A desert is a region that receives very little precipitation (rain, snow, sleet etc.). An area is classified as a desert if it receives less than 250 mm (10 inches) of precipitation per year or if it loses more water to evaporation than falls on the area each year. Due to the lack of precipitation most deserts are unable to sustain strong populations of plant or animal life. Although many humans live in deserts across the world, it is a very harsh climate. If you have ever wondered which desert is the largest on earth, the answer might surprise you.
What is the largest desert on Earth?
The largest desert on in the world is actually located on the continent with the most freshwater. Even though this continent contains up to 70% of the fresh water on earth, most of the water on this continent is ice. If you haven’t guessed the answer yet, the largest desert on Earth is actually Antarctica.
Antarctica is considered to be a desert because the coastal areas only receive about 200 mm (8 inches) of precipitation each year. The inland areas of Antarctica receive even less than this. The total area of the Antarctic Desert is 13,829,430 km² (5,339,573 mi²). The second largest desert on Earth is the Sahara Desert with a total area of about 9,100,000 km² (3,320,000 mi.²). The Sahara Desert covers a part of northern Africa and some countries in this region are entirely deserts.
The top five largest deserts on Earth
1. Antarctic Desert
2. Sahara Desert
3. Arctic Desert
4. Arabian Desert
5. Gobi Desert