A desert is a diverse biome that usually has less than 50 cm of rain per year. You can classify any area under a biome by knowing the temperature and rainfall. The tundras are another biome and although they look very different than deserts they have very little rain too because of the low temperaturs that freeze the rain into snow that just adds to permafrost. Both areas have little vegetation that can adapt to periods of dry.
In order to be considered a desert, the area of land has to get less than 250 mm or 10 inches per year. Also, deserts are usually situated in the subtropical climate zones where there is unbroken sunshine for the whole year due to the stable descending air and high pressure.
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