Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Dramatic Deserts

Shira Yehudit Djlilmand

The lure of the mysterious desert - miles after miles of sand with the baking sun beating down. Sounds exotic, doesn’t it? Well, you might be surprised to learn that not only are not all deserts made of sand, some are also distinctly cold!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

So what exactly is a desert? A hot, sandy place, right? Not necessarily. Officially, a desert is anywhere that receives 10 inches (25 cm) of rain or less a year. That means that there’s an awful lot of desert in the world — almost a third of the earth’s land surface! Just the Sahara Desert in northern Africa alone, which stretches all the way from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Red Sea in the east, covers an area almost as big as the entire United States! There are deserts across the globe — for example, in the US, the Californian Mojave Desert; in the Middle East, the vast Arabian Desert; in Southern Africa the Kalahari, and even in little Israel there are two deserts — the Negev and the Judean deserts.    

Although many deserts are just as we imagine them — endless sand dunes — many are not. In fact, only 15 percent of the world’s deserts are made of sand. The rest are made up of rocks and mountains, or even, in the Antarctic Desert, of ice.

And as for deserts being hot, well, that’s not always true either. There are also cold, coastal, and semi-arid deserts. The Gobi Desert in Asia for example, is cold, and in the Mongolian desert, for half the year the temperature is below freezing. Coastal deserts, such as the Namib Desert in Southern Africa, are warm in summer and cool in winter, while semi-arid deserts, which include over a third of Australia, aren’t quite as dry as regular deserts, receiving up to 35 cm of rain a year.


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"