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Ecology - Water

Rainshadow Desert

The Mojave Desert, located in southern California north of and along eastern end of the broad mountainous belt called the Transverse Ranges, which stretch from Point Arguello, 50 miles west of Santa Barbara, eastward for nearly 300 miles to the Eagle Mountains in the Mojave Desert. Unlike most mountain ranges in North America that run north-south, the Transverse Ranges lie on an east-west axis.

The area of southeastern California is a rain shadow desert. The rain shadow effect is produced by the high mountains on the west, which block the movement of wet winter storms. Coastal storms moving east collide with these mountain ranges dropping most of their moisture on the south and west sides of these mountains. Land on the north and eastern sides receives much less rain, which results in a desert environment.

During late August or September occasional tropical storms move into southern California from the south. These storms end up on the east side of the Peninsular Ranges and can dump a considerable amount of water in a short time. Some five to 10 inches of rain may fall in a few hours, representing a large portion of the Mojave Desert's annual precipitation.


source: NPS - Joshua Tree National Park

Also see:

    Bajada Nature Trail

    The subtropical Sonoran Desert, with its higher rainfall and longer growing season, has the most diverse plant life of ...


A welcome spring rainstorm moves in over the Hexie Mountains at the ocotillo patch

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