Sonoran Desert ecosystem - impact of climate

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  • Sonoran Desert - Ecosystem- located over southern california
    • Dry
      • Lack of moisture in the air
        • the Pacific Ocean lies just to the west but the coastal mountain ranges effectively stop most moisture reaching inland
        • To the South- East lies the Gulf of Mexico any moisture from there must travel 1700km and cross the continental divide before it reaches the Sonoran desert.
          • It is a difficult place for moisture to reach and therefore it there are little clouds as there is a lack of moisture.
    • bi-seasonal rainfall
      • Succulents-Cactus
        • Has a stem whcih expands and fills with water during winter wet season
        • RIbbed stem refduces wind currents
        • Shallow roots catch water which falls during storms before it evaporates
        • Covered with dense spines which helps to reflect solar rays
    • Palo Verde
      • A common drought enduring small tree growing on the upper slopes
      • the plant loses it leaves in the dryseason , while it greens bark enables it to carry out photosynthesis.
      • The leaves have a type of varnish on them so that they can seal in moisture. Thesmell and taste of the plant puts off any animal from trying to eat it.
    • Thin, relatively infertile and alkaline soils
      • Seasonal rainsleach soluble salts down through the soil which are drawn up again under high evaporation in the dry season
      • Flash-flooding can compact soil, creating impermeable surfaces.


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