Extra Credit Deserts
Approximately a third of the Earth’s land surface is made up of some kind of desert with very little rainfall and vegetation. Deserts are very dry and hot, but at some points experience a cold front. Deserts vary in several different ways. Some contain vast areas of sand, rocks or gravel with few plants. Severe winds blow in and out of the deserts transporting valuable mineral deposits, thus leaving behind preserved fossils. Sand dunes are very prominent in deserts and there are several different types depending on the wind patterns. Plant life varies as well.
Winds play a big role in the desert atmosphere. They may be seasonal, sporadic or even daily. They range from gentle breezes to violent gusts at speeds as high as 300 k/hr. Deserts are formed by global circulation patterns. They are usually found close to the north and south poles and the equator. There are deserts not only on the Earth, but also on other planets including mars with a surface of a desert all around.
Deserts come in all different shapes and sizes. They are classified by their location and weather patterns. They are referred to as trade wind, mid-latitude, rain shadow, coastal, monsoon, or polar deserts.
The trade wind desert heats up, as it grows closer to the equator. The heavy winds remove cloud layer and allow more sunlight therefore heating up the surface. For example a well know desert is the Sahara desert in North Africa. It is the world’s largest desert, producing linear dunes and very high temperatures. Mid Latitude deserts occur at subtropical and high-pressure zones. These deserts have large drainage basins far from any body of water. The temperature in these areas varies and has no average temperature all year around. The Sonoran desert located in southwestern North America is a typical mid latitude desert. It receives rare rainfall and has dunes with slight ripples do to blowouts made by the wind. Rai...