A desert is defined as an area whose landscape gets a significantly small amount of rainfall throughout the year. This land is mostly barren since the dry living situations make animal and plant life therein unfriendly. Nonetheless, it is estimated that about one-third of the land cover of the earth is either arid or semi-arid. We have listed top five biggest deserts around the world.
5. Gobi Desert (500,000 Square Miles)
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Placed in Asia, it covers parts of northwestern and northern China and reaches into the south of Mongolia. It holds about 500,000 square miles of land surface. The Gobi is termed as a ‘rain shadow desert’, as it is on the lee-ward side of the Himalaya Mountains which block the rain, keeping clouds from the Indian Ocean from reaching The Gobi. Most of the Gobi’s cover is not sandy, but rather exposed, bare rock. It is a cold desert and snow seldom will accumulate on its hills.
4. Arabian Desert (900,000 Square Miles)
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This desert is placed in far Western Asia, comprising most of the Arabian Peninsula. With a land covering of about 900,000 square miles, it covers much of Yemen, the Persian Gulf, Jordan, Oman, and Iraq. Its center, Rub ’al-Khali, the “Empty Quarter”, makes the largest continuous body of sand in the world. The weather is very dry, while temperatures change between regular, characteristically high heat on one end of the spectrum, and seasonal nighttimes freezes on the other. The seasonal rainfall is around 100mm on average, but the driest areas get as little as 30-40 mm of rain a cycle.
3. Sahara (3,500,000 Square Miles)
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This is the 3rd largest desert overall, and the largest ‘hot desert’ in the world. It holds a surface area of about 3.5 million square miles. This desert covers most of the land in North Africa, excluding the lush regions of Maghreb, the Atlas Mountains and the coastal region adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea. Most of the desert is covered by rocky Hamada, big land areas covered with sand dunes. The land surface is continually being reshaped by winds and, far less frequently, the very low and rare rainfall. The central part of the desert is named as ‘hyper-arid’, and there is no vegetation growing there as a consequence of the virtually nonexistent precipitation. Most of the rivers are seasonal and biennial. The major exception is the Nile, which is the main river across the desert.
2. Arctic (5,400,000 Square Miles)
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This desert holds the ‘North Pole’ region. The Arctic Desert forms the 2nd largest desert globally, comprising a land surface of about 5.4 million square miles. The desert partially extends parts of territories claimed or regulated by Canada, Norway, Denmark, Russia, the United States and Sweden. Precipitation generally happens as snow, and winter temperatures can drop to less than -40 degrees Celsius. The desert is defined by high winds which stir up snow, forming an illusion of persistent and continuous snowfall. The Arctic is very unsafe to climate change. There has been a reduction of the sea ice there; frequently raising concerns over Arctic ice cover reduction due to global warming, which could have profound consequences on weather patterns globally.
1. Antarctica (5,500,000 Square Miles)
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Antarctica is rated the most extreme continent on earth, and is located at the South Pole. On average, it is the hardest, windiest, and coldest continent on earth, while also having the largest average elevation compared to any of the other regions. The entirety of Antarctica is a desert with a yearly precipitation of less than 200mm. The temperatures are usually very cold and may drop as low as -89 degree Celsius in wintertime, and as high as around 15 degrees Celsius in the summertime at times in some coastal places. For this reason, there are no living residents there. Temporary residents, ranging from 1,000 to 5,000 during the year, consist mainly of scientific researchers and their helping personnel. The Antarctic Desert comprises a total area about 5.5 million square miles. Sunburn and vision difficulties are a concern to people in Antarctica, due to the glare of the sun off of the ice.