All You Need to Know About... Deserts!
Have you seen the movie "Prince of Persia," "Cleopatra" or even the charming "Aladdin"? If you haven't, now is the time to watch it; you'll miss those great films! Anyway, if you have watched it already, did you noticed the beautiful scenery of endless sand in the setting? The isolated palm trees and clay houses? Or have you seen in a magazine of people riding on camels and visiting the pyramids? Well, that's only a few of the many surprises of the desert! But first, let us know what this is.
A Desert is...
"It is a place on land that is known for its extreme climatic conditions and very minimal amounts of precipitation."
A desert is a biome, which means a large geographic region that contains distinctive plant and animal communities. It is marked by an extreme climate; can be very hot, cold, and dry - so the common knowledge of deserts being always hot is not exactly true! It covers approximately one-third of the surface of the earth, which is about 50,000,000 sq km of the total surface area of the earth. It is found in every continent, although in Europe there are no natural deserts. Although some deserts are very harsh for living organisms to live in them, there are still animals and plants thriving in these places. There is even one desert that has more than 4000 species of animals and plants!
A desert, like all biomes, has biotic and abiotic factors. Biotic factors are the living organisms in a community or an ecosystem that interact with other organisms and with their environment. Abiotic factors are non-living chemical and physical factors in the environment, which affect ecosystems.
Climate : From 0 °F at night and 113 °F at day
Abiotic Factors : soil (sand), sunlight, temperature (high and low), water (scarcity of water), air (winds)
Biotic Factors : Snakes, lizards, tarantulas, coyotes, cactus, shrubs, Cardón, Saguaro
Location : All of the continents (North and South America, Africa, Asia and Australia, Antarctica, Europe)
The largest desert in the world is Antarctica, with a land area of 14.0 million km2, and the next largest is the Arctic. The largest hot desert in the world is the Sahara desert, but it is only the third largest desert.