The first thing that comes to one’s mind at the mention of deserts is the intense heat and hot sand. A desert is a mass piece of land that receives a significantly less amount of rainfall or none at all. Majority of people assume that all deserts are hot, however, that is not entirely true. We have a number of cold deserts which include some of the largest deserts. Some of the deserts are completely bare due to the extreme conditions that cannot support life of any flora or fauna.However, that is the fact that is before us today. The rate at which the deserts are spreading is wanting and that is the reason as to why world leaders are advocating for environmental conservation in order to improve of the percentage of the earth’s surface that is covered by vegetation. The following are Top 10 Largest Deserts In The World.
Table of Contents
- 10. Great Basin Desert – 190,000 Square Miles
- 9. Syrian Desert – 200,000 Square Miles
- 8. Patagonian Desert – 200,000 Square Miles
- 7. Great Victoria Desert – 220,000 Square Miles
- 6. Kalahari Desert – 360,000 Square Miles
- 5. Gobi Desert – 500,000 Square Miles
- 4. Arabian Desert – 900,000 Square Miles
- 3. Sahara Desert – 3,500,000 Square Miles
- 2. Arctic Desert – 5,400,000 Square Miles
- 1. Antarctic Desert – 5,500,000 Square Miles
10. Great Basin Desert – 190,000 Square Miles
About 190,000 square miles of the United States land is covered by a desert known as the great basin desert. The desert is the largest in the country. From the tip of the rocky mountains of Sierra Nevada you can see a vast dry land that extends to Sonora and Mojave deserts.
To the north, the desert extends to the Colombia plateau. If you thought that all deserts are dry, then this desert might surprise you. the great basin desert is one of the coldest of all the deserts in the world. The temperatures there are too low that if you open a water tap in the morning then the first thing that will fall into your container is ice.
The precipitation in this arid area totals 7-12 inches. As expected, the area is extremely hot during summer and too cold during winter. If you are thinking of visiting the desert then you must prepare yourself for extreme conditions, either too hot or too cold.
9. Syrian Desert – 200,000 Square Miles
At position 9 is the Syrian Desert which is unique in its rights. The arid piece of land is a combination of low grassland and a true desert located in the northern parts of Arabian Peninsula. Like the names.
The mass dry land covers an average of 200,000 square miles. One unique feature of the arid area is the flat landscape that is uniform and rocky. Furthermore, the area is mostly rocky as opposed to the sandy nature of the deserts that most people are conversant with.
The landscape was formed by the lava flow that originated from the volcanic activities in the areas of Jebel Druze in Syria. The Dryland covers parts of Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
8. Patagonian Desert – 200,000 Square Miles
In the South American nation of Argentina exists the Patagonian deserts which takes a land mass of approximately 200,000 sq miles. The deserts border the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Andes Mountains to the west respectively. The dry land makes a perfect example of a cold desert.
The temperature rarely exceeds 12 degrees Celsius. Even though the arid area extends to Chile, it is important to note that the larger part of it is in Chile. For those of us who are affected by cold, I would not advice you to visit the place. That includes also those who are allergic to cold.
The temperatures in the desert are at an average of 3 degrees. Considering the fact that human body temperature is normally at 27 degrees Celsius, the temperatures in the desert is considered not suitable before human survival. Other than the cold, the windy conditions in the bare land are not easily bearable. The moving air from the mountain makes the temperatures even lower.
7. Great Victoria Desert – 220,000 Square Miles
Another great word desert is the Great Victoria Desert. Some scholars choose to refer to the dry land as the ‘Thunderstorm Desert’. The name is attributed to the high number of thunderstorms. In a span of one year, the desert experiences an average of approximately 15 to 30 thunderstorms.
The desert is not as cold as the previously mentioned arid area. The temperatures are around 20 degrees Celsius during the winter and in summer the temperature range is between 32 and 40 degrees Celsius. Despite being a desert, the area experiences a little rainfall of about 200-250 mm per year.
The arid area is the largest desert in Australia. It stretches from the Gawker Ranges of South Australia to the Goldfields of Western Australia. This vast dry land covers a region of approximately 220,000 sq miles.
6. Kalahari Desert – 360,000 Square Miles
The southern part of Africa also has its fair share of desert coverage. The Kalahari Desert covers a vast land surface of about 360,000 sq miles covering some parts of South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. One key feature that keeps the land dry is the red sand that has high drainage.
The desert boasts of one permanent river. The Okavango River flows to the northern delta and originates from the plains in the northwestern part of the desert. The vegetation that form the Kalahari is mostly composed of desert plants. The only plants that you are likely to come across during your visit to the Kalahari is shrubs and cactus.
The fact that there is vegetation in the desert is enough evidence that the arid area can support life. If you love adventure, I cannot discourage you from visiting the Kalahari. However, you must adequately prepare for the trip so that you are not surprised by the dry conditions.
5. Gobi Desert – 500,000 Square Miles
If you are familiar with China, then you have come across the term ‘Rainshadow.’ Like the name suggests, this part of chine does not experience actual rain. The Gobi deserts, as commonly known, covers a wide part of northern China and extends to the Southern parts of Mongolia.
The total area covered by the desert is approximately 500,000 sq miles. The proximity of the bare land to the Mountains of Himalaya disadvantages the arid area when it comes to rainfall. Weather focus details explain that the mountains block the rain from the desert area by keeping the clouds forming from the Indian Ocean from crossing over to the Gobi region.
This is where the name ‘rain shadow’ originates. As opposed to most deserts, Gobi is mostly rocky and not sandy. The region being a cold desert, it is normal to find snow forming on the dunes. While some deserts are feared to extend to cover more land surface, the mountains take care of any possibility of extension of the Gobi desert.
4. Arabian Desert – 900,000 Square Miles
The Arabian region is said to be mostly desert. However, that is just but a stereotype. Even though the region hosts one of the largest deserts, it has some vegetation consisting mostly of shrubs and cactus. The dry land covers proximately of 900,000 sq miles of land covering parts of Yemen, Oman, Jordan and Iraq.
Part of the desert known as the Empty Quarter, forms the largest continuous sand body that exists on earth today. The climatic conditions in the area are mostly dry and the temperatures fluctuate. The temperatures vary from high during the spectrum to seasonal nighttime freezes in other seasons. The average annual rainfall is about 30 to 40 mm of rain per year.
3. Sahara Desert – 3,500,000 Square Miles
The third largest desert is none other than the Sahara Desert. Some people prefer to refer to the desert as the hot desert which indeed it is. With a surface coverage of about 3.5 million sq miles, it is right to say that the dry land contributes to most of the land surface in Africa.
The desert is not entirely unproductive as some regions such as the Maghreb, coastal region along the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlas Mountains are relatively fertile. Otherwise, most of the desert is composed of a rocky landscape.
However, it is important to note that the landscape of the Sahara is under transformation by the low amounts that are recorded in the region and the winds. As you move towards the center of the desert, the vegetation reduces as the desert get drier than the periphery regions.
Vegetation is not expected at the center of the desert as it is hyper-arid. With the exemption of the one River Nile, all the other rivers in the desert are seasonal. It is only the Nile that has the confidence of crossing the desert to join the red sea. It is said that there is a possibility of the desert expanding to the eastern parts of Africa.
This is not good news to the agricultural communities of East Africa, and that is why there are calls for reforestation and forestation in East Africa.
2. Arctic Desert – 5,400,000 Square Miles
The second largest desert is not in Africa like the third largest arid area. The Arctic desert covers sic countries so if it is a problem then it is a problem that affects six nations and if it is a blessing, then it is a blessing that favors six nations.
The countries covered by the dry land are United States, Sweden, Russia, Norway, Denmark and Canada. In total, the land surface cover by the desert is approximately 5.4 million sq miles. If you reside in worm parts of the globe, it is not a good idea to visit the desert during winter.
Being a cold desert, the temperatures there go up to below -40 degree Celsius during winters. It is said that the desert experiences continuous snowfall, but that is not true. It is the constant winds that blow off the snow to create an illation of continuous snowfall.
Researchers have raised the alarm over the climate change in the region. The shrinking of the sea ice in the area could have a serious impact on global sea water levels according to the researchers. As for now, the Antic remains the second largest desert that exists under the sun.
1. Antarctic Desert – 5,500,000 Square Miles
The Antarctic is a perfect example of extremism. Everything about the region is extreme. The desert is the largest in the whole world and on top of that, it is also the driest. Furthermore, the deserts are said to have to coldest temperatures, and it is in the same desert that you will meet the worst winds of your time.
Taking into consideration that the desert is found on the North Pole, it also goes without saying that the desert has the highest elevation on the planet as compared to the other drylands. Antarctica is not just a desert but also a continent in its rights, and the entire continent is a desert. In the region, less 200mm of precipitation is recorded every year.
As mentioned earlier, the region is at the North Pole, and the temperature is as low as -89 degree Celsius during winter. If you are planning to visit the region, prepare adequately for the freezing temperatures. I don’t think that you can prepare enough for that visit.
Due to the harsh conditions in the desert, there is very minimal residence in the desert. Most of the residents are temporary as it is not advisable to establish a permanent residence in the desert. Depending on the time of the year, the established temporary residents range from 1,000 to 50,000.
The groups of people who establish these residents mostly include researchers and scientists and their supporting personnel. The deserts total coverage area is about 5.5 million sq miles. The region is not new to vision problems and sunburns, and therefore anybody planning to visit the desert should take necessary precautions.
Deserts are part and parcel of our vegetation. Some people love the deserts as specious commodities such as oil are hidden underground some of the deserts. On the other hand, the extreme condition s in the deserts make like unbearable. Some of the deserts are considered not suitable for human existence and in some, not even a plant can survive. It is essential for the globe to appreciate the presence of these geographical features so that it is easy to predict the future and make adjustments where necessary.