Explore the driest ecosystem in the world and learn how plants and animals have adapted to these harsh conditions.
What Is a Desert?
In simplest terms, deserts are large ecosystems that receive very little rainfall.
Most deserts get less than 10-inches of rain per year, though some do get up to 20-inches. The Sonoran Desert in the American Southwest is one of the wettest deserts in the world, sometimes receiving up to 20-inches of rain per year. The Atacama Desert in South America, on the other hand, averages less than a centimeter of rain per year and sometimes goes several years without any rain at all!
Most people picture deserts as barren, lifeless landscapes with a hot, scorching sun. While some deserts are mostly barren, others are filled with plants and animals! Because of the extreme environment, desert plants and animals have some of the most incredible and unique adaptations on the planet.
Deserts like Death Valley and the Sahara Desert are some of the hottest ecosystems in the world. However, not all deserts are hot. There are actually four different types of deserts. Check it out!