome on account of changes of various types. Seeking greater economic opportunities, farmers in Madagascar engaged in slash-and-burn agriculture. Desert plants grow far apart, allowing them to obtain as much water around them as possible. Browse and study today! Winds at speeds of about 100 kilometers per hour (60 miles per hour) sweep through some deserts. The largest hot desert biome (the subtropical Sahara) stretches over 3.5 million square miles or 9 million square kilometers. (singular: stoma) tiny openings on the surface of leaves that control the exchange of gases in a plant. water droplets condensed from the atmosphere onto cool surfaces near the ground. In some cases, such foods might be available, but high prices make them unaffordable to some. The descending air hinders the formation of clouds, so very little rain falls on the land below. Average annual rainfall ranges from 6 to 10 inches but can be as low as 3.5 inches and as high as 18 inches. The Mojave Desert, in southern California and Nevada, for instance, is sinking due to aquifer depletion. Associate Professor of Geography and Planning, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales. Other desert plants have very deep roots. Atacama Desert. Deserts are dry, arid areas that receive very little rain. Antarctica is made up of lots of ice in the form of glaciers, ice shelves and icebergs greenhouse gas produced by animals during respiration and used by plants during photosynthesis. animal that feeds on grasses, trees, and shrubs. The world’s largest hot desert, the Sahara, is a subtropical desert in northern Africa. Although the word “desert” may bring to mind a sea of shifting sand, dunes cover only about 10 percent of the world’s deserts. People often overuse natural resources to survive and profit in the short term, while neglecting long-term sustainability. This heavy fog drifts onto land. If desert communities use groundwater faster than it is replenished, water shortages can occur. method of agriculture where trees and shrubs are cleared and burned to create cropland. Correct answer is A. desert. city area that is always warmer than the surrounding area. Also called the Wet Sahara. large, flat expanse of earth covered by a thick layer of salt left by an evaporated saline lake or pond. ecosystem with large, flat areas of grasses. Some xerocoles have bodies that help them handle the heat. system of production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Carry sand and dust across entire continents and even oceans but most of these bodies of water can as. Specific source tablelike formations such as an increase of pollution or humidity generally receive less than mm. 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