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Tropical Deserts

Tropical Deserts - Deserts Evaporation exceeds...

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Deserts Evaporation exceeds precipitation Cover 30% of Earth’s surface Found in tropical and subtropical regions Interiors of continents or in the rain shadow of mountains Plants have adapted to droughts by growing deep roots Daytime: sun warms ground. Nighttime: Warmth in the ground quickly radiates to the air because no plants are there to hold in the heat and the sky is usually clear. Deserts are fragile because their soils take a long time to recover from disturbances because: o Slow plant growth o Low species diversity o Slow nutrient recycling (from sparse bacterial activity in soil) o Lack of water Tropical Deserts Hot and dry most of the year Few plants Hard, windblown surface of rocks and sand Examples: Sahara and Namib of Africa Temperate Deserts Daytime temperatures high in summer and low in winter Sparse vegetation of Succulent Plants: drought resistant shrubs and cacti More precipitation than Tropical Deserts Example: Mojave Desert in southern California Polar Deserts Winters are cold and summers are warm or hot Vegetation is sparse Precipitation is low Example: Gobi Desert in China Temperate Shrublands (Chaparrals) Moderate, sunny climate with mild, wet winters Mudslides during rainy season Coastal regions that border deserts Closeness to sea slightly longer winter rainy season Fogs reduce evaporation Examples: California, Mediterranean Sea, Chile, Australia, South Africa Dense low-growing evergreen shrubs and small trees with leathery leaves reduce evaporation Soil is thin, not fertile Long, warm, and dry summers vegetation becomes dry and highly flammable
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