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Old 04-23-2017, 12:08 AM
 
Location: East of the Appaichans
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I'm thinking Black Rock Desert in Nevada, Alvord Desert in Oregon if there is little or no vegetation and no one living on them.
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Old 04-23-2017, 08:16 AM
BMI
 
Location: Ontario
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Different vegetation.

Hot desert....Creosote Bush

Cold desert.....Sagebrush

You won't see sagebrush in lower elevations of CA, AZ, NM

You won't see creosote bush north of the Mojave Desert....
northern limit of creosote bush is southern Nevada and extreme SW Utah.
Northern limit of creosote bush in New Mexico is just south of Albuquerque
around Isleta where I-25 crosses the Rio Grande.
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Old 04-23-2017, 09:42 AM
 
5,419 posts, read 2,819,339 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMI View Post
Different vegetation.

Hot desert....Creosote Bush

Cold desert.....Sagebrush

You won't see sagebrush in lower elevations of CA, AZ, NM

You won't see creosote bush north of the Mojave Desert....
northern limit of creosote bush is southern Nevada and extreme SW Utah.
Northern limit of creosote bush in New Mexico is just south of Albuquerque
around Isleta where I-25 crosses the Rio Grande.
This sums it up pretty well. In parts of the Great Basin desert, I swear the only visible plant is sagebrush. In the hotter deserts, even where creosote prevails, there are always other plants around in enough numbers to notice.
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Old 04-24-2017, 07:11 PM
 
Location: Washington State desert
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Washington State Tri-Cities is a desert that also happens to have a winter. While this growing metro is located in South Central WA State, it also tends to accept western storms every now and then, but with less power than the Pacific coast.
Snowfall is usually 6-7 inches per year, but occasionallly much more can fall. Every 20-years or so there is a winter with abnormal snowfall, this past one was an example, with 30+ inches, very unusual.

For the most part this area is considered a semi-arid desert, not high or low, but still a desert. Average high temps in the summer are 90 degrees, but many 100+ days. Winter can be cloudy, but usually mild with January highs at 40.
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Old 04-25-2017, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Tempe, AZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluefox View Post
Again, the counter-example to that would be the San Luis Valley. It has BOTH a high elevation AND an arid desert climate which is rather unique in the Western Hemisphere.

Average summer highs/lows:

May: 68.3/32.4
June: 78.4/40.4
July: 81.7/46.4
August: 78.9/45.2

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alamos...lorado#Climate

To me that's a pretty cool summer considering it has such a dry climate. That's cooler than Minneapolis in the summer and on par with Seattle summer highs, with the exception of August where it's about 4 degrees warmer. Plus you are seeing day/night differentials approaching 40 degrees throughout the summer.
Yes that is odd. I was looking at humidity levels for Alamosa and it appears that summer humidity, in July, is around the high 30s (which is comparable to Denver and other areas in Colorado as an FYI). June reaches the high 20s:

http://www.city-data.com/city/Alamosa-Colorado.html (you have to scroll down a bit to see the charts)

In comparison, Phoenix reaches afternoon humidity levels of around 11% in June and the low 20s in July and August:

http://www.city-data.com/city/Phoenix-Arizona.html (again, see the charts)

Santa Fe, a city similar elevation as Alamosa, is a bit less humid by around 10% on average than Alamosa:

http://www.city-data.com/city/Santa-Fe-New-Mexico.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_...Mexico#Climate

So Alamosa and Phoenix hold almost a 20% humidity difference, and roughly 6k difference in elevation, and hold a ~35 degree difference in summer highs. Humidity and elevation are key out West in determining weather patterns. Santa Fe and Alamosa, similar in elevation, with a ~10% humidity difference, hold a roughly 5 degree difference with Santa Fe being slightly warmer.

Santa Fe, Alamosa, and Flagstaff (ironically) all share similar weather patterns in regards to highs and lows, but all three have different climate classifications. Alamosa is cold desert (BWk), Santa Fe is dry steppe (BSk), and Flagstaff is dry semi-continental climate (DSb). And are all at the same elevation of around ~7k feet. And it's a combination of rainfall, snowfall, and humidity for that. Alamosa gets half the rain fall (7") of Santa Fe (14") and 1/3 of Flagstaff (21"). Alamosa at 80 inches of snowfall, 56 for Santa Fe, and 100 inches for Flagstaff. Flagstaff's humidity levels average around 50% in the summer time, which is notably higher than SF and Alamosa.


Oh I forgot to mention, thank you for sharing regarding Alamosa. Wikipedia named it "the coldest city in the US" which is baffling, but in my opinion it's summers are ideal. I get hot very VERY easily (yes and I live in Phoenix somehow, I don't know how). Though Alamosa's snowfall is a bit high for me, just like "the snowiest city in the US" which is Flagstaff.
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Old 04-26-2017, 12:37 PM
 
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
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How is Flagstaff the snowiest city in the US? I know they get a lot of snow, but there are snowier cities that are even much larger such as Syracuse.

(Really good post, though Prickly.)
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Old 04-26-2017, 10:31 PM
 
Location: Tempe, AZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABQConvict View Post
How is Flagstaff the snowiest city in the US? I know they get a lot of snow, but there are snowier cities that are even much larger such as Syracuse.

(Really good post, though Prickly.)
Flagstaff gets 100" of snowfall a year, which triples the snowfall of Chicago.

Flagstaff regularly snows into April and May. I mean that's not a foreign idea in Flagstaff to snow in May. One of my friends had their college graduation at NAU and it snowed on the day of her commencement ceremony. Flagstaff gets about an inch of snowfall in May, regularly, which is minuscule but it is still May.

Yeah I don't know why Flagstaff is like that, especially considering it's in Arizona, right? But we depend on that snow every year for our water supply in the northern third of our state. That and the Colorado River but you know... that's not as reliable as it used to be. During drought years, Flagstaff I BELIEVE (can't say for certain) has gotten as low as 80" of snowfall. But never lower than that.

And I just looked up Syracuse, which beats Flagstaff by 25". That's just... unpleasant. But I have only heard that title in reference to Flagstaff.

Syracuse has the benefit of being in a more humid climate in general regarding that, being next to a lake and all. Salt Lake City is also snowy because of that. Even though 25" is significant, considering Flagstaff's location (pretty much in the middle of no where if I had to be honest) with no lakes or significant sources of water anywhere near, it's snowfall is impressive. Yet intriguing. If you find the answer to that let me know I'd love to know myself.
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Old 11-04-2018, 02:46 PM
 
Location: Las Cruces NM
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Default Cold desert climates in the US

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prickly Pear View Post
We are all well aware of hot deserts. Phoenix, El Paso, Palm Springs, Las Vegas, Tucson, they all sit in them. The US' desert region is rather filled with hot desert climates, which take up most of Nevada, all of Arizona except the "Green Belt" (look on Google Maps you'll know what I mean), most of New Mexico, most of Utah. What about cold deserts?

Cold deserts are incredibly rare climates as a whole when looking globally. Cold deserts, in its biggest concentration, are far west China and Mongolia, in the Gobi desert and in Tibet. They extend far north in Asia up into Kazakhstan and into China's Northeast region. The Gobi desert is THE cold desert worldwide.

What about areas with cold desert climates? What are the coldest our American deserts can see in the summer highs?

Albuquerque is considered a cold desert climate. Are there other places in the US?
Interesting points, though some of that is related to sizes of continents. One part I must disagree: living in Albuquerque 21 years and researching climates since before then, ABQ is only considered cold desert compared to extremely summer-hot places like Phoenix, or by not using solid climate or species data.

Defining what's cold and what's arid, apples-to-apples, is in order. Geographers have done that for decades, though some more accurately. Bailey is one who used a mean temperature of 32F for the coldest month as the boundary between cold and warm climates. There are more factors than winter averages or extremes, or <10" annual precip = arid, but those do help refine the degrees of temperature or dryness.

In North America, there looks to be more land that's "cold desert" using that 32F mean than "hot desert". Places in the vast Great Basin or mountain valleys fit the Gobi or Tibet far better than Albuquerque...Taos, Alamosa, Ely, Winnemucca, most of eastern Oregon, or central WY.

Last edited by nmdesert; 11-04-2018 at 03:00 PM..
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Old 11-04-2018, 02:57 PM
 
Location: Las Cruces NM
87 posts, read 61,960 times
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Default Cold desert climates in the US

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMI View Post
Different vegetation.

Hot desert....Creosote Bush

Cold desert.....Sagebrush

You won't see sagebrush in lower elevations of CA, AZ, NM

You won't see creosote bush north of the Mojave Desert....
northern limit of creosote bush is southern Nevada and extreme SW Utah.
Northern limit of creosote bush in New Mexico is just south of Albuquerque
around Isleta where I-25 crosses the Rio Grande.
Good summary!

Though Big Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) is probably more correct for "cold desert". Sand Sagebrush (Artemisia filifolia) is quite common in hotter or cooler places...sandy areas of the Chihuahuan Desert around El Paso TX and Samalyuca in Chihuahua, then into Monahans TX (semi-arid, hotter) or western Oklahoma (steppe-prairie boundary). And other places beyond, cold to hot.

Years ago, I started writing a spreadsheet of climate indicators vs. places and another of plant indicators vs. places. It's quite interesting how certain patterns change abruptly or gradually by place.
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Old 11-04-2018, 03:36 PM
 
Location: Las Cruces NM
87 posts, read 61,960 times
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Default Cold desert climates in the US

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prickly Pear View Post
I am doing a comparison on summer highs for a reason. The difference has always been in the winter, always. This is actually a benefit for the hot deserts rather than the other way around. It's key to note that people who have no desert experience seem to not recognize how important that is.

Albuquerque for an example reaches roughly mid-90s in the summer, yes? 90s at least... Phoenix can get in the 110s. So twenty degree difference. But in the winter, Phoenix highs are about the 70s or 60s. Albuquerque can get winter highs to the point that snow can be expected. This means at least 30 degrees. So a forty degree difference. (I realize that Albuquerque has large variations in elevation, but even at the bottom in downtown this happens often enough). This is an even more stark comparison in SLC which is not a desert city, but is regularly considered one.

Barrow is technically considered a desert because it falls under 10" of annual precipitation. Barrow's highs are only in the 40s, which is winter lows in Phoenix. All polar climates practically fit the definition of a desert, which is why Antarctica is considered the biggest desert on Earth. Because they snow instead of rain.

The point is that hot summers are non-escapable in less humid climates. It's only with humidity--coastlines and such--can that be possible. It's why it gets so hot in LA inland so quickly. Your link of the Chilean city is proof of that.

Also the link you have for Chile still sees 80% humidity levels with little rain, which is baffling. Reminds me of Dubai and Kuwait which is just like that. Though for me it would have less humidity, and colder winters (Jun-Aug). Which would mean more inland. But, its a double-edge sword, because that means higher summer temps.
Good points on a variety of climate factors.

Your comparison of average winter highs in Phoenix to colder times during an infrequent storm system in ABQ isn't a similar comparison. It might be better to compare extreme lows, average winter highs, or yearly number of freezes similarly in different places. Highs / lows for the coolest and warmest months below from NOAA / Western Regional Climate Ctr:

January -
PHX 66/42 (54F daily mean)
ABQ 47/24 (36F daily mean)
---
18F difference

July -
PHX 106/81 (94F daily mean)
ABQ 92/65 (79F daily mean)
---
15F difference

Here's a graph of 4 places' mean yearly temperature, using NOAA data via city climate comparisons:


It's interesting how the 10" line for annual precip divides desert and semi-arid. That can increase or decrease at least 5"/year, depending on the season the precipitation falls, soil types, growing season, humidity, or amount of heating.
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