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Deserts. Dry places that have a dry climate-the yearly precipitation is less than the evaporation loss Dry regions cover 30% of the Earth’s surface Concentrated.

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Presentation on theme: "Deserts. Dry places that have a dry climate-the yearly precipitation is less than the evaporation loss Dry regions cover 30% of the Earth’s surface Concentrated."— Presentation transcript:

1 Deserts

2 Dry places that have a dry climate-the yearly precipitation is less than the evaporation loss Dry regions cover 30% of the Earth’s surface Concentrated in sub-tropics, mid-latitudes, and polar regions

3 Meteorology Principles Warm, less dense air rises Rising air cools Moisture carrying capacity of air decreases Precipitation occurs Cold, dense air sinks (moisture depleted) Sinking air warms Moisture carrying capacity increases Warm air can hold more moisture than cold airWarm air can hold more moisture than cold air

4 Low-Latitude Deserts Along the equator is a Low pressure system, air rises Along 30 o N and S - High Pressure systems exist (Subtropical high- pressure belt, air sinks and warms As air mass warms it can hold more moisture – any available water evaporates Types of Deserts

5 Cold-Water Coasts Cold dry air from ocean moves over warm dry land Land warms air mass As air mass warms it can hold more moisture – any available water evaporates

6 Rain Shadows – Orographic Uplift Warm, humid air masses move off of ocean As the mass approaches a mountain it begins to rise Rising air cools Moisture carrying capacity decreases – precipitation occurs on the windward side Cold, dry air mass moves over mountains and descends on the leeward side Descending air warms and picks up moisture Dry region is a Rain Shadow – the process is orographic uplift

7 Desert Locations

8 Weathering in Arid Climates Mechanical Weathering is dominant Lack of moisture and organic acids limit chemical weathering Chemical weathering does occur, but the it takes longer

9 Water and Deserts Ephemeral streams are present in desert areas Deserts lack vegetation Rainfall is infrequent, but intense when it occurs Runoff is high – get flash floods One storm can do an enormous amount of erosion (triggering mass wasting and transporting sediment) Water does the majority of erosional work in the desertsWater does the majority of erosional work in the deserts

10 Wind Transport of Sediment Similar to stream transport – both air and water are fluids Wind systems have both a bed load and suspended load Bed Load –Primarily sands, can be gravels and larger particles –Particles move by saltation (sands) or creep (rolling or sliding – particles larger than sand) –Causes abrasion – mechanical weathering Suspended Load –Primarily silt with some clay Wind has a capacity and competence

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12 Wind Erosion Insignificant in erosional processes Two mechanisms –Deflation Loose particles of sand and dust are lifted from the surface –Abrasion Sandblasting of particles

13 Desert Pavement Deflation occurs leaving behind coarse particles to large to carry

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15 Daily Questions Identify and appropriately place 10 characteristics in the Venn Diagram. Wind Action Glacial Processes Stream Processes 1.Transport sediment in direction of movement 2.Can transport large boulders 3.Form dunes 4.Occur most frequently at high latitudes 5.Few associated plants and animals 6.Occur on at least five continents 7.Features formed have generally diminished in size over the last few decades 8.Commonly found at low elevations 9.More likely to occur at high elevations 10.Preserve a record of past climates 11.Characterized by the presence of snow and ice 12. Associated with erosion and deposition 13. Material is not sorted 14. Material is sorted 15. Evaporation exceeds precipitation 16. Cross beds form in deposits 17. Faster moving 18.Controlled by climate patterns 19.Involves water 20.Has a dissolved load 21.Have a competence and capacity


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