Major Deserts of World

major deserts of world showing continents

 A desert is a barren area of land where little precipitation occurs and consequently living conditions are hostile for plant and animal life.  A place that receives less than 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain per year is considered a desert. About one third of the land surface of the world is arid or semi-arid. Deserts cover more than one fifth of the Earth’s land, and they are found on every continent. Sahara, Kalahari and Arabian deserts are such examples of Major deserts of World. These areas exist under a moisture deficit, which means they can frequently lose more moisture through evaporation than they receive from annual precipitation.

And despite the misconceptions about major deserts of world that they are dry and hot, there are cold deserts as well. The largest hot desert in the world, northern Africa’s Sahara, reaches temperatures of up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius) during the day. But some of major deserts of world are always cold, like the Gobi desert in Asia and the desert of Antarctica. This includes much of the polar regions which are sometimes called “cold deserts”.

Deserts are classified in a number of ways, generally by total precipitation, number of days on which this falls, temperature and humidity. Deserts are sometimes also classified as hot or cold, semiarid or coastal.


List of Major Deserts of World (in Descending order of Area)


Name Type Area Location
Antarctic Cold Winter 5,500,00 Sq Mi Antarctica
Sahara Subtropical 3,500,000 Sq Mi North Africa
Arabian Subtropical 900,000 Sq Mi Western Asia
Gobi Cold Winter 500,000 Sq Mi China & Mongolia
Patagonia Cold Winter 260,000 Sq Mi Argentina & Chile
Great Victoria Subtropical 220,000 Sq Mi Australia
Kalahari Subtropical 200,000 Sq Mi South Africa
Great Basin Cold Winter 190,000 Sq Mi United States
Syrian  Subtropical 190,000 Sq Mi West Asia
Chihuahuan Subtropical 175,000 Sq Mi Mexico & US
Great Sandy Subtropical 150,000 Sq Mi Australia
Karakum  Cold Winter 135,000 Sq Mi Turkmenistan

Other small deserts are – Sonoram Desert (Mexico, US), Kyzyl Kum (central asia – Kazakhastan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan), Thar Desert (India, Pakistan), Taklamakan Desert (China), Atacama Desert (Chile & Peru), Mojave Desert (US), Namib Desert (Angola,Namibia), Gibson Desert (Australia), Simpson Desert (Australia), Dasht e Kavir and Dasht e Lut (Iran).


deserts defenders