Deserts are locations that receive very little rainfall throughout the year. Due to such conditions, animal and plant life is inhibited. About a third of the world’s land surface is either arid or semi-arid. There are different types of deserts and they can be classified in terms of temperature, the amount of rainfall, the amount of humidity and a combination of other additional factors.
The main types of deserts are cold winter, polar deserts, cool coastal deserts and subtropical deserts. The polar deserts are the largest and are found in Antarctica. Hot deserts are the main types and they receive a little amount of rainfall throughout the year. There are also cold deserts that have low moisture in most cases and the majority of those are found in central parts of Asia.
Desert Animals and Plants
The daytime temperatures are very hot while night temperatures are very cold. Due to very hot day temperatures, the majority of the animals living in such areas have developed adaptations to survive in such locations. For example, the majority of the animals hibernate during the day and come out at night. They do this to adverse day conditions. The camel is one of the main desert animals and it stores body fat in its hump and can go for long periods of time without water. On the other hand, the plants that grow in the desert tend to have long roots that search for water while some water is also stored in the stems.
Formation of Deserts
The majority of deserts are formed through hardening of crystalline rocks over a long period of time leading to the formation of sand. Other deserts were formed through tectonic movements that have made them evolve into the Rocky Mountains of crumpled land areas.
Interesting Facts About the Main Types of Deserts
- Antarctica deserts in Antarctica continent is the largest desert occupying an area of 14,200,000 square kilometres.
- Despite the fact that the majority of deserts are associated with hot weather, there are cold deserts with a small amount of plant cover.
- In addition, whereas it is assumed that majority of the deserts are covered with sand, it is not the case because the majority are covered with rocky surfaces.
- The largest desert in Africa is the Sahara desert and the world ‘Sahara’ means desert in Arabic. Sahara is the hottest desert in the world.
- One of the driest deserts is the Atacama Desert in Chile and rain has never been recorded there and is regarded as one of the driest places in the world.
- Due to climate change, a large portion of arable land is turning to desert every year. Due to this, about 1 billion people have threatened livelihood if this trend continues.
- Despite the notion that Sahara desert is covered by sand, only 15% of the whole desert is covered in sand.
- Mars is the only other planet where deserts have been discovered.
- Due to extremely high temperatures during the day, The Sahara desert has the capability to supply solar energy to almost all parts of the globe.