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Asia: Lut Desert, Iran

Map: Lut Desert
http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/menewlndcn.gif

This is a map of the Middle East and shows the location of our region, the Lut Desert. On this map, the name they use to distinguish our location is the Dash-E Lut. The Lut desert, as depicted on the map, shows that it lies between the the Elburt and Zagros Mountains of Iran.

Photos:
 http://whenonearth.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/9841504_orig.jpg 
 http://en.sepehrgasht.com/wp-content/uploads/st_uploadfont/Iran-lut-Desert-Explor-Persia.jpg?1babd2
These photos are great representations of the Lut Desert and shows the dry terrain associated with it as well.

Overview of Location: 

The Lut Desert is located in a province in Iran, called Kerman, which also neighbors the Baluchistan province. This desert is recorded to be one of the driest places on the globe and is recorded as the world's 25th largest desert. This massive desert is measured to be about 199 miles wide and 298 miles long. The Lut Desert is situated relatively close to the equator, having coordinates of 30°36’ 18 N 59 ° 04’04 E. Being so close to the equator, the Lut desert occasionally experiences some of the most extreme temperatures and barely receives any annual precipitation. It is also known as Iran's largest basin on Iran's geographic plateau and is surrounded by mountain ranges. [1] [2] [3]


Temperature: 
Important: All weather information was recorded from the neighboring province of Kerman, Iran.  

As previously stated above, the Lut Desert is located in the northeast region of Kerman, Iran. Since the Lut Desert is located relatively close to the equator, it experiences pretty warm temperatures annually. Below, shows a graph of the annual temperatures that Kerman experiences throughout the course of the year. The warmest month of the year would be July, with a high temperature of 99 degrees Fahrenheit and a low temperature of 67 degrees Fahrenheit. The coldest month of the year is January, with a high temperature of 53 degrees Fahrenheit and a low temperature of 28 degrees Fahrenheit. The warm season in Kerman typically lasts between the months of May and August. On the other end, the cold season lasts between the months of December and January.[4]


https://weatherspark.com/averages/32815/Kerman-Iran 

Precipitation:  
Important: All weather data is analyzed from Kerman, Iran.

Kerman, the neighboring province of the Lut desert, is a location that does not receive much precipitation throughout the course of the year. The months that experience the least amount of precipitation are May, June, July, August, and September. The months that typically receive the higher amounts of rain are December, February, and March. Typically, Kerman receives less than two inches of rain annually. [5]

The type of precipitation that Kerman recieves varies throughout the year. The most common forms of precipitation in our given location are moderate rain, thunderstorms, and light rain. Moderate rain is typical around the beginning of February. Thunderstorms occur in late September. Light rain is most likely in the beginning of February. The precipitation that occurs is affected by the season. During the warm season there is only a 4% chance of precipitation on a given day. The most common form of precipitation during this season is thunderstorms. Usually during a cold season, there is only about a 19% chance of precipitation. In the cold season, moderate rain is the most typical type of precipitation. [6]

Warm Season Precipitation

Cold Season Precipitation























https://weatherspark.com/averages/32815/Kerman-Iran 

Throughout the year there is very little precipitation. On average there is about 2 inches of precipitation a year. [7]

https://us.worldweatheronline.com/kerman-weather-averages/kerman/ir.aspx

Humidity and Dew Point: 
Important: All weather data is analyzed from Kerman, Iran.

Over the course of the year, the relative humidity ranges from 9% to 81%. It rarely drops below 6% and goes above 99%. The lowest relative humidity, when the air is driest, is late June. It is most humid in January. 


https://weatherspark.com/averages/32815/Kerman-Iran 

Changes in dew point are similar to the changes in relative humidity. Throughout the year the dew point varies between 11°F and 41°F. The driest dew point is in June, and the most humid dew point is in January. [8]

Wind and Air Masses: 
Important: All weather data is analyzed from Kerman, Iran.

A large portion of the Winds come from the North East, and a small portion of the winds come from the South as well. Due to the latitude of Kerman, the wind pattern associated with it is a prevailing North Easterly. For deserts, including Middle-Eastern ones, they typically fall into subtropical highs. [9][13]

The latitude of the Lut Desert doesn’t just tell us that it is in a prevailing North Easterly wind pattern, but also indicates that it falls into the subtropical high belt. On reaching the lid, rising air parcels fan out laterally, heading poleward in both hemispheres and thus becoming part of the upper branches of the Hadley Cells. Parcels head toward the subtropics, where they will eventually sink in concert with the belt of subtropical high-pressure systems that girdles the globe at latitudes in the general vicinity of 30 degrees north and south.” The latitude of Kerman is 30.2839 N. [9]

The types of air masses which affect the Lut Desert depends on the time year. From January until around July Iran receives wind from the continental polar region of Russia and from July it is coming from the Tibetan low. However, Iran and the rest of Middle-East and North Africa fall into the Continental tropical source region year round. Air mass has less of an impact on Iran and the Lut Desert than it has for other areas. The dominant air mass is continental tropical for the entire year. [10]

http://www.bahrainweather.gov.bh/education_air-mass

Climate:
Important: All weather data is analyzed from Kerman, Iran.

The Lut Desert is located in a region that exhibits a  Dry Tropical climate. Dry tropical climates tend to either have arid climates, which receive 4-12 inches, precipitation annually. Then the other classification would be semi-arid climates which receives more precipitation throughout the year. The annual precipitation for the Lut Desert is about 2 inches, which means that it would be a very extreme arid climate. An arid climate has the most extreme hot spots in the world. [11]

Extreme Weather Patterns:
Important: All weather data is analyzed from Kerman, Iran.

The Lut Desert is partially affected by subtropical anticyclones. There are many types of severe weather that tends to affect our location such as: extreme hot temperatures, humidity, and droughts. Low latitude and high pressure belts are the main causes for this. [12]

Temperature and Precipitation Regimes:
Important: All weather data is analyzed from Kerman, Iran.

The Lut Desert is a continental influence because our location is far away from the coast and is surrounded by mountains. Low latitude also affects the temperature fabricating our location to be very dry.


The precipitation of the Lut Desert, or Kerman, is uniformly distributed since it receives a very small amount of precipitation throughout the year. Although there are some dryer periods, the precipitation is still uniformly distributed since there is only a small amount received and that in each month there is a small percentage of precipitation [5]. 
https://weather-and-climate.com/average-monthly-Rainfall-Temperature-Sunshine,kerman,Iran 
Biomes and Ecoregion:
The Lut Desert is located in the Pale-arctic ecozone. The Palearctic ecozone is one of the largest economies in the works. It encompasses Europe, Asia north of the Himalaya foothills, northern Africa, and part of the Arabian Peninsula. The Lut desert is within the Palearctic ecozone and is known to have high biodiversity, hot days, and cold nights. [14]

The Lut Desert is in the desert and xeric shrublands biome. Deserts and Xeric Shrublands usually have less than 10 inches of precipitation annually. In addition, temperatures are usually extreme in the summer months and cool off in the winter. Woody-stemmed shrubs and plants are frequently in these regions. The plants typically have minimal water loss and adapt to the grazing, soil disturbance and burning that frequently occurs in these regions. [15]

How the climate affects the plants and animals living in our location:
Our climate affects our region drastically since it is very dry with extreme temperatures. There is very sparse vegetation, with the presence of sagebrush, salt land, and psammophyte plants. All of the plants within the region tend to have succulents due to very low amounts of precipitation received in the region and very extreme temperatures. The plants adapt to the climate quite well because they have long roots that extend far into the ground in  order to obtain any sort of water available to them. They also have a waxing coating on their stems in order to seal moisture. In addition,they have spines that prevent animals from consuming the plants in order to conserve water. Some animals that roam the area are also cheetahs, gazelles, birds, and desert fox. However, hunting in the region has significantly reduced the amount of wildlife present. [13][16]
http://nebula.wsimg.com/fcc5fccbaaf00297fcfe90e4810beb69?AccessKeyId=B7449E48BFF0C955D5A3&disposition=0&alloworigin=1 

These are examples of some of the types of plants that may be commonly found within the region. 

This is the depiction of the type of terrain in the Lut Desert. 

Environmental Threats:
There are many environmental threats in the Lut Desert such as.....
  • Air pollution

  • Overgrazing

  • Desertification

  • Oil pollution in the Persian Gulf

  • Wetland losses from drought

  • Soil degradation

  • Inadequate supplies of potable water  

  • Urbanization
[17]
Invasive Species: 
Paratrechina longicornis (insect).

Description:

  • Reproduces extremely quickly, so there are many of them

  • It is commonly identified as the “crazy ant” because of its rapid movements

  • They typically measure 2-3.3 mm

  • They threaten the growth of plants

  • They are highly adaptable and can live in both dry and wet climates

  • They always have colonies of both male and females that tend to be very populous

  • Nests consist of typically 2,000-4,000 workers

How to eradicate:

Topography of the region:
The topography of the Lut Desert is very flat and is surrounded by mountain ranges . Since the topography is so flat, there is not much environmental interaction between animals and plants within the region. The only source of humidity that is really present within the region  comes from nearby mountain ranges. The Eastern part of the desert consists of salt flats, ravines, and sink holes as well. The other half of the desert consists of sand. Evidently, this type of topography makes it more difficult to have a thriving ecosystem. However, often times sand dunes  offer some opportunities for plant life to develop instead of textured soils. This is due to the fact that they absorb water more easily without run-off and a higher rate of evaporation. Also, shrubs are present due to the adaptations of the deep-rooted plant systems that absorb water whenever it rains. [19][20][21][22]
http://www.itsastrangeworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/lut-desert-iran.jpg

Factors that Influence Vegetation and Wildlife:
Aside from climate patterns, many things influence the vegetation and wildlife of the Lut Desert aside from climate. Some examples of things that affect the vegetation and wildlife of the region are soil disturbance, burning, and plowing which tends to affect the species that are present. It is already difficult for species to adapt to the drastic climate of the region, especially with these factors as well [13] .

Geologic History/ Rocks:
The Lut Desert consists of volcanic rock that primarily formed as a result of the tertiary system in the region. The volcanic rocks cover about half the Lut Block. In addition, the rocks also formed due to the seismic tectonic movements that are present. The desert is also comprised of sands that are influenced by salt groundwater. This explains the egged-shape appearance of sand dunes that dominate the region. Surrounding the Lut Desert is the Zagros Mountain range. These mountains date back 541 million years. The mountain range consists of limestone and shale. The range was formed by orogenies, mountain building episodes, the was caused by th Arabian Plate going underneath the Eurasian plate. [23] [24] [25]

https://www.natureflip.com/sites/default/files/photo//dasht-e-kavir-desert-sunset-light-casts-over-the-desert-rocks.jpg 

Role of Plate Tectonics/Boundaries: 
Around the Lut Desert there are two major tectonic plates, which are the Eurasian and Arabian plates. As a result, there are a lot of earthquakes that can be severe. Over time there have been large earthquakes that have affected the landform around the Lut Desert. Typically, the earthquakes are associated with fresh surface normal faulting. There was a large earthquake in July of 1981 that resulted in extensive landsliding as well as rockfalls in the areas where there was large damage. Plate tectonics within the region continues to play a large role in the production of large earthquakes. Earthquakes are frequent and the effects of them depends on the magnitude of the earthquake.  In July 2015 there was a 5.2 mwb earthquake. This was a result of first-order plate tectonic processes that include subduction, large-scale transform faulting, compressional building and crustal extension. [26] [27] [28]
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/240651735/figure/fig4/AS:267654539771919@1440825223106/Figure-1-Map-of-Iran-showing-the-distribution-of-active-faults-earthquake-epicentres.png

Weathering and Erosion Processes:
The weathering and erosion processes that affect the landforms around the Lut Desert is wind. Wind plays a major role in reshaping the landform. Wind uses rocks materials such as clay and sand to carve the yardangs around the desert. [29]

Water:
The Lut Desert is located in a major groundwater basin area . There is limited water due to very little precipitation that occurs and as a result, there is low recharge. However, the Shur river runs annually  through the Lut desert. The river runs from the nearby mountains in Birjand and carries salt and minerals throughout the desert. Due, to hot temperatures there is a lot of evaporation that occurs which can explain why there is an abundant supply of minerals. Some ways in which the Lut Desert can conserve the limited water supply within the region, is by creating an underground dam which will help reduce the rate of evaporation of the underground water that is already present.[30] [31]
http://scontent.cdninstagram.com/t51.2885-15/s480x480/e35/15337147_206501249756969_4889627169061339136_n.jpg?ig_cache_key=MTQwOTYyODgzNDMxNjEwNzE4OQ%3D%3D.2 

Glaciers:
The only glaciers that are found in Iran are in the mountain ranges that surround the Lut Desert. However, glaciers don't directly impact the region of Iran where the Lut Desert is since there are no glaciers found throughout deserts. [32]

Wind and Water:
Wind plays a huge role in the creation and continued erosion of the Lut Desert. The formation of sand dunes and sand seas are a result of wind that is presented in the regions that carry abundant amounts of particles of sand. Most of these formations are located in the South East region of the desert and most of the sand dunes are about 475 meters tall. There is no evidence showing that water shaped the landform around the Lut Desert. The wind is also responsible for creating pavement looking shapes in the sand due to the stripping of rocky outcrops bare of soil. [33] [34]
http://cdn.surfiran.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Iran-Lut-Desert-Dasht-E-Lut-Iran-1500-630-1-1030x433.jpg

Endnotes: 
[1] "Lut Desert". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
[2] Mildrexler, D.; M. Zhao; S. W. Running (2011). "Satellite Finds Highest Land Skin Temperatures on Earth". Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. 92: 850–860. doi:10.1175/2011BAMS3067.1.
[4] https://weatherspark.com/averages/32815/Kerman-Iran 
[5] https://weather-and-climate.com/average-monthly-Rainfall-Temperature-Sunshine,kerman,Iran
[6] https://weatherspark.com/averages/32815/Kerman-Iran 
[7] https://us.worldweatheronline.com/kerman-weather-averages/kerman/ir.aspx 
[8] https://weatherspark.com/averages/32815/Kerman-Iran 
[10] http://www.bahrainweather.gov.bh/education_air-mass
[12] Textbook
[13] https://www.windfinder.com/windstatistics/kerman-airport 
[19] http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/12/incredible-ecosystem-earth-s-hottest-spot 
[20] http://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/desert/
[21] editors, Richard L. Scheffel, Susan J. Wernert ; writers, Oliver E. Allen ...; et al. (1980). Natural Wonders of the World. The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. 
[22] http://www.fao.org/ag/agp/agpc/doc/counprof/iran/iran.htm#topo
[29] http://desertlandforms.weebly.com/desert-landforms.html
[33] http://www.scienceclarified.com/landforms/Basins-to-Dunes/Dune-and-Other-Desert-Features.html
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