The Atacama Desert

hello everyone this is mr. Frasier again

gotta give you a quick tutorial here I

want to remind you before we begin that

these are unscripted and because of that

I sound silly and sometimes make

mistakes but that's the fun of it so

today we're going to talk about really

quickly the Atacama Desert which is one

of my favourite topics to discuss the

Atacama Desert is found on the west

coast of the Andes Mountains along the

Pacific Ocean and stretches for about

600 miles from Peru southern border into

northern Chile and it sits you can think

of it kind of in the the western hump of

South America now the the Atacama Desert

sits along the ocean which may be

surprising to you because you assume the

water from the ocean you'd have a moist

climate but we just don't have that in

fact the Atacama Desert we consider an

absolute desert and it's called the

absolute desert because it is the driest

place on earth there's spots there that

have never ever received rain since

human beings have been recording it it's

extremely that dry and nothing is

naturally living in most of this desert

and and this is what makes it unique

even though it's not the biggest desert

in the world

the Atacama Desert is by far the driest

so what makes it so dry is this thing

called a raining shadow the Andes

Mountains and the wind patterns coming

off both the Atlantic in the Pacific

Ocean are shadowing out this area of

land and creating an inability of water

to be dropped there so let's take a look

at what that means if we look at the

desert here we'll notice that the Andes

Mountains stretch along this here

there's all the Andes and then the

Atacama sits in this area right here you

have the Pacific Ocean here

and then obviously you have the lower

lying regions of South America to the

east the rainshadow is easier understood

if we look at it from the side coming

first from the east we'll talk about the

winds with them carrying moisture coming

off the Atlantic Ocean blow in a

westerly direction and there's a few

constants we need to know about weather

and one of those is as clouds go higher

and altitude they cool because you

become colder as you become further away

from or a surface as these clouds cool

they do what's called condensate and

they actually will release their

moisture in the form of rain or snow or

whatever precipitation is is the

conditions are right for so coming off

of the Atlantic Ocean

these these winds pull all that moisture

from the continent and from the ocean

and they're very quickly pushed up

against the Andes Mountains which as we

all know from it pressure and and those

kinds of activities the heart of their

push the faster they move the faster

they move the more moisture is dropped

and so basically what we have is up

until the tip of the mountains we have

most of the moisture being dropped from

the on the eastern side of the continent

if these clouds can make it up over the

Andes Mountains they because of the the

absence of land the absence of pressure

will actually begin to drop but when

they drop the opposite happens from what

we discussed earlier the temperature

gets warmer and these clouds in effect

stop or cease dropping their moisture

they actually dry up so no rain will

come from the eastern side of these

Andes Mountains due to this low pressure

I'm sorry high pressure

from coming over the mountains so you

may look at it and say what would about

from the West when we look at it from

the West

those few wins which would come from the

ocean are unable to pick up moisture the

reason they cannot pick up moisture from

the ocean is that the ocean in this

region of the world is particularly deep

and cold because the water the moisture

in the water is so cold

these winds do not pick up the moisture

and therefore their dry winds and so

even though they are being pushed up

here there's no moisture to drop within

those clouds and so the Atacama Desert

is left to dry and left without without

the rainwater that we would need to

support life there's another look there

so that doesn't mean that humans don't

want to use this dry region in the earth

because even without life the desert

does serve a purpose the first one I

want to talk about is this thing called

saltpeter saltpeter is an agreement and

Explosives it's been used for centuries

and things like gunpowder and it's

incredibly important to the mining of

silver tin and copper in the Andes

region so saltpeter is actually taken

out of this desert because of the dry

conditions it's plentiful because it

doesn't wash away like in other regions

it's easier to find easier to preserve

because there's no water damage the

other reason why people are using the

Atacama Desert is is observatories these

are the institution's the the buildings

which house the massive telescopes which

look at the stars and study space the

reason the desert is perfect for this is

because there's little light pollution

and little actual pollution in the air

above this region - like a better word

mess up these

visual of the scientist so the desert is

a perfect place for people like those

people at NASA to set up their

telescopes and to watch the universe so

people are living in this desert so how

do they live in the Atacama well the

first thing they need is water water and

food have to be trucked in now the

problem with trucking water in it is

twofold for the first one is it causes a

lot of pollution the that's the exact

reason why people are in the Atacama

using the resources and so it puts it

the danger that the other problem

besides me I'll write it down here

besides pollution is a lack of support

resources so for example there's not a

gas station if somebody breaks down in

the desert there's not a rest area for

these men and women to pull over at and

so it's incredibly difficult and

expensive to truck this water and in

this food in so modern science has

brought a solution to surviving in the

Atacama Desert and that's what you're

gonna do next you're going to watch the

video that is below on the website and

I'd like you to watch carefully as you

see these people literally bring life to

the desert through science you're gonna

watch that and then you're gonna answer

the two questions that are below good

luck thank you for watching