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Desert Essay

1008 words - 5 pages

One of the most commonly referred and interesting Biomes in the world is the Desert. Located all throughout the world in arid regions, they cover over 18 million square kilometers. Deserts comprise of about 30% of Earth’s attainable land surface making it one of the largest accessible Biomes in the world. Most of the great deserts are centered on latitudes between 20 and 30 degrees North and South of the Equator, but also may be accessed where large mountain ranges produce intense rain shadows. One of the most commonly referred and greatest deserts is The Sahara located in North Africa stretching over an astounding 9 million square kilometers.
Some tropical portions of the desert biome can experience annual temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius which is very hot. The cold desert regions in North America, Central Asia, and South America can have an average temperature of 15 degrees Celsius with a difference of as much as 35 degrees Celsius between July and January. The deserts in high latitudes can experience freezing temperatures in the winter. Deserts are very unique severe moisture deficit which sets this apart from other biomes, and gives it its unique characteristic. The average annual precipitation in a desert biome is less than 50 cm per year but often less than 10 cm per year as you get further away from the equator. A unique statistic is that the Atacama Desert in Chile only averages only 0.4 cm of precipitation annually. In some parts of the world, specifically in Eastern Saharan Desert, it may experience no significant rainfall for 100 years making it harder for biotic and abiotic things to survive. Due to the ITCZ shifting to higher latitudes low latitudes generally receive their rain and also when Monsoon precipitation occurs.
When referring to the desert biome, many forms of vegetation can be found. You are able to fine scattered shrubs, herbs, and grasses within. Given a deserts unique dry arid climate, there is typically more bare ground than vegetation found within. The amount of vegetation cover in an area is linked to precipitation so the further away from the equator, the less vegetation you will discover. Desert biomes generally contain both perennial and annual plants. Given the unique quality of some pertaining sand, few plants can establish or persist on actively moving sand because of low moisture levels. In most arid deserts, plants are extremely rare and may only be found in very sheltered sites along valleys and rock crevasses. Split up into 5 areas of vegetation ranging from Aridosols to Oases there are few and far between.
Aridosols refer to the little weathered soils that are located in the Western portion of the United States with shallow, coarse or negligible organic matter. In this area you are able to find Alkaline and bands of calcium carbonate salts. Entisols on the other hand are found in Northern Africa where areas of active sand Dunne is found. These are areas of very poorly developed sand, and contain...

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