Where Is the Driest Desert In the World and How Often Does It Rain In the Atacama Desert?

The Atacama Desert in Chile is the driest desert in the world.

No plants grow there.

Its elevation is about 8,000 feet (2,438 m), with average temperatures ranging from 32° to 75°F (0° to 25°C).

It rains there about once every 100 years.

This is due to its location on the eastern side of the Coast Range, which results in a weather phenomenon known as the rain shadow effect.

When moist air from the ocean rises up the western side of these mountains, it cools and the water condenses, producing rain.

But when the air goes down the eastern side of the mountains, it grows warmer and drier.

The Atacama receives some precipitation in the form of fog in the coastal areas and of snow in the mountains.

Much of Chile’s copper comes from mines in the Atacama Desert.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

1 thought on “Where Is the Driest Desert In the World and How Often Does It Rain In the Atacama Desert?”

  1. Actually some plants do grow in parts of the Atacama Desert. On a recent visit Candelabra Cacti were seen growing in some areas and there are valleys which follow the course of underground rivers which are inhabited and farmed (water is still under the surface and irrigation works well). Codpa Villiage was the small town we visited. It is amazing to drive through many miles of absolutely dry desert to find life clinging to the old riverbeds and the cacti growing at higher altitude look dead and are few and far between but there are plants in the Atacama!

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