Desert

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desert : arid land with usually sparse vegetation
especially : such land having a very warm climate and receiving less than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of sporadic rainfall annually — Webster

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Desert is a barren area of landscape where little precipitation occurs and consequently living conditions are hostile for plant and animal life. The lack of vegetation exposes the unprotected surface of the ground to the processes of denudation. About one third of the land surface of the world is arid or semi-arid. This includes much of the polar regions where little precipitation occurs and which are sometimes called polar deserts or “cold deserts”. Deserts can be classified by the amount of precipitation that falls, by the temperature that prevails, by the causes of desertification or by their geographical location. — Wikipedia

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Desert climate, also known as an arid climate, is a climate in which precipitation is too low to sustain any vegetation at all, or at most a very scanty shrub, and does not meet the criteria to be classified as a polar climate.

An area that features this climate usually experiences from 25 to 200 mm (7.87 inches) per year of precipitation and in some years may experience no precipitation at all. Averages may be even less such as in Arica, Chile, where precipitation normals annually stand at around 1 mm per year. In some instances, an area may experience more than 200 mm of precipitation annually, but is considered a desert climate because the region loses more water via evapotranspiration than falls as precipitation (Tucson, Arizona, and Alice Springs, Northern Territory, are examples of this). — Wikipedia




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Prehistory and Human Evolution in the Sahara (Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies, University of Cambridge)

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