Desert flowers of Atacama. Chile
The Atacama Desert is the driest place in the world. It is 50 times drier than Death Valley in California. The desert originates from the border of Peru and Chile, and extends for the length of 1000 km towards the south. The total area of the desert is about 105 000 km2. This desert receives about 10 mm of rainfall a year. In many places, there was no rain for several years. Some places haven’t got rain for 400 years. All this explains the impossibility of life in some places – no ticks, no scorpions, no predators at all.
However, there is an unusual climatic phenomenon that occurs between the months of September and November. It is called the flowering desert (Spanish: desierto florido). The desert blossom is associated with another interesting phenomenon known as the El Niño – fluctuation of surface water temperature in the equatorial part of the Pacific, which is able to substantially influence the climate. Scientists predict that the water temperature of the Pacific Ocean will reach its maximum point in November and December of 2015, and will weaken only in the first months of 2016.
So, torrential rains, which began in March, have become a real disaster for the northern regions of Chile. They have caused floods, landslides and numerous destructions. This was also the reason that some parts of the Atacama Desert became covered with wonderful pink hollyhocks and other 200 species of flowers and plants inherent in this region. Atacama Desert blooms on average once every 5-10 years, during the years of heavy rains. However, this year is very special. National Tourism Service director in Atacama Daniel Diaz notes that the intensity of flowering this year has no equal.
This incident has greatly affected the influx of inquisitive tourists that helped to lift the economy in the region after such a disaster.