A bite-size answer to why deserts are hot during the day but cold at night…
A desert is a region which receives an extremely low amount of precipitation (meaning, basically, water falling from the sky). Although it is out of the scope of this particular question and answer, many deserts are formed by what are known as rain shadows: mountains blocking the path of clouds/precipitation to the desert area. This means that deserts are very dry with little moisture in the air (relative humidity).
During the day, hour after hour of sunlight hits the desert (with very few clouds to prevent it reaching the ground), heating the air to high temperatures. At night, when the sun has set, the hot ground and air radiates the heat back into space.
When there is moisture in the air, it holds the heat (similar to a duvet holding our body heat in at night). But in the desert – because it is very dry – the low humidity means that very little heat is held, unlike say jungles and rainforests where there is lots of water in the air and temperatures vary little between day and night.
So we have it. The reason why deserts are hot in the day and cold at night is basically down to low humidity.
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