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The named deserts of Australia cover , or 18% of the
Australian mainland Mainland Australia is the main landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region or area Area is the quantity that expresses the extent of a two-dimensional region, shape, or planar lamina, in the plane. Surface area is its a ...

Australian mainland
, but about 35% of the
Australian continent The continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered from largest in ...
receives so little rain, it is effectively desert. The
desert A desert is a barren area of landscape where little precipitation occurs and, consequently, living conditions are hostile for plant and animal life. The lack of vegetation exposes the unprotected surface of the ground to the processes of ...

desert
s in Australia are primarily distributed throughout the
Western Plateau The Western Plateau (sometimes referred to as the Australian Shield 300px, Basic geological regions of Australia, by age. The Australian Shield, also called the Western Australian Shield or Western Plateau, is a geological Geology (from ...

Western Plateau
and interior lowlands of the country.Geosciences Australia –Deserts
/ref> The deserts in western Australia are well explained by the little evaporation of the cold sea current of the West Australian Current, of polar origin, which prevents significant rainfall in the interior of the continent. By international standards, Australian deserts receive relatively high rates of rainfall. No weather station situated in an arid region records less than 100 mm of average annual rainfall. The deserts of Australia, particularly in the interior, lack any significant summer rains. Deserts are not necessarily completely devoid of vegetation, but have large areas where vegetation is very limited in height or extent.


Deserts


Great Victoria Desert

The Great Victoria Desert lies in
Western Australia Western Australia (abbreviated as WA) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...

Western Australia
and
South Australia South Australia (abbreviated as SA) is a States and territories of Australia, state in the southern central part of Australia. It covers some of the most arid parts of the country. With a total land area of , it is the fourth-largest of Austral ...

South Australia
. It is over wide and covers an area of .


Gibson Desert

The Gibson Desert lies in central
Western Australia Western Australia (abbreviated as WA) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...

Western Australia
. The desert is about in size. Most of the inhabitants of the area are
Indigenous Australians Indigenous Australians are people with familial heritage to groups that lived in Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continen ...
.


Desert group

* Western Desert – a grouping of the Gibson Desert, the Great Sandy Desert, and the Little Sandy Desert.


Climate issues

Australia's climate is mostly determined by the hot, sinking air of the subtropical high-pressure belt. Dry conditions are associated with an
El Niño–Southern Oscillation El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is an irregular periodic variation in winds and sea surface temperatures over the Tropics, tropical eastern Pacific Ocean, affecting the climate of much of the tropics and subtropics. The warming phase of th ...
in Australia. Vegetation in arid areas is primarily dependent upon soil type. Extensive areas are covered by . About 40% of Australia is covered by dunes.
Central Australia Central Australia, also known as the Alice Springs Region ( aer, Mparntwe Ampere), is one of the five regions in the Northern Territory of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign ...
is very dry, averaging 150 mm of rainfall each year.


Ecological issues

Many
introduced species An introduced species, alien species, exotic species, adventive species, immigrant species, foreign species, non-indigenous species, or non-native species is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, ...
have affected the fauna and flora of Australia's desert regions. The
Australian feral camel Australian feral camels are feral populations of dromedaries (''Camelus dromedarius'') in Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia ...
affects native vegetation, partly because Australian desert vegetation evolved without any major herbivores present. Uncontrolled access to more sensitive areas by four-wheel-drive vehicles is also an issue.


See also

*
Central Ranges Central Ranges (code ''CER'') is an Australian Australians, colloquially referred to as "Aussies", are the citizens, nationality, nationals and individuals associated with the country of Australia. Between 1788 and the Second World War, ...
*
Irrigation in Australia Irrigation is a widespread practice required in many areas of Australia, the driest inhabited continent, to supplement low rainfall Rain is liquid water Water is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, Transparency and translucency, ...


References


Further reading

* Johnson, John & Catherine de Courcy.(1998) ''Desert Tracks'' Port Melbourne, Vic. Lothian Books.


External links


The Australian Landscape, A Cultural History
- A four-part program exploring the way Europeans and Aboriginal people have engaged with the desert, through art, science and religion, fro
ABC Radio National


2009-10-31)
World Book
* {{Authority control