page 12

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page 12
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http://digital.library.unlv.edu/u?/dig,8
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The climatic characteristics of the desert are its excessive summer heat and its dryness. The temperature rises occasionally to 125° F. in the shade, rarely falls below 70° at any time during the five hot months, and will average over 90° during this period. Exceptionally in the lowest points, as at Salton and in Death Valley, the shade temperature reaches 129° or 130°. During these periods of excessive heat men exposed to the sun's rays without water quickly perish. The air is usually not stagnant, but is in active motion. Gales of a few hours' duration are common, and some of them bring sand storms. Rain may fall frequently in the mountains and occasionally in the valleys, and clouds are by no means rare, yet the heat and the wind together keep the surface very dry and the relative humidity low. Cloud-bursts-—concentrated storms of great severity-—sometimes take place suddenly in the mountains, in the hottest weather. A cloud may form about a peak, quickly grow dense and black, and give a terrifying electric display. The lightning is followed by a torrent of rain, the character of the resulting flood depending on the relation of the storm to the topography. If it is concentrated in a canyon the result is a violent and spectacular flood wave, of great erosive and transporting power. If it is spread over an open slope, a slower moving and less destructive sheet flood follows the rain. Practically all of the desert erosion is accomplished during brief storms of this kind. Passengers on the railroads through New Mexico, Arizona, and eastern California have occasionally had experience with these cloud-bursts, and have appreciated the force and violence of the floods that result. At a few points on the desert meteorological observations are made by volunteer observers for the United States Weather Bureau. The following tables will give an idea of the annual temperature and rainfall at a number of widely scattered points. Temperature at 10 stations in California. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ | | | | 1903. (a) | 1904 (b) | 1905. (c) |______________________________|____________________________|_________________________________ | Annual Maximum. Minimum. | Annual Maximum. Minimum. | Annual. Maximum. Minimum. | mean. | mean. | mean. ________________|______________________________|____________________________|__________________________________ °F. °F. °F. °F. °F. °F. °F. °F. °F. Bagdad 72.6 113 25 71.6 110 30 .... 119 33 Barstow 62.4 110 24 66.8 109 30 65.2 111 19 Bishop 55.1 98 4 56.1 97 12 55.0 99 8 Imperial 74.6 124 26 .... 115 28 71.5 124 22 Indio .... 118 28 .... .... .... .... 125 20 Keeler 64.2 110 14 64.6 112 23 61.8 112 17 Mohave 62.7 106 15 67.6 107 23 66.2 114 20 Needles .... .... .... 75.7 113 32 70.4 122 28 Palm Springs 70.4 117 32 75.6 113 22 70.4 122 28 Volcano 74.6 120 25 73.1 117 22 73.6 128 24 ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (a) California section of the climate and crop service of the Weather Bureau, annual summary, 1903, pp. 8-9. (b) Idem, 1904, pp. 8-9. (c) Idem, 1905, pp. 8-9.

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