Myth vs Reality: Desert Climates

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 This short video addresses the misconception that all deserts are hot and dry.


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Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with the NASA Earth Observatory.

All images, illustrations, and videos courtesy of NASA
·       Image of Antarctic snow dunes courtesy of Mark Fahnestock, University of Maryland, College Park
·       Sea creature illustration copyright The National Library of Israel, Shapell Family Digitization Project _and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Department of Geography – Historic Cities Research Project
·       Image of clouds off Namibian coast courtesy of Chelys
·       Image of dunes in the Namib Desert courtesy of the USGS EROS Data Center Satellite Systems Branch
·       Namibian dune photo courtesy of Wikimedia user Alcazarfr
·       Photo of the Mandara Oasis in Libya courtesy of Rudolph Baumann
·       Photo of Astrophytum ornatum cactus courtesy of Wikimedia user Stan Shebs
·       Photos of desert plants courtesy of Wikimedia user Halfalah and Dr. Eric Christian (NASA)
·       Photo of fishhook barrel cactus courtesy of Susan Lynn Peterson
·       Photo of Ubari Oasis in Libya courtesy of Wikimedia user Sfivat
·       Image of alluvial fan in Takla Makan Desert courtesy of the USGS EROS Data Center Satellite Systems Branch
·       Photos of salt-covered croplands courtesy of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Music courtesy of Associated Production Music
Written by Andrea Gianopoulos
Designed by Marc Lussier


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Text, Myth Versus Reality. Myth, All deserts are hot and dry.
A table in which Myth is on the left and Reality is on the right.
Text, Reality, Deserts are characterized by a lack of precipitation and sparse to no vegetation. Antarctica, the coldest place on Earth, contains abundant water trapped in the form of ice, but it receives less than 2 inches of precipitation per year in the middle of the continent. With so little precipitation and almost no vegetation, Antarctica is the largest desert on Earth.