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USGS CMG InfoBank: Coastal Deserts

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Comment: 08:54 - 09:50 (00:56)
Source: Annenberg/CPB Resources - Earth Revealed - 22. Wind, Dust and Deserts
Keywords: "Richard Hazlett", desert, air, water, coastline, Chile, Africa, ocean, evaporation, temperature, "cold marine current", "coastal desert"

Our transcription: A few deserts exist where cold marine water comes into contact with warm air next to a coastline.
Such conditions prevail along the coasts of Northern Chile and Southwest Africa.
Along the north coast of Chile and the coast of Southwest Africa, there are deserts which extend all the way to the sea.
And these deserts are quite unusual because they owe their existence to cold offshore marine currents.
Now, in many coastal latitudes the air coming off the ocean is full of moisture which has evaporated from the sea given ordinary sea surface temperatures.
But these cold marine currents chill the overlying air and so reduce its capacity for holding moisture.
The air that blows inland as a result is very dry, and the result of that are these coastal deserts.

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