From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Deserts
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Deserts, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Deserts on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks. WikiProject icon
WikiProject Meteorology (Rated GA-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Meteorology, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Meteorology on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 GA  This article has been rated as GA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Geography (Rated GA-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Geography, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of geography on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 GA  This article has been rated as GA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Geology (Rated GA-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon Desert is part of WikiProject Geology, an attempt at creating a standardized, informative, comprehensive and easy-to-use geology resource. If you would like to participate, you can choose to edit this article, or visit the project page for more information.
 GA  This article has been rated as GA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
Wikipedia Version 1.0 Editorial Team / v0.7 / Vital / Supplemental
WikiProject icon This article has been reviewed by the Version 1.0 Editorial Team.
Taskforce icon
This article has been selected for Version 0.7 and subsequent release versions of Wikipedia.

World's largest deserts[edit]

This page refers to the Sahara as the second largest desert after the Antarctic desert. However the "sahara" page of Wikipedia ( stipulates that the Sahara is the third largest desert (after Antarctic and Arctic) with significantly different data. This assertion is linked to a hyperlink ( I understand that the size of the Arctic varies throughout the year and is decreasing overall but this seems like a coherence issue. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 16:23, 27 January 2012 (UTC).

The Arctic is mostly sea rather than land, and there is an inconsistency between articles (and sources) over how that is addressed. Ghmyrtle (talk) 16:28, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

Ice caps and extreme deserts can be distinguished as forms of wastelands. Polar deserts include those that are too cold (irrespective of availability of water) for significant vegetation and places (Antarctic dry valleys) which have physical features characteristic of warmer deserts (ephemeral streams and hypersaline lakes or ponds) except that the lakes or ponds have ice cover due to extreme cold. In such places evaporation, even if slight, overpowers the even tinier amounts of precipitation and blown-in snow even if they are surrounded or nearly surrounded by ice caps. Pbrower2a (talk) 12:35, 23 April 2012 (UTC) The Sahara Desert is covering most parts of Africa. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:07, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

Lack of Refences[edit]

this srticle needs Refimprove template and many sections need Unreferenced section template, but it's locked so i can't edit it. the refencing is so inadequate in this article — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:15, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

Sign up for a wikipedia account, make some edits, and you'll be allowed to improve it. Remember, blogs cannot be used as references. They are not reliable sources for encyclopedaic information. Thegreatdr (talk) 00:10, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

and i man got bit by a spider and died — Preceding unsigned comment added by Minecustoms (talkcontribs) 15:59, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 21 March 2012[edit]

On the basic desert page there is a table which lists the top largest deserts. The Sahara is listed as #2 when it should be listed as #3 as per another wiki article ( The appropriate sizes of the deserts should also be updated to reflect the other wiki article mentioned in this request. Thank you!

End request -->

Captainjack0000 (talk) 15:00, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

 Done Thanks for improving Wikipedia! mabdul 13:38, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

Martian Deserts[edit]

Is Earth not part of the Solar System? And, if it is, do we lack deserts? It seems to me that we do, perhaps that should be mentioned? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:14, 10 May 2012 (UTC) (Answer: Earth is part of the solar system)

For that matter, what about the Moon? What about the inner planets that are too hot for liquid water to form, or the other outer moons that are too cold or have no atmosphere? The concept of a desert really doesn't seem very transferable to me, certainly not in a way that conveys anything meaningful about the local environment. I am not convinced that the section is worth keeping. Leushenko (talk) 18:03, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 6 July 2012[edit]

The photo: which is shown on the desert main page is titled as Saguaro cacti... In fact they are Cardon cacti Pachycereus pringlei. Saguaro do not live in Baja California where this photo was taken.

Pickerbr (talk) 15:13, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

Fixed, good catch. Pfly (talk) 22:56, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

and the pickel fell down the well — Preceding unsigned comment added by Minecustoms (talkcontribs) 15:58, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

I hope no one minds, but I put link on the above cacti, for quick reference by others. KatieBoundary (talk) 19:43, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 18 August 2012[edit]

Please change the area of the arctic desert in the table "The ten largest deserts" to 5,300,000 mi². The given values in km² and mi² differ by a huge amount.

The article List of deserts by area and its source suggest the value of ~13 million km² (about 5 million mi²) being the correct one. (I'm no expert and there might be different definitions what to call the "area" of the arctic... it's just about consistency km²/mi²) Momentarylapse2004 (talk) 19:42, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

X mark.svg Not done - Do you have a source? ObtundTalk 02:59, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Contradiction with another article[edit]

The arctic is listed as 13,726, and 1,003,600sq.miles in this article but in the list of deserts by area it's 13,726, and 5,300,000sq.miles. The former is wrong - this can be checked with a simple calculation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:02, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

Yup, using convert template: 13,726,937 square kilometres (5,300,000 sq mi). Fixed. Vsmith (talk) 02:14, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

Why can't I edit this article?[edit]


I do not see an edit tab when I go to the article. I see one on the talk page, but not on the article page. Does anyone know why I can't edit this article? KatieBoundary (talk) 16:06, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

I was told at Teahouse and on my talk page that the article is semi-protected from vandalism. I am tagging this "resolved". KatieBoundary (talk) 19:18, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

Definitions - "less than enough to support growth of most plants"?[edit]

The existing opening paragraph does not define a desert very well, and is unsourced and misleading. "Less than enough to support growth of most plants" should not be in the opening paragraph, and maybe not in the article at all. It is not sourced. Many non-desert areas also have rainfall less than will support "most plants". It leads a casual reader to images of deserts without plants, when many extensive deserts are totally covered with plant life, such as Great Basin sagebrush scrub communities. So it is misleading as somehow characterizing deserts.

"Most plants" is vague and not helpful. E.g., if genetic engineering made a huge quantity of new desert species available, so the most plants could only survive in a desert, it would still be a desert, so this unsourced definition based on "most plants" is not a very good one. KatieBoundary (talk) 16:11, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

Hello. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lead section#Citations, an abstract doesn't need citations, if the point is repeated with references in the body. Cheers --Chris.urs-o (talk) 17:23, 12 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, Chris, but the body section on flora also has no inline references at all, and it does not seem to provide much support for the lead statements. KatieBoundary (talk) 18:39, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

Suggestion for first sentence with reference[edit]

Since I have been told this article has "semi-protection" due to vandalism, before I do an edit, I will propose it here first and wait for comments before making the edit.

In Stephen Marshak's "Essentials of Geology" (a best-selleer used at many colleges, likely because of the explanatory visual images), he states - "Formally defined, a desert is a region that is so arid (dry) that it contains no permanent streams, except those that bring water in from temperate regions" - (to which might be added, "or from underground sources"). He goes on to (incorrectly) say "No more than 15% of a desert's surface has a cover of vegetation", which should say "often" before it, and he cites one of the standard quantititave criteria of annual rainfall - "25cm, or less each year". These are different criteria used by different people for different ends, and are not necessarily always consistent.

I propose the following as a very plain English sentence that is consitent with everythig in the article body and lead, is very easy for anyone at any level to read, and sums up material in a reliable and cited source -

"A desert is a landscape or region that is very dry, often has little coverage by plants, and in which streams dry up unless they are supplied by water from outside areas."[1]

KatieBoundary (talk) 19:16, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

Does anyone know what dispute caused semi protection?[edit]

Does anyone know what topic of dispute caused semi protection? KatieBoundary (talk) 19:38, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

Doesn't appear to have been a "dispute" - rather it was simply constant vandalism. Vsmith (talk) 23:33, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

Arctic Desert[edit]

The article starts with this: A desert is a landscape or region of land
However, Arctic Desert is not "a landscape or region of land", but mostly ocean. And, as this [[1]] picture shows; Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden have over 300 mm as yearly rainfall, so they can't be desert. Or there are conflicting sources, at least. (talk) 20:42, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Article locked - Request to remove false and poorly sourced sentence[edit]

This sentence is false and improperly sourced - "A non-technical definition is that deserts are those parts of the Earth's surface that have insufficient vegetation cover to support a human population.[11]"

  • Many deserts support a human population, e.g., in southwestern US, along riparian areas, and near oases.
  • The source claims to be a 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica article. This is outdated and supplanted by many better sources already in the article.
  • The source is not Encyclopedia Britannica 1911, but a Wiki. Wikis are not allowed as sources. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:24, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

Top-level sections[edit]

There are now 12 top-level sections (chapters), which is perhaps rather many. I wonder if we might not reorg slightly:

  • Etymology
  • Physical geography
--- Classification
--- Weathering processes
--- Dust storms and sandstorms
--- Major deserts (was 'Geography', needs minor reorg)
--- Features (was 'Desert features')
--- Water
  • Biogeography
--- Flora
--- Fauna
  • Human geography
  • On other planets (was 'Deserts on other planets')

How about it? Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:42, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

By and large, I like it. What do you propose for the "Mineral resources" and "Solar energy resources" sections? Cwmhiraeth (talk) 10:28, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Oh good. They could stay as they are, but since "resources" implies human exploitation, perhaps they instead belong in a human relations section, if we choose to have one... Chiswick Chap (talk) 11:13, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 6 August 2013 RE: Eliot reference, "In Poetry"[edit]

Why does the author include the reference to Eliot's poem The Waste Land? (See the "In Poetry" section.) Eliot's poem has nothing to do with deserts. In fact, there's quite a bit of water imagery throughout the poem. The reference is misleading.

Please remove this reference. It adds nothing to the article. It might confuse someone who has never read Eliot's poem. (talk) 14:17, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Done. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 18:20, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

In culture[edit]

I think there's much that can be added to this section.

Most importantly, I feel we need some reference to the effect (or lack thereof) that the desert has had on the emergence of monotheism. It's been a hotly debated subject for a number of years.

A few examples, there are many more. Rest of the article's looking good though. -- Hillbillyholiday talk 13:06, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Thanks. I know nothing on this subject but will look into it. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 18:24, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Article promoted --Sp33dyphil ©hatontributions 12:52, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Desert/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Sp33dyphil (talk · contribs) 13:57, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

Since this is quite a lengthy article, I ask that you wait one or two days before I present my criticisms. Cheers, --Sp33dyphil ©hatontributions 13:57, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for taking it on. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 18:54, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

After having spent a ridiculous amount of time reviewing the article and looking around, I have decided that the best course of action here would be to quick-fail the article. Since it has totally omitted desert farming, the article does not meet GA criterion 3a. However, I am assuming you would eventually nominate this for FAC, so I took a bit of effort to criticise everything. Please read through the whole page first to ensure that I have not misunderstood anything in the article. I hope you find my detailed review helpful, as it is my most thorough yet.

  • "A desert is part of the terrestrial surface of the globe where little rain falls and in which few plants or animals are able to exist." → Perhaps "A desert is a type of terrain where little precipitation occurs and where living conditions are hostile to plants and animals." By the way, just a thought regarding the original wording, if there are deserts on Mars, wouldn't it be best to replace "of the globe" with "of a planet"? I have reservations about my own suggestion because it would sound odd. Your thoughts?
  • I have issues with the usage of the terms "rainfall" and "precipitation". They are strictly not interchangable, as the latter also includes snowfall. Would an area that receive less than 250 mm of rainfall per year but receive much more snow be considered a desert? Take for example, Cape Dorset, Nunavut. It received an average of 143.9 mm of rainfall each year from 1971 to 2000. But with 296.4 mm of annual snowfall added, its total average precipitation per year during this time was 403 mm. Would Cape Dorset be considered a desert or a steppe? You might be alluding to this in the fourth paragraph under "Classification", but the still the meaning of precipitation is unclear at the moment.
  • "About one third of the land surface of the world is arid, semi-arid or located in the polar regions, which also have little precipitation" – acccording to the Oxford Dictionary, arid means "having little or no rain; too dry or barren to support vegetation". If so, the polar regions are arid. I would rephrase the sentence as the two are not mutually exclusive.
  • "Although rain seldom occurs in deserts, there are occasional heavy downpours. Rain falling on hot rocks can cause them to shatter and dry creeks can become raging torrents with little warning. The rock and rubble strewn over the desert floor is further eroded by the wind." → "Although rain seldom occurs in deserts, there are occasional downpours that can result in flash floods. Rain falling on hot rocks can cause them to shatter and the resulting rocks and rubble strewn over the desert floor is further eroded by the wind."
Done now. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 11:09, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
  • "Plants and animals living in the desert need special adaptations to enable them to survive in the harsh environment."
Done now. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 11:09, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Convention dictates that "Etymology" comes first in the article.
Indeed it has. I moved the Etymology section to the beginning of the article before you made that comment. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 06:36, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
Sorry for my mistake. --Sp33dyphil ©hatontributions 07:11, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
  • "A desert is a landscape or region of land" I don’t think "landscape" should be used in this context.
  • "98%" vs "20 percent" vs "forty percent" – please be consistent.
  • "250 millimetres (10 in)" vs "250 mm (10 in)" – please be consistent.
  • "40 °C (104 °F) to 7 °C (45 °F)" vs "30 and 32 °C (86 and 90 °F)" – again, please be consistent. I suggest you pick the latter.
  • "Deserts are sometimes classified as "hot" or "cold", "semiarid"" and "Semiarid deserts have long" vs "semiarid lands are generally referred to as steppes". Does this mean an area may be classified as a steppe and desert at the same time?
  • "The rainfall is very low, especially in winter, and may come in the form of the a very occasional heavy downpour." Wait, so it is more likely to rain in a hot desert during summer than winter?
  • "The soil is coarse-textured gravel or sand, shallow and well drained." → "The soil consists of coarse-textured gravel or sand, and is shallow and well drained."
  • Link Greenland.
  • "Deserts are also classified by their geographical location and dominant weather pattern as trade wind" → "Deserts are also classified, according to their geographical location and dominant weather pattern, as trade wind"
  • "Tengger and Sonoran deserts." Capitalise "deserts".
  • "as Sandhills (Nebraska)" "as the Sandhills in Nebraska"
  • "Thus, during daylight, most of the sun's heat reaches the ground, and but as soon as the sun sets the desert cools quickly by radiating its heat into space."
  • "In hot deserts, the temperature in the during daytime can exceed 45 °C (113 °F) in the summer and dip plunge to below freezing point at night during in the winter."
  • The "ten largest deserts" table does not correspond to its source. The Thar desert is ranked 20th in according to but is ranked 10th in the article. In addition, and Target Study includes the Syrian desert whereas the article omits it entirely.
  • "on their size and density" The source also says shape. Likewise, with the phrase, "distances of thousands of kilometres (miles)", the source says 6,000 km.
  • There are various instances where alternative metric/imperial measurements are needed. "4,400 meters and is continuous above 5,600 meters".
  • You have not touched on desert farming. There are numerous sources for this industry [2], [3], [4], [5]
  • "they ate milk, blood"
  • "partly due to lower cloud cover." As compared to what? I would rephrase it as "partly due to a lack of cloud cover."
  • "covered in mirrors (used for solar energy)"
  • Delink Europe.
  • The "In literature" section appears to be a mishmash of random facts lacking consistent flow. Please give it a few tweaks. You could talk about the common themes that desert represent.
  • Is poetry not literature? Please merge "In poetry" into "In literature". You know what, I suggest you follow this layout with regard to the "Human relations" component of the article:
  • "History"
  • "Farming"
  • "Natural resource extraction" Renamed from "Mineral extraction"
  • "Solar energy capture"
  • "Warfare"
  • "In culture"
  • The "In war" section has a Western bias, although I don't think you can do much about it. Also, add the link Desert warfare at the top.
  • Please go more into into the tactics of Desert warfare. I've got two sources, one talks about desert warfare in general, while another talks about the Desert Campaign during WWII. I've got several quotes from the latter, namely "Desert warfare has been described as a tactician's paradise and a quarter­master's nightmare", "Visibility was excellent, and there were few obstacles to impede advance." and "Ultimately, the victor would be the side that received the best supplies in the shortest time." One important quote from the former source can be "The key to success in desert operations is mobility." Another source that can be used is [6].
  • "In the First World War, the Ottoman Turks were defeated in a campaign that spanned the Arabian peninsula, fought by regular armies assisted on the British side by irregular Arab forces in the Arab Revolt of the Hejaz, made famous by T. E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom." → "In the First World War, the Ottoman Turks were engaged with the British regular army in a campaign that spanned the Arabian peninsula. The Turks were defeated by the British, who had the backing of irregular Arab forces that was seeking to revolt against the Turks in the Hejaz."
  • "began in Italian Libya".
  • Capitalise "allies".
  • "Deserts on other planets" has no references.
Additional comment
  • The lead should mention desert farming.
Added.Cwmhiraeth (talk) 13:38, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
  • What makes wiseGeek a particularly reliable source?
I have replaced it. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 13:38, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
  • ISSNs could be added to FN 15, 16, 25, 32, 37, 38, 39, 50, 60, 66, 74, 84, 95, 98 and 107. --Sp33dyphil ©hatontributions 22:05, 1 October 2013 (UTC)
I have been involved in bringing 7 articles to FA and have never been asked to provide ISSN numbers before. Looking at earlier FN numbers on your list I could not find anything on ISSN for FN 15, and FN 16 has one already. However the numbers may no longer be relevant as I have made some changes to the article since you prepared the list. Your use of the word "could" implies that adding ISSNs is optional. I've added a few. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 13:38, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
I think Sp33dyphil is doing a great job with this review, however, I also think it reasonable, given the nature of the article, for Cwmhiraeth to focus on good article properties. Sp33dyphil's information can still be used prior to FA nomination, if you go for it, and his/her comments show an understanding of asking more than is needed in a GA. Do what you can.. --(AfadsBad (talk) 15:01, 2 October 2013 (UTC))
Image review
  • All images have the appropriate licenses.
  • Please rephrase the caption of the first photo. "Traditional concept of a desert: sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali ("Empty quarter") of the Arabian Peninsula; however, most deserts are rocky, not sandy"
  • With File:The Campaign in North Africa 1940-1943 E18467.jpg, please rephrase the caption to "Field gun firing at night in the decisive Second Battle of El Alamein, 1942"
Source review
  • FN 1: ISBN needs dashes. Check throughout article.
  • FN 2: Add author(s). Italicise title and the word "online". Non-standard date format. You might want to add a {{subscription needed}} template after the retrieval date.
  • FN 3: Replace the domain with "United States Geological Survey".
  • FN 4–7: The page parameters are not complete. I wouldn't provide a retrieval dates since these are books, but if you want to keep them, the date format would need to be standardised.
  • FN 6 and 7: You've provided a URL for these FNs, but not FN 1?
  • FN 9: FN needs to be filled out. The volume, the page number, the retrieval date could all be added.
  • FN 15: Italicise "USA Today".
  • FN 16: Add author. Add "Online" to "Encyclopedia Britannica" and italicise.
  • FN 21: Why is there a link to a glossary/dictionary? Looks odd.
  • FN 28: This is actually a part of a book titled "Global Alarm: Dust and Sandstorms from the World's Drylands". I would format it as {{Cite book|editor=Yang, Youlin; Squires, Victor; Lu, Qi|title=Global Alarm: Dust and Sandstorms from the World's Drylands|chapter=Physics, Mechanics and Processes of Dust and Sandstorms|chapterurl=|format=PDF|publisher=United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification|year=2001|page=17}}. It has got no ISBN
  • FN 31: I cannot verify this phrase "and range in size between 1 and 200 kV/m." Please add PDF format parameter and pinpoint the page number.
  • FN 34: I would replace the current source with the more-professional [7].
  • FN 35–37: Besides the fact that FN 35 and 36 are duplications, and that IMDb should not be used as a reference, this appears to be OR, unless you can produce a third-party source that can back up your claim. I suggest you replace all three with [8] ("Many people think of deserts as blowing sand dunes because of how they are often depicted on TV and in movies.") and [9] ("Others think of a desert as a dry region covered with sand dunes").
  • FN 39, 43, and 75: Spell out USGS.
  • FN 40–42: The publisher is the US Army Corps of Engineers.
  • FN 44: Add "Online" to "Encyclopedia Britannica" and italicise.
  • FN 45: Dead link.
  • FN 47: This publication seems like a more professional replacement.
  • FN 49: Replace source with the much more-professional [10]. I suspect Extremescience sourced its info from this particular article.
  • FN 51: This is the first time you've included the location of the publisher. Same deal with FN 109.
  • FN 57: It doesn't mention convergent evolution. Perhaps you could add this source that appears to be school work since it talks about convergent evolution. I'm not too fussed about this; however, definitely add PDF format.
  • FN 59: I have doubts about whether WordPress is such a good source to be used.
  • FN 63: Add publisher.
  • FN 70: Add full title.
  • FN 76: Replace current URL with . It needs proper formatting.
  • FN 77: You could add the issue no. and ISSN. Could perhaps use the exact URL of the page instead of redirecting the reader to the TOC.
  • FN 80: You could probably use the original source that used, as the the website doesn't seem to be scholarly . It refers Felipe de Alencastro, and upon further investigation, he wrote about the slave trade in the Encyclopædia Universalis (2002), page 902.
  • FN 81: Please reformat the reference according to Template:Cite video.
  • FN 82: In FN 53, you spelled out the name.
  • FN 85: Please format the reference.
  • FN 87: Italicise work.
  • FN 88: Add and italicise National Renewable Energy Laboratory as work/publisher. I don't think SunLab would be the author.
  • FN 89: Appears to be dead. Could be formatted.
  • FN 90: Wrong title.
  • FN 91 and 92: Needs to be standardised and have all parameters filled out.
  • FN 93, 96 and 100: Missing work/publisher.
  • FN 94 and 95: Add pages.
  • FN 103: Missing ISBN.
  • FN 109: Remove "Ltd" from publisher.
  • May I beg to query this source review section? "[What the GA criteria are not]" includes "Requiring consistently formatted, complete bibliographic citations. (If you are able to figure out what the source is, that's a good enough citation for GA.)" This appears to mean that many of the above comments on FN items are not material to the GA process, though undoubtedly vital at FA. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:39, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
I have now dealt with (I think) all the items included in the source review and this means that many of the FN numbers have changed. I will now move on to the other comments. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 10:49, 24 September 2013 (UTC)

The article has done a great job explaining the physical geographic and biogeographic aspects of the the desert. However, I have misgivings about the exact definition of the desert, in particular the use of of the words "rainfall" and "precipitation", which are essential to the topic. This issue can be sorted out easily. However and more importantly as regard to whether the GA status could be attained or not, the article has not provided a broad coverage of the topic. It does not elaborate much on desert warfare and leaves out desert farming altogether – the "See also" section doesn't even have a link to that article. Solely because of the lack of coverage about desert farming, I think a quick-fail is applicable here. Please give me your thoughts on this particular matter. --Sp33dyphil ©hatontributions 02:13, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

I think I have dealt with all the points you have raised above. In particular, I have added a section on Desert Farming and expanded the Desert Warfare section. I have also attended to the matters raised by AfadsBad and have been liaising with him on some of the points he makes. For example, I have rewritten parts of the section on weathering in accordance with more up-to-date research. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 13:04, 1 October 2013 (UTC)
I would like to see Snowmanradio's concerns raised on the talk page about several omissions be addressed. --Sp33dyphil ©hatontributions 22:05, 1 October 2013 (UTC)
I have dealt with Snowman's concerns but think that kangaroos and elephants are not primarily desert creatures and their habits are beyond the scope of this article, in which the section on fauna is already large. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 11:09, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
I have now added the kangaroo's methods of keeping cool. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 11:13, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

Comments by AfadsBad

I think this article is pretty good, but it has some major problems, too many and bad information. The most technical sections do not make sense in many places. For example,

"The humidity may be as low as 2 to 5% and because water vapour in the atmosphere acts to trap long wave infrared radiation from the ground, the cloudless desert sky is incapable of blocking sunlight during the day or trapping heat during the night."

Moves from low humidity, to water vapor trapping ground lwir, to a conclusion that the cloudless sky can't block sunlight or trap heat. This is all over the place, and what ir trapping has to do with anything is not explained.

The weathering section is based on outdated research. Rainfall is used where precipitation should be, snow is the only form of precipitation in some desrerts. The USGS reference is interpreted incorrectly, alluvial fans occur in all deserts, not just non-sandy ones. Same with aridisols, which are just arid land soils.

All cacti have not dispensed with leaves, check out Pereskia.

The CAM and C4 comment implies C4 plants open their stomata at night; they don't.

There are many other problems; here is one: "Most shrubs have spiny leaves and shed them in the coldest part of the year and in some areas, sagebrush covers 85% of the ground.[58]" The plant they are discussing with this area of coverage is Great Basin sagebrush, Artemisia tridentata, which is not a desert plant. It generally requires a rainfall slightly higher than the average desert in its range, and, therefore, doesn't cover 85% of the ground in deserts anywhere.

--(AfadsBad (talk) 05:48, 28 September 2013 (UTC))

Thank you for your comments, AfadsBad. I will consider the points you raise and make alterations where I think they are required, but please do not remove chunks of sourced information as you did with the sentence on cacti, thereby interrupting the flow of the text. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 11:14, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
I don't believe you have a source that says all cacti don't have leaves. If you do, you should not use it for anything. I suspect this article is read a lot. Leaving misinformation in at that level is bad for readers. Please don't add bad information or ask me to leave it, as I won't. --(AfadsBad (talk) 14:54, 28 September 2013 (UTC))

This is something the article says about C4 plants in the desert:

"Their CO2-concentrating mechanism also allows C4 leaves to achieve higher photosynthetic rates at lower stomatal conductances than in C3 species, thereby conserving water in hot conditions when evaporative demand is high (reviewed Long 1999)."

It specifically does not compare C4 with CAM here because CAM plants do open their stomata at night. It is a good choice of article to use as a reference for Wikipedia because it is a review. However, I don't know who originally put this information in the Desert article, but to imply that a C4 plant opens its stomata at night requires the article to state that. This source does not say that. I have the article, so feel free to contradict me with a quote from the article, but don't reinsert this without a direct quote from the article. Thank you. --(AfadsBad (talk) 15:40, 28 September 2013 (UTC))

GA review (see here for what the criteria are, and here for what they are not)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose, no copyvios, spelling and grammar): b (MoS for lead, layout, word choice, fiction, and lists):
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (reference section): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars, etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images and other media, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free content have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
  7. Overall:

Second opinion?[edit]

I saw the second opinion request, but skimming the above, I'm having trouble finding the specific point a second opinion is needed on. Could this be clarified? If the point of contention is the reference formatting, I would second (or third, or whatever) those who have pointed out that this clearly isn't necessary for GA, though potentially helpful to take the article further. Thanks to everybody working on this huge and important topic. -- Khazar2 (talk) 18:07, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

Khazar2: Sorry for not clarifying my intentions. I simply wanted another reviewer to have a look at the article to see if I missed anything. According to Quadell, the article is good to go, meaning I covered all the GA criteria in my review. --Sp33dyphil ©hatontributions 05:00, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
Outside (3rd? 4th?) opinions from Quadell
  • Cwmhiraeth consistently goes the extra mile to bring troubled articles up to GA and FA status. (I'm currently reviewing his nomination of salt, and I've been involved with some of his nominations previously.) There have been times when an article needed so much work that I doubted anyone would be willing and able to make the necessary changes in a reasonable period of time, but Cwmhiraeth has always delivered. This seems to be the case here, where the reviewer initially suspected a quickfail was merited, only to find all (most? all?) of his objections dealt with.
  • Sp33dyphil's detailed review is a gold mine, and has helped improve the article dramatically. Not all of his objections have been strictly necessary for GA status (as others have pointed out), but all have been valuable opportunities for improvement. The issues that AfadsBad identified have also been valuable, and I'm gratified to see that they have been addressed.
  • As I read the current version of the article, nothing jumps out at me as falling short of the GA criteria. It's well-written and complies with the MoS, it's verifiable and well-sourced, it's both broad and focused, it doesn't have neutrality or stability problems, and the images are fine. If anyone wants to point out any weaknesses I may have missed, I'm sure Cwmhiraeth will deal with them forthwith... but I'd be inclined to promote it, personally. – Quadell (talk) 18:46, 10 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Quadell: I am grateful for your input. This has been my most comprehensive and penetrating GA review I have ever completed. It is good that Cwmhiraeth has persevered and addressed all the issues, big or small, I have raised. I also thank Snowmanradio and AfadsBad for lending their expertise and insight for this gargantuan topic and covering the areas where I have missed. I will have one last look at the article, especially the extra text that has been added during this GAN, before finishing the review. Regards, --Sp33dyphil ©hatontributions 05:00, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


I have briefly looked at a few areas of the article that interest me:

Added. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 10:51, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Introduced animals (camels in Australia). Snowman (talk) 13:37, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
In my opinion the section on Fauna is already quite long. It cannot include details of all species that live in deserts and adding this information would be disproportionate. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 10:51, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
  • The heat shock proteins of the silver ant. Also, the silver ant is one of the most heat resistant of all creatures and this would be worth a mention. Snowman (talk) 13:37, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
Added. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 10:51, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
  • The use of the cooling effect of water evaporation that kangaroos use. Licking their fur on their "arms" for the cooling effect of evaporation. Snowman (talk) 13:37, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
Kangaroos are not really desert creatures and are outside the scope of this article. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 10:51, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Specializations of the kangaroos reproductive system to make the most of favourable conditions. Snowman (talk) 13:37, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
Kangaroos are not really desert creatures and are outside the scope of this article. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 10:51, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Animals from elephants to kangaroos dig for water in deserts where the water is just below the surface. Snowman (talk) 13:37, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
Kangaroos and elephants are not really desert creatures. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 10:51, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
Not all elephants life in deserts, but some do. See Elephant in the Namib desert. Snowman (talk) 22:34, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
OMG, they are so cool. Yes, a sentence about the three large mammals of the Namib. --(AfadsBad (talk) 23:10, 2 October 2013 (UTC))
The animals I mention in the single paragraph about mammals all have special adaptations to enable them to survive in deserts. I do not believe the elephant and kangaroo do. I have looked at the FA Elephant page and the Kangaroo page and can find no reference to this behaviour. If you want to add the information you are of course at liberty to do so, but I do not think it will improve the article. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 05:38, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
These elephants do! There is a brand new book on them, and they are extensively studied. However as to what is required of you for a GA, no need to worry, imo. You have plants and animals fom hot, col, windy, etc. --(.AfadsBad (talk))
And kangaroos do. The kangaroo article says "Then, if she mates and a second egg is fertilised, its development is temporarily halted." This halting is the specialised adaptation for making the best of favourable weather while it lasts. You might need to look into this elsewhere to find out more about it. Using the heat of evaporation of water to cool by licking the fur on their arms is not included in the kangaroo article, but it could be added sometime. Also, they dig in dried out water holes for the water below. These interesting facets would be worth a mention in the desert article as specialised survival strategies. I think that it would be worth including an animal from Australia for balance. Snowman (talk) 11:28, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
Kangaroo response to heat added. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 14:19, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
    • Can you add appropriate introductory sentences about metabolic water and add the ants and kangaroos to their appropriate sections? I think that good articles on major and broad topics are a necessary first step before featured article status, but more editors would be helpful. --(AfadsBad (talk) 14:41, 30 September 2013 (UTC))
I think that a technical article with half truths, omissions, and ambiguities does not help readers. Actually, I am currently working on improving the science in the "Sea" article, currently at FAC, which needs more editors and reviewers. Snowman (talk) 14:58, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
I did not say it does. --(AfadsBad (talk) 15:04, 30 September 2013 (UTC))
I know, I wrote general line about what I think are some of the problems in technical articles and parts of this article in my own words. Snowman (talk) 19:01, 1 October 2013 (UTC)
I agree it is a major problem on Wikipedia and worse in DYKs and GAs for some reason. People get hostile about corrections and comments also. What to do? The GA nominator on this article is willing to work and listen, but there are so many issues. --(AfadsBad (talk) 19:06, 1 October 2013 (UTC))
I have added information on silver ants and metabolic water. The article needs to retain balance and I think some of Snowman's suggestions are beyond its scope. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 10:51, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
There are always limits, but kangaroos live in the Outback, listed as a desert. Maybe some sorting, Americas, kangaroo rat, Sahara ant, Australia kangaroo. However, I have not looked yet, the section may need trimming, as you say. --(AfadsBad (talk) 11:12, 2 October 2013 (UTC))
Added. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 12:47, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
  • I am puzzled about if this article is meant to include frozen deserts in detail? If so, the animals that are adapted to the cold should be included. Apparently the "Antarctic Desert" is the biggest desert and is included in the introduction and a table. Apparently parts of Greenland are a cold desert, so should the people that live there be included? Snowman (talk) 20:46, 1 October 2013 (UTC)
    Is there life in Antarctica, other than humans? I think if they are linke, maybe excess detail, not sure. --(AfadsBad (talk) 20:59, 1 October 2013 (UTC))
Not many humans, mostly scientists on Antarctica. Lots of Emperor Penguins, see also List of birds of Antarctica and List of mammals of Antarctica. Snowman (talk) 21:19, 1 October 2013 (UTC)
I tend not to think of marine vertebrates as land living, but, the penquins on nest on land. --(AfadsBad (talk) 21:28, 1 October 2013 (UTC))
I have added some information on cold adapted animals. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 10:51, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
  • There may be a picture with more educational value that the canon firing in WWII. As far as I am aware, some aspects of desert warfare are like naval operations, because of the manoeuvring over vast spaces. Snowman (talk) 11:58, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Please feel free to change the image if you can find a more suitable one. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 14:22, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Dust devils, I think that they occur in deserts and other places. Snowman (talk) 12:08, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Added. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 14:22, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

Beautiful, informative, interesting article[edit]

Thank you! Amandajm (talk) 01:47, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

Water of metabolism[edit]

Re; "When fat is metabolised, 100 grams (3.5 oz) produces about 110 grams (3.9 oz) of water and this fact enables some desert animals to live on their fat reserves without recourse to liquid water.[73]". In human metabolism water is a product of the metabolism of fat, protein, sugars and carbohydrate and anything else containing hydrogen that combines with oxygen to form water. Can this statement in the article about desert animals be double checked, because it only includes metabolism of fat? Snowman (talk) 21:11, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

I have made some amendments using two new refs. Snowman (talk) 13:24, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
Oxidation of carbohydrate and protein produces some water; that of fat produces more (i.e. 110%). Chiswick Chap (talk) 13:26, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
If you are watching this page, then why have you not replied before? How much fat do desert animals eat? How much of desert animals food is converted into fat? Fat may be relevant to camels, but I have do not know much about camel metabolism. Snowman (talk) 13:28, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
Odd question. I haven't followed it for a while. How much ... probably not answerable (piece of string questions), but in the case of kangaroo rats, they eat mainly seeds (rich in carbohydrates, often poor in fats); the text mentions stored body fat, not food. I'll have a nose around for some figures, but the overall point is not at issue, water can come from metabolism. Chiswick Chap (talk) 13:40, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
My question is partly because, I am surprised that you replied at 13:28 today, which is about two minutes after I posted the update here. Glucose = C6H12O6. This can be oxidized to produce water and carbon dioxide. Why would the article only mention water from stored body fat and exclude metabolism of food? Snowman (talk) 13:44, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
It might look better with the amount of water produced from fats, carbohydrates, and also proteins for completion. Snowman (talk) 14:31, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes, it looks a little better. Protein is not specially important in practice as most food stores are carbohydrate or fat. The figures in Morrison vary slightly from Mellanby's so I've replaced all of them for consistency. The timing was due to an edit-conflict, I had to try again, btw. Chiswick Chap (talk) 16:29, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
I think that the new version on the page seems OK from thinking about basic biochemistry and new refs, but I have not studied the comparative biochemistry in depth. However, your explanation above seems to mix up some ideas, possibly because you have little knowledge of biochemistry. Water of metabolism from protein is important for migrating birds, because of the catabolism of body protein while the birds are flying and not eating much. Also, water of metabolism does not depend on stored carbohydrate or fat being catabolised except when animals are starving, because water of metabolism is also produced from metabolism of food. Humans, normally produce about 200 to 300 ml of water of metabolism per day and none of this would be from overall loss of body carbohydrate nor fats nor protein, assuming that the individual did not loose any weight that day. Of course, it is possible to gain weight (gain body fat) and still produce water of metabolism from the metabolism of food (this is different to extracting the water content in the food eaten). Snowman (talk) 18:07, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
Glad you like it. The food stores I referred to are those in the buried seeds etc that desert animals eat and rely on in the periods when fresh plant foods are scarce; I was not thinking of stores in animal bodies. Protein is obviously metabolized (net) in starvation, which might just be relevant in the desert; this article isn't about bird migration, nor about human metabolism, though of course we produce a little water, not enough to live on given how much we lose by all routes. Chiswick Chap (talk) 18:46, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, I read it your comment wrong, because I thought it meant stores of food in the body and not food stores in the ground. Do you mean that desert animals actively store their food in the ground like squirrels? I was just listing some examples to include birds and humans to make it easier to understand. However, I think that you have a grasp of it, so I have put a strike through my over presumptive assumption above. Humans produce about 10% of their water from metabolism of water. Of course, in mammals water is needed to excrete the nitrogen break down products produced by the catabolism of protein. Snowman (talk) 19:01, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
That's ok. Some may gather grains to store, but all live off the wisely-stored food laid down in seeds or other plant parts, whether freshly gathered or not. All the best, Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:48, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

Copyright problem removed[edit]

Prior content in this article duplicated one or more previously published sources. The material was copied from: Copied or closely paraphrased material has been rewritten or removed and must not be restored, unless it is duly released under a compatible license. (For more information, please see "using copyrighted works from others" if you are not the copyright holder of this material, or "donating copyrighted materials" if you are.) For legal reasons, we cannot accept copyrighted text or images borrowed from other web sites or published material; such additions will be deleted. Contributors may use copyrighted publications as a source of information, and according to fair use may copy sentences and phrases, provided they are included in quotation marks and referenced properly. The material may also be rewritten, but only if it does not infringe on the copyright of the original or plagiarize from that source. Therefore such paraphrased portions must provide their source. Please see our guideline on non-free text for how to properly implement limited quotations of copyrighted text. Wikipedia takes copyright violations very seriously, and persistent violators will be blocked from editing. While we appreciate contributions, we must require all contributors to understand and comply with these policies. Thank you. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 11:27, 29 November 2014 (UTC)

World's largest deserts - still contradicting[edit]

This page refers to the Arctic as the second largest desert after the Antarctic desert. However, the list of largest deserts (for which the link appears at the top of this section) doesn't even list the Arctic. Information for the Kalahari is strangely contradictory too. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:21, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

Did you know[edit]

-- (talk) 15:28, 26 January 2015 (UTC)Bold textItalic text All the hot deserts have skeletons of fishes found in them.

  1. ^ Essentials of Geology, 3rd Ed, Stephen Marshak