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Bokang Ntabe

7/31/2009

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Exam Essay: Deserts
1) i) The photograph was taken in a desert climatic region. ii) The absence of vegetation in the area shown by the photograph is because of the irregular and unreliable rainfall at only 43.8mm annually. Also because the fertile soil is very mobile so vegetation cannot grow on the soil. iii) The main features of the landscape in the area shown by the photograph are the sand dunes (barchans and seif dunes). The sand ergs cover most of the area. The photograph shows limited vegetation around the dunes and landscape appears dry and isolated, the vegetation is also sparse and short. iv) The natural processes shape the landscape in this type of climatic region by wind, which causes ergs. The wind picks up loose grains of sand from the dry surface area. The windward side is quite a gradual slope up which grains of sand are carried by the wind. The leeward side is kept steep as wind eddies form. The dunes gradually move in the direction of prevailing winds. Erosion also influences the landscape shape. Mass movement, is the down slope movement of weathered material under gravity which contributes to landscape shape. Weathering also, of rock in situ is broken down to form the landscape. 2) i) The climate of Abidjan has rainfall all year round with the highest at 500mm and lowest at 49mm. Ouagadougou has low rainfall through out the year and some months not even having rainfall. The highest is only 280mm; very low compared to Abidjan at 500mm. Abidjan receives its highest rainfall on June and Ouagadougou on August. Ouagadougou has rising temperature through the months of February to May, and then from May to August the temperature decreases to 26°C and rises to 29°C from September to November. Abidjan has temperature ranging between 25°C and 27°C all year. This shows that Ouagadougou has varying temperatures throughout the year while Abidjan has steady temperatures. ii) Deserts areas, such as In Salah are hot and dry because of descending dry air under sub tropical high pressure belts or descending limb of the Hadley cell, cold ocean currents, rain shadow and continentally.

Bokang Ntabe Rain Shadow

7/31/2009

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SE Leeward dry Pacific Ocean Windward wet

Air is forced to rise against a mountain barrier the clouds form and the rain falls mainly on the windward side. Leeward situations places are in the rain shadow, on the mountain the air descends again and doing so it is warmed up. So the air expands, the relative humidity drops and evaporation takes place. Sun Position Sun at an angle

Heat from overhead sun

Equator

The desert is hot because of the highest mean annual temperature as a result of the high sun angles throughout the year and highest percentage of sunshine of any climate. 3) People living in areas at risk from desertification may experienced problems such as: • • Rainfall is confined to just one or two months of the year and ‘rainy’ season are unreliable, as in case in Sahel, this leads to drought. Less grazing land due to severe drought.

Bokang Ntabe • • • • • • • •

7/31/2009

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The people are at risk of heavy sand storms. Fewer crops in an area where several countries have some of the highest birth and population growth rate, which results in poverty due to food shortage. The water resources like seasonal rivers and water holes dry up which contributes to drought. Soil loses its protective vegetation cover, contains less humus and holds less moisture, so no farming can take place. Change in temperature, low temperature at night may affect people because of not well constructed houses to keep warm. High temperatures make it difficult for both animals and plants to live in. Lack of vegetation, leads to no wood for home purposes e.g. firewood. Animal will graze the land quicker and accelerates the desertification.

Bokang Ntabe

7/31/2009

BT