Hot deserts are dispersed throughout the world on four of the seven continents. Hot deserts are classified as subtropical biomes meaning the climate and weather does not fluctuate to include cold temperatures and variations in weather. This creates an environment in which certain ecosystems of plants and animals flourish.
Hot and dry deserts are classified as such based on the annual amount of rainfall. A hot desert receives less than 10 inches of rain per year. The precipitation of hot deserts differs from cold deserts in that cold deserts receive snow.
The Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn lines of latitude are consistent with the location of hot and dry deserts around the world because of the proximity to the equator, which absorbs intense amounts of sun, warming the land and currents around it.
Hot deserts lack humidity allowing the sun’s rays to penetrate the atmosphere. Hot desert temperatures are warm year-round, fluctuating between 66 to 78 degrees F. Temperatures escalate during the summer months in the range of 104 to 120 degrees F.
Vegetation is scarce in hot deserts because of the extreme temperatures and little rainfall. Shrubs and short trees such as the saguaro cactus and prickly pear bush adapt to the climate by storing water.
Hot desert species include an array of reptiles and insects such as snakes, lizards, tarantulas and locusts. Owls, kangaroos, coyotes, jackels and pumas also live in hot deserts.
Hot desert animals use behavioral and physical adaptations to survive the extreme conditions. Behavioral adaptations include nocturnal activity, meaning some animals burrow during the day when the sun is hottest and hunt at night when temperatures decrease. Physical adaptations include body parts that allow animals to acquire and store water from tapping succulent plants.
Hot deserts of the world include the Chihuahuan, Mojave and Sonoran, located in North America;he Monte in Argentina; the Sahara and Kalahari of Africa; the Thar Desert of Pakistan and India; the Arabian Desert, located on the Arabian Peninsula; and Australia's Great Sandy, Victoria, Simpson, Gibson and Sturt Deserts.
The Sahara Desert of Africa is the largest desert in the world, covering 3,500,000 square miles. The Chihuahuan Desert is the largest in North America extending from north central Mexico to the southwestern region of the United States and covering 175,000 square miles.
The topography of hot deserts includes sand, sand dunes, gravel, stone, plateaus, mountains, mesas, salt flats and rocky regions.
People have and continue to live in hot deserts as do the Australian Aborigines, African Bushman of the Kalahari and inhabitants of the Mohave Desert such as those living in Las Vegas, Nevada and Joshua Tree, California.