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DESERT BIOME Any barren region that supports very little life may be called a desert The cold expanses of Antarctica extreme northern Asia and Greenland are therefore true but cold deserts Most commonly however the term desert is used for regions that are barren because they are arid or dry Arid deserts receive little precipitation and are characterized by specialized plants that tolerate drought conditions and salty soils and by distinctive land features Most desert areas get less than 5 inches 13 centimeters of rain in a year The rainfall is not only scanty but also uncertain Records at Iquique in northern Chile showed no rain for a period of four years The fifth year brought 06 inches 15 centimeters making a five-year average of 012 inches 03 centimeter At another time 25 inches 64 centimeters fell in a single shower Comptons Encyclopedia Temperatures range widely in deserts The greatest daily fluctuations occur in deserts near the equator Temperatures above 100o F 38o C occur regularly in summer Azizia 25 miles 40 kilometers southwest of Tripoli in Libya holds the record with 1364o F 58o C while Death Valley Calif comes close with 134o F 567o C Genius book of world records 2000 Winters are cold in middle-latitude deserts located far from the equator At Luktchin in central Asia the average temperature in July is 90o F 32o C while the January average is 13o F -106o C--a range of 77 Fahrenheit degrees 426 Celsius degreesComptons Encyclopedia The temperature drops sharply in the desert night Dry air cloudless skies and bare dry earth furnish ideal conditions for the cooling of air after sunset A 24-hour range of 25 to 45 Fahrenheit degrees 14 to 25 Celsius degrees is common and it may be as great as 60 to 70 Fahrenheit degrees 33 to 39 Celsius degrees In the deserts ordinary wells can usually tap a supply of good water Oasis
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