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Hot Arid & Semi-arid Environments Glossary
Arid A desert arid area is an area with less than 250mm of
precipitation per year. They have an aridity index of under 0.2.
E.g The Sahara has an average of 15mm of rainfall per year.

Advection Fog This is fog created when warm…

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Canyon A canyon is a gorge with a deep narrow channel, bounded by
resistant rock, often with a floor with an exogenious river. Eg
Colorado. Steep valley sides cut into solid rocks because of
vertical erosion by rivers and abrasion by coarse river debris,
remain steep because aridity limits weathering…

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Crystal Growth This is one of the two main forms of weathering which take
place in a desert, it takes place especially in porous,
sedimentary rock, eg sandstone, high temperatures draw saline
water to the surface where the water evaporates in the heat,
leaving behind salt crystals which grow between…

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Estivation When animals go into a 'summer sleep' similar to hibernation,
during the hottest, dryest season. E.g North American Desert
Tortoises, and Malagasy (Madagascar) fat-tailed dwarf lemur.

Exogenous River A permanent river which derives its water from mountains
beyond the desert margin and continues to flow through the
desert. E.g…

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Inversion Layer Air layer where temperature rises rather than falls with height.
It traps fog by the coast, by sinking air in a tropical high
pressure cell.

Irrigation Artificial application of water to dry land or soil to arable lands
for agricultural purposes to fulfil the water needs not met…

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Precipitation Any form of moisture falling from the sky. This lack of
precipitation is a key reason why deserts are so dry, as arid
areas have less than 250mm a year of precipitation, semi arid
areas less than 500mm. This also causes the plants and
animals to become specialised in…

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Solution Water dissolves in minerals such as rock salt, then removed in

Stomata On leaves allow photosynthesis as allow CO2 out, but some
plants are adapted so can photosynthesise without opening
them to preserve water.

Succulent Plants Plants which have adapted their strucure (xerophytes) to store
water in fleshy…

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Xerophyte Plants living in dry areas which have adapted their structure to
survive drought such as swollen stems, thick cuticles, sunken
and sometimes closed stomata, small leaves and spines. E.g
creosote and cacti.
Yardang Linear ridge of clay, silt or rock sculptured by abrasion and

Zeugen A type of…

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