Do you know about the largest deserts in the world? Deserts are places that receive a very limited amount of rainfall per year. Deserts may be notorious for their dry and arid climate but they are also home to some unique flora and fauna. Note that unlike the common misconception about deserts being hot dry areas, deserts can also be very cold. Deserts form at least of fifth of the earth’s surface area. Our list of the top five largest deserts in the world includes both hot and cold deserts.
The Antarctic Desert
The Antarctic desert located in the continent of the same name occupies an area of 5.5 million square miles. This desert located in the southern most continent of the earth Antarctica, which is considered to be the coldest and windiest area on earth. This area of the earth remains dark for most of the year and receives a little below two inches of rain per year.
The Arctic Desert
Many people wonder the Arctic is considered a desert when it is in fact surrounded by an ocean. It is a considered a desert because it receives very limited precipitation per year. Although there is an ocean, it is literally frozen all year round. The highest temperatures in this desert go up to 10 degrees centigrade.
The Sahara Desert
This Sahara is a desert that spans most of North Africa. It is known for its very hot temperatures during the day that suddenly drops to freezing temperatures at night. This desert with its subtropical weather covers an area of 3.3 million miles. This is a very dry desert with precipitation levels below 0.9inches per year. It has beautiful sand dunes that can sometimes reach as high as 180m. The Sahara is bordered in the south by the Sahel and to the North by the section of the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt.
The Arabian Desert
The Arabian Desert with surface area of 900 thousand square miles stretches through most of the Arabian Peninsula and is found to the west of the Asian continent. This hot desert receives precipitation of up to 100mm in some places although it could go down to 50mm. It is home to the Rub’al khali a large sand body that is a major sedimentary basin in Yemen. Most of this desert is found in Saudi Arabia while and the desert has five countries at its borders.
The Gobi Desert
The Gobi desert located in East Asia covers a surface area of 500 thousand square miles. Some areas get precipitation of 100mm while some other areas may not get rain for up to three years. Unlike the Sahara that has vast sand dunes, this desert is made up of mainly rocky expanse of life. Temperatures can get as high as 40 degrees centigrade in summer or as low as -40 degrees centigrade in winter. It is home to one of the largest biosphere in the world; the Gobi National Park. This desert is a great attraction to archaeologist on the lookout for dinosaur fossils.