When we say “desert”, we usually imagine sandy expanses, dunes, camel caravans, and a scorching climate. It seems that it is difficult to live in an area with such a climate.
However, scorching climate and dunes are not an entirely accurate idea about what desert entails. The desert has its own, albeit meager, but life. Man has long adapted to the desert, having learned to survive even in such difficult conditions.
Five largest deserts in the world according to area
1. Antarctica Desert (14.2 million km²)
The largest desert in the world is Antarctica. This southernmost natural zone of the planet is located on an area of 14.2 million km²).
The temperature here drops to an incredible -70 degrees in winter, and in summer, it does not exceed -20. It isn’t easy to live in such conditions. Therefore, of the animals, only penguins were able to adapt. There are no insects at all. There is no fish in the water; there are only protozoa and lower crustaceans. Of the plants in this desert, only mosses and lichens can live.
2. Arctic desert (13.9 million km²)
The first in the three most fantastic deserts in the world is the Arctic. It is located in the northernmost natural area. Its territory is about 13.9 million km². There are areas in this desert that belong to Russia, the USA, Canada, and other countries.
The climate is very harsh. The air temperature does not exceed 0 degrees all year round. And in winter, the thermometer can show an extreme minus 60. There is always snow.
The polar night determines all life cycles. Only mosses and lichens grow here. Only polar bears and arctic foxes are known for large animals.
3. Sahara Desert (9.2 million km²)
If you do not consider the earth’s poles, then the Sahara could be called the largest desert in the world. The Sahara is considered the largest desert located in the subtropical zone. The area of its territory, according to various estimates, is close to nine million km². It stretches for about 5,000 km to the east and the south – for 1,000 km. Sahara is located on the territories of 10 states.
The climate of the Sahara is quite different and depends on the location of the region. A record temperature was recorded in winter – up to minus 20 degrees, and in Al-Azizia (Libya) in the summer, the thermometer once rose to +58 degrees.
The fauna of the Sahara is an animal of four thousand species. Most of them are representatives of the class of invertebrates. From vegetation, only grasses and shrubs can be found. Trees can only be seen in oases.
4. Australian desert(2.7million km2 )
Australia is a country of kangaroos and funny koalas. Land of cockatoos and endless beaches, where it is so pleasant to relax! And at the same time, almost half of the continent is given over to the power of deserts, the whole territory of 2.7millionkm2.
Even though the desert is, in our opinion, a collection of sand, the Australian desert is something special. Here you can find both the usual sandy deserts and stone ones, the entire space of which is covered with fine gravel. In addition, the Australian Desert is also famous for its red dunes located in the Simpson Desert. The height of some of them is as much as 40 meters.
5. Arabian Desert (2.3 million km²)
Russian tourists know this area very well. After all, it is here that the modern Mecca of Egyptian tourism is located – the city of Hurghada. Scientists-geographers mean by the Arabian desert a complex of territories, which exceeds a 2.3million km2.
The climate of the Arabian is very extreme. During the day, the temperature rises to +56 degrees in the shade, and at night the thermometer can show minus 12 degrees below zero.
The mountain ranges of the Arabian Desert are rich in mineral deposits. Gold, silver, lead, and molybdenum are mined here on an industrial scale. Deposits of uranium and zinc have recently been discovered.