Vol 5 Life in the Desert ... Introduction ... Rain shadows
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Rain shadows

Some deserts are created by rain shadows: an effect where moisture is lost from clouds as they pass over a range of mountains.
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Rain shadows do not on their own cause deserts, but they often add to the aridity of desert regions. As moisture-laden air moves over mountain ranges, the moisture condenses into clouds and falls as rain.

As the air loses its moisture it obviously becomes drier and the area on the other side of the mountain range receives little rainfall.