Green cloud landscapes of the American Southwest
The Green Cloud Lands, also known as the Great Plains to the west, or the Great American Desert to the east, is the largest area of semiarid grasslands in North America, covering more than . It is a region of vast grasslands with no standing bodies of water, it also contains the second largest desert in North America (the Mojave) and several smaller deserts, such as the White Sands, the Chihuahuan Desert, and the Joshua Tree. The high, dry air is typically hot in summer and cold in winter, with the region often being covered in clouds in the morning, reflecting the prevailing winds of the American High Plains, which are from the southwest.
The region's climate is semiarid: the rain does not fall at the surface of the earth, but rather as clouds, and it seldom thunders or hails. The soil is extremely dry, often rocky, sandy, or semi-sandy, and often covered with sagebrush and creosote. The plants are small in stature and slow-growing, adapted to dry, hot conditions. In spring, grasslands are often covered with a carpet of wildflowers, with many different colors and designs.
The Great Plains cover portions of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, a small corner of Oklahoma's Cimarron County is in the Green Cloud Lands.
The term Green Cloud is a colloquial term for a thin, overcast sky, this is so called because it resembles the thick cloud banks of eastern forests, while the clouds are actually high above the ground. The name "Green Cloud" was applied to the American West by European settlers who observed the high clouds in the sky from their windows. Other colloquial names for the region include the American Desert, the Great American Desert, the Great Dessert, the Western Dessert, and the Black Desert.
The American Desert is often considered a part of the American Southwest, since both are in the West but separated by many miles. The latter term was popularized by the works of Edward Abbey. The desert covers a much larger area, extending into Utah, Nevada, and California, and also covers much of Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Arizona is usually considered part of the Southwest, but there are some small sections of the state that are part of the Green Cloud Lands. The desert lands have a temperate climate, they are often dry and cold, with little precipitation, except in the wettest months. The climate is usually hot in summer and cold in winter, with some variation in temperature between these extremes.
The climate is arid and extremely dry, with very little precipitation. There are a few water sources. The soil is often rocky or sandy, and can be sandy-loam, clay, or clay loam. The climate is semiarid, with a hot dry summer and a cold snowy winter.
Much of the area is not very populated and most people live along the roads. Some parts of Arizona are covered with desert grasses, such as the Palo Verde, Mesquite, and Needle's Eye communities. There are also scattered mesquite and palo verde trees in the region. The land, as well as the clouds above it, are a familiar sight to the locals.
A small but growing population is located in the desert. However, most of the population is scattered along the northern parts of the state, with most of the city-dwellers living in Phoenix and its vicinity. Most of the population along the east coast are located in Tucson and its vicinity. A new town has recently been built in the desert area called Oracle. One of the only towns that is fully established in the desert is Payson. This town is the only center of culture in the area and is a tourist attraction. The other large towns are located in the Phoenix area, although that city's growth is mostly taking place in the central valley, to the north of Payson.
There are several cities in the desert. Payson, Oracle, Sun City and South Mountain are built on dry mountain ranges. There are a few permanent lakes around Payson and South Mountain. Sun City is built at the end of the Phoenix Mountain range and is almost entirely surrounded by mountains. Sun City is a very popular place, but can only be reached by car or bus. South Mountain is also part of the Phoenix Mountain range and is a popular resort. The only town in the desert that has a direct bus service is Oracle, which is also a good location because of its proximity to the Phoenix-Tucson area.
The main tourist attractions in the desert are many of the small archeological and historic sites. The Palo Verde Pueblo is a collection of small, round buildings that were built in the 1300s. There is also a large archeological site in the Payson area, with many buildings that were built in the 1300s and 1500s.
The public school districts that serve a significant number of people in the desert are Payson Unified School District, Mesa Public Schools, Oro Valley School District and Sunnyslope School District.
Phoenix metropolitan area
Phoenix Desert Experience
Category:Deserts of Arizona
Category:Deserts of the U.S.
Category:Geography of Maricopa County, Arizona
Category:Geography of Yavapai County, Arizona