[Desert and Sea: Visions of Baja California - El Desierto y el Mar: Imagenes de Baja California]  Imágen Satelital de la Península de Baja California y el golfo de California See Spanish version

[OCEAN OASIS introduction] [Desert & Sea Photography Exhibition] A Look at Geology: The Stone Raft A Look at Climate: Changing Patterns A Look at Life: Forms Wonderful and Beautiful  A Look at Humankind: People and the Peninsula The Photographers Exhibit Options [space] [Site Index]

A Look at Climate: Changing Patterns
La Perspectiva del Clima: Patrones Variables

In greater Baja California, rain is precious and unpredictable. Precipitation follows patterns dictated by ocean currents and Earth's rotation. Cool winter rains fall in the north and along the Pacific coast. Late summer tropical storms glance the southern peninsula and gulf coast. The central peninsula may receive no rain at all; fog rolling off the Pacific may be the only source of moisture for years at a time. Climb the mountains and temperatures drop; rain and snow fall, robbing the clouds of any moisture before they reach the scorching deserts to the east. Within these patterns, there is great variability. To survive on the peninsula, life must be flexible and adaptable to drought or deluge.

Central Desert near Rancho San Antonio, photo copyright Bill Evarts

Central Desert near Rancho San Antonio
Bill Evarts
The Central Desert features a curious mixture of plants. Thick stemmed, rosette, spiny, or spindly—these forms are adaptations to store water, collect water, or reduce water loss where rainfall is variable. Winter rains from the north and summer rains from the south will reach the Central Desert—sometimes. Many years may go by with no rain at all. Ocean fog from the Pacific, however, is dependable.

Cardonal, Isla San Pedro Mártir, photo copyright Enrique Hambleton

Cardonal, Isla San Pedro Mártir
Enrique Hambleton
The cardón grows so slowly, it is as if time stands still. During long stretches of drought, the cardón draws from the water stored in its thick fleshy stem. If it rains, the cardón's ribs swell with water, just as the pleats of an accordion fill with air.

Geology | Life Forms | Humankind
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