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Posted by bio_man   August 16, 2019   1129 views

You probably wouldn't associate Canada with having any deserts, since the country is typically attributed with winters that are long and harsh. However, that's not entirely true if you visit the southern region of Osoyoos, British Columbia, Canada, known as the Okanagan Desert. In this area, summer temperatures regularly exceed 38˚C (100 °F), and portions of the area receive roughly 250 to 300 mm (10 to 12 inches) of rain per year – compare that to Vancouver, which receives approximately 1120 mm (43 inches) of rain per year.

While some areas in British Columbia experience hotter summer temperatures and are at least as arid, the South Okanagan area is home to several species of plants and animals that are not found elsewhere in Canada. For example, the Great Basin spadefoot, the Behr's hairstreak butterfly and the desert night snake are only found here; it is the presence of these species and 80 others that make the area distinct from other semi-desert areas in British Columbia. 

Despite its name, the Okanagan Desert isn't actually a desert. Rather, it is more properly called a shrub-steppe (a type of low rainfall natural grassland). To be called a desert, the aridity index (here it is between 0.3 and 0.4) must be less than 0.2; this index is calculated by taking the precipitation and dividing it by the potential evapotranspiration (similar to evaporation). Nonetheless, it is a special ecosystem in its own right, and deserves the recognition it has received.

Desert Climate Zone Canada British Columbia Nature
Posted in Interesting Facts
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