Satellite images taken this year and 20 years ago show that the desert is in retreat thanks to a resurgence of trees. —Andy Coghlan, New Scientist, 14-20 Oct. 2006
The coastal plain is a desert in terms of precipitation—less than six inches fall annually—but what falls as snow stays to be later distributed by the wind. —John Hildebrand, Harper's, November 2003
The house finch, a songbird native to the Western desert, has proved to be highly adaptable, having rapidly colonized the Eastern states after its release on Long Island in the early 1940's. —Jane E. Brody, New York Times, 1 Jan. 2002
While my very American mother swabbed the dishes, Dad lingered at the dinner table, recreating in visceral detail the taste of mint in a Bedouin teacup under a desert sky, or the golden plumage of his father's saluki dogs, or the filigreed robes of the young king at the camel races. —Diana Abu-Jaber, Vogue, May 2007
… the place in the Texas Panhandle where Highway 66 rolled down off the land of farms and ranches into the beginnings of the desert grassland and red-rock country that dominated New Mexico. —Susan Croce Kelly, Route 66, 1988
Large, extremely dry area of land with fairly sparse vegetation. It is one of the Earth's major types of ecosystems. Areas with a mean annual precipitation of 10 in. (250 mm) or less are generally considered deserts. They include the high-latitude circumpolar areas as well as the more familiar hot, arid regions of the low and mid-latitudes. Desert terrain may consist of rugged mountains, high plateaus, or plains; many occupy broad mountain-rimmed basins. Surface materials include bare bedrock, plains of gravel and boulders, and vast tracts of shifting sand. Wind-blown sands, commonly thought to be typical of deserts, make up only about 2% of North American deserts, 10% of the Sahara, and 30% of the Arabian desert.