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Cold Desert: The Atacama
Transcript of Cold Desert: The Atacama
by: Marvin Contreras and Edgar Rapalo
The Atacama Desert is one of the driest places on Earth and it is considered to be a cold desert. Located in the Pacific Coast of South America, (24.5000 S, 69.2500 W) it is the largest desert in South America, covering 40,541 mi². The Atacama Desert is located in Chile,
ut also borders countries like Peru,
livia and Argentina. Though it is an
reme environment, it is home to a
ety of species.
Being the driest places on earth,the average rainfall in Atacama Desert is of .004 to .012 in. at times, but always receives a bit more rain during occasional monsoons in the region. There are some places in the desert that have never received rain at all. This makes it hard for animals and plants to survive without water and arid terrains to shelter in.
Known to be a cold desert, the low temperatures in Atacama Desert range from 0*C to 27*C (32*F,80.6*F). Temperatures reach extremes in different regions of -53.3*C(-64*F) due to high altitudes and wind patterns carried from the Coastal Regions and The Andes Mountain range. This is also a limiting factor that prevents organisms to survive in extreme temperatures.
What is a Cold Desert?
A cold desert is a desert that instead of hot and dry climates, they have cold and dry climates. They receive precipitation in forms of snow or fog due to high altitudes. They have extremely low temperatures and rarely have any organisms that live in these environments.
A major abiotic factor in the Atacama Desert is a natural occurrence called a rain shadow. A rain shadow is when rain falls on one side of mountains and dry air currents lead to the opposite direction on the other side. This limits rain from reaching the desert, creating a dry, arid environment, making it a difficult task for organisms to live in. Rain shadows usually occur in coastal regions and is the principle in how deserts got their start.
This climate graph shows the temperatures in the city of San Pedro de Atacama throughout a 12-month period. This graph shows that the city of San Pedro de Atacama receives little to no rain in the summer and that summers are colder than the other months. During, the winter the desert receives the most rainfall and temperatures are higher. The reason is because the temperature was recorded at a high altitude.
Species of Atacama Desert
Decomposers and Scavengers
Key points of the Atacama Desert
South American Gray Fox
Viscacha (species of rabbit)
Chimango Caracara (Bird of Prey)
Vicugnas (species of Llama)
The keystone species in this biome are the producers because since there is little rainfall, they absorb the most water and provide food for the animals.
The region has been moderately affected by roads and mining operations. The northern area of the ecoregion has been especially affected by overgrazing of domestic livestock, collection of firewood, and commercial gathering of rare plants, including cacti and bulbs.
National Parks and Landmarks
Valle de Luna
Los Flamencos National Reserve
Predator/Prey Relationship in the Atacama Ecosystem
Chile's National Bird
In this food chain, the primary consumers or prey would include rabbits, llamas, hummingbirds etc.
The predators would include hawks, foxes etc.
South American Gray Fox
Pan De Azucar National Park
Hand Of The Desert
Observatories in Paranal, Chile
The Chilean Government has played an important role in the conservation of several national parks, keeping them protected and regulated by research and tourist-friendly.
The WWF (World Wildlife Fund) have made contributions and efforts to help build national parks in Atacama that were originally ran by the indigenous people.
The Nature Conservancy has used different tactics to achieve their conservation goals in Chile, including the creation of Chile's first land trust and the founding of El Boldo Park in Zapallar.
Douglas Tompkins founder of the clothing brand North Face and Espirit, made the greatest conservation effort in Chile. He left the business world and moved to Chile and bought 1.3 million acres of land to prevent it from being taken over by companies or other such uses.
"Climate: San Pedro De Atacama." - Climate Graph, Temperature Graph, Climate Table. Chile Temperatures, Web. 10 Apr. 2015. http://en.climate-data.org/location/21732.
"Atacama Desert." Atacama Desert. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2015. http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/150268/
"Conservation Efforts in Chile." Conservation Efforts in Chile. Wildlife Conservations, Web. 10 Apr. 2015. https://www.ecotourism.org/news/conservation-efforts-chile.
"The National Parks of the Atacama Desert." Chile Responsible Adventure. Tourism, Web. 10 Apr. 2015. http://www.chileresponsibleadventure.com/chile/national-parks-2/
"AttractionsSan Pedro De Atacama Attractive." Attractions of Atacama Desert in North of Chile. San Pedro De Atacama, Web. 10 Apr. 2015. http://www.explore-atacama.com/eng/attractions.htm
The End :)
One of the best spots that you can travel to in the Atacama Desert is a city called Iquique. The city is very modern, the hotels are luxurious, and there's a beach very close by. The climate is warm year round,so you have to dress appropriately.
Another city that you can visit is the city of San Pedro De Atacama. The climate here is very variable so at night it would be convinient to wear warm clothing and during the day climates are very pleasant. In this spot you can hike through salt flats and you can even sand board.