How are deserts made?

What is a desert?

Where are deserts found?

How are deserts made?

Water action in deserts

Wind action in deserts

Desert wildlife

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There are three main causes of deserts.

Most of the world deserts are made by the equatorial wind belts.
At the equator warm air is always rising. This created wind belts that blow north and south away from the equator.
When air descends at the tropics of cancer and capricorn it is too dry for clouds to form. No clouds means no rain producing Deserts. E.g. the Sahara desert

Rainshadow also produce Deserts. Any moisture in the air will fall as air passes high mountain ranges, so land beyond the mountains receives little or no rain. The Gobi desert is produced by Rainshadow.

Cold Currents also produce deserts.
The southwestern coasts of Africa and South America are swept by cold currents upwelling from the ocean floor. These currents cool the air that passes over them, causing the water in the air to fall as rain before it reaches the land. The Namib and Atacama desert have formed because of these cold currents.


The Rainshadow effect at work
The Rainshadow effect
To enlarge picture click here


The upwelling effect
The Upwelling Effect

This site was produced by Bruno De Freitas.Last modified on 15/01/04.
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All of the photos in this site were obtained from the sites inserted in my links page