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Old 09-19-2018, 11:49 PM
 
Location: Tucson/Nogales
23,212 posts, read 29,023,557 times
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According to the dictionary, Desert, technically, is an area with 10 inches of rain or less. And if Tucson gets, on an average, 10-12 inches of precip. a year, doesn't that push it out of the Desert category and into semi arid?

Today's long rain spell, 7-8 hours continual, I haven't seen since I left Minnesota 25 years ago. Having just moved here from Las Vegas I've never seen a rain like this in the 22 years I lived there, or the 3 years I spent in Phoenix.

How often does this happen, or was this long rain spell today am aberration?
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Old 09-20-2018, 12:30 AM
 
Location: Out there somewhere...a traveling man.
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tucson,_Arizona
Tucson is situated on an alluvial plain in the Sonoran desert, surrounded by five minor ranges of mountains: the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Tortolita Mountains to the north, the Santa Rita Mountains to the south, the Rincon Mountains to the east, and the Tucson Mountains to the west.
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Old 09-20-2018, 05:47 AM
 
Location: Live:Downtown Phoenix, AZ/Work:Greater Los Angeles, CA
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According to Koppen climate classification, Tucson straddles the line between BWh (Hot Desert) and BSh (Hot Semi-Arid), so it's transitional between the two.

And nevermind that 10" of rain rule, that's a lay rule that doesn't always pan out. There are places in Africa and India that get almost twice that and are desert thanks to super high evaporation rates; while at the same time, take Reno, NV which gets 7" of rain per year, but due to a low evaporation rate is BSk (Cold Semi-Arid)
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Old 09-20-2018, 05:59 AM
 
Location: Phoenix
3,211 posts, read 2,240,837 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tijlover View Post
According to the dictionary, Desert, technically, is an area with 10 inches of rain or less. And if Tucson gets, on an average, 10-12 inches of precip. a year, doesn't that push it out of the Desert category and into semi arid?

Today's long rain spell, 7-8 hours continual, I haven't seen since I left Minnesota 25 years ago. Having just moved here from Las Vegas I've never seen a rain like this in the 22 years I lived there, or the 3 years I spent in Phoenix.

How often does this happen, or was this long rain spell today am aberration?
I heard the evaporation rates push Tucson into the desert category....seems like it to me. But Tucson does get significantly more rain than Vegas and it makes it much prettier to my eyes.
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Old 09-20-2018, 06:28 AM
 
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From the experts, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum: "Tucson is the only major city located in ARIZONA UPLAND"
https://www.desertmuseum.org/desert/sonora.php#azu




Arizona Upland (Image galleries are associated with each season below. See more images in the Ironwood Forest National Monument web pages.)
This northeastern section, mostly in south-central Arizona and northern Sonora, is the highest and coldest subdivision of the Sonoran Desert. The terrain contains numerous mountain ranges, and the valleys are narrower than in the Lower Colorado River Valley subdivision. Trees are common on rocky slopes as well as drainages, and saguaros are found everywhere but on the valley floors. This community is also called the saguaro-palo verde forest. It is the only subdivision that experiences frequent hard winter frosts, so many species of the lower elevation and more southerly subdivisions cannot survive here. Nevertheless it is a rich area. The small range that is the Desert Museum's home, the Tucson Mountains, has a flora of more than 630 taxa.
An ever-increasing number of biologists is concluding that the Arizona Upland's climate, vegetation density, and biodiversity resemble thornscrub more than desert. Don't be surprised if this subdivision is reclassified as thornscrub in the future.
Tucson is the only major city located in Arizona Upland. Residents who moved to this city from temperate climates often complain about the lack of seasons. Actually Arizona Upland has five seasons, which, though more subtle than the traditional temperate four, are distinct if one learns what to look for:
  • Summer monsoon or summer rainy season (early July to mid- September): The year traditionally begins with the most dramatic weather event of the region - the often abrupt arrival of the summer rains. A tropical air mass adds humidity and moderates June's extreme temperatures; frequent thunderstorms; main growing season for many of the larger shrubs and trees. (Monsoon is an Arabic word for a wind that changes directions seasonally. Be aware that it does not refer to rain or storms in any way. The word is often misused, even by some weather forecasters.)
  • Autumn (October & November): Warm temperatures; low humidity; little rain; few species in flower, but beginning of growing season for winter annuals in the rare years with enough rain. Autumn and late summer occasionally receive heavy rains from the remains of Pacific hurricanes (tropical storms) This image is of the Baboquivari Mountains and the Avra Valley from the Desert Museum.
  • Winter (December & January & February): Mostly sunny, mild days, with intermittent storms with wind, rain, and cool to cold temperatures; February often warm and dry, more spring-like. This image shows a rare snowfall in the Tucson Mountains.
  • Spring (From early to late February through April): Mild temperatures; little rain; often windy; main flowering season for annuals, shrubs and trees; winter annuals may bloom in February in warm, wet years. The image at left shows poppies at Picacho Peak State Park.
  • Foresummer drought (May & June): High temperatures; very low humidity; no rain in most years; May is very warm and often windy; June is hot and usually calm. There is little biological activity except for the flowering and fruiting of saguaro, foothill palo verdes (as seen at left), and desert ironwood trees. Nearly every living thing is in basic survival mode until the rains arrive.

(End of Arizona Upland five seasons)
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Old 09-20-2018, 08:22 AM
 
Location: Southern Arizona
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The "experts" this morning are claiming an average of .76 inches of rain fell on Tucson yesterday . . .

I hardly think one storm once a year or less often would be sufficient to modify a City's or an Area's classification.
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Old 09-20-2018, 08:36 AM
 
700 posts, read 918,484 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bummer View Post
The "experts" this morning are claiming an average of .76 inches of rain fell on Tucson yesterday . . .

I hardly think one storm once a year or less often would be sufficient to modify a City's or an Area's classification.

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum's article is background info. Yesterday's rain was part of the summer rainy season, which runs to mid-September, as shown in the article. It is a normal part of the year in the Arizona Upland subdivision of the Sonoran Desert.
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Old 09-20-2018, 08:47 AM
 
Location: Phoenix
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I'll go with desert. The world is in flux, always. Over long time periods, we see a change from desert to forest, vice versa, or other changes. The big changes are the sum of small changes that happen continuously. Whatever Tucson is today, it will be different tomorrow, if only slightly. Eventually, it will bleed into this or that new category, as scientists see it. I believe 99% of people would look out the window in Tucson and say, "Desert." That's what I'll say. I don't want to overthink it. Saguaros, one of the most typical plants of Sonoran desert in Arizona, are everywhere.

You can change climate in Tucson with a short drive up Mt. Lemon! Living in Phoenix, I'm jealous. We have to go farther to cool down.
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Old 09-20-2018, 12:42 PM
 
Location: Arizona
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Semi arid maybe technically, but I think you'd have a hard time convincing anyone that Tucson is not in the desert.
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Old 09-20-2018, 03:02 PM
 
810 posts, read 870,015 times
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[quote=WilmaWildcat;53137542]From the experts, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum: "Tucson is the only major city located in ARIZONA UPLAND"
https://www.desertmuseum.org/desert/sonora.php#azu


Loved this beautiful explanation of the seasons. And it included two words new to me: taxa and thornscrub. Wonderful!
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