Last Updated on April 27, 2022
Antarctica is the largest desert in the world. It may sound surprising, for people tend to only consider hot deserts filled with sand dunes and camels, but technically any territory with low precipitation classifies as a desert – including polar and cold deserts. In fact, the Antarctic and Arctic deserts are the two largest deserts on the planet. If we only take hot deserts into consideration, than we can say that the Sahara desert is the world’s largest desert. Below, a list of the largest deserts on Earth by size.
Largest Deserts by Size
1. Antarctic Polar Desert
The Antarctic Polar Desert is the largest desert in the world, which covers the entire continent of Antarctica with an area of 5,405,000 mi² (14,000,000 km²). Antarctica is a desert because it receives sparce precipitation, mostly in the form of snow, which does not melt but rather builds up forming thick layers of ice sheets.
2. Arctic Desert
The Arctic desert is located toward the earth’s north pole and covers a total area of approximately 62,300 square miles, making it the second largest desert in the world. The Arctic region consists of a number of islands, many of which are inhabited by people and animals.
3. Sahara Desert
The largest hot desert on the globe, stretching across the entire African continent from the Atlantic to the Red Sea, barely interrupted by the narrow strip irrigated by the waters of the Nile.
4. Great Victoria Desert
Located in Australia, the Great Victoria Desert is the fourth largest desert in the world with an area of 134,650 sq mi (348,750 km2). It spans over 435 miles (700km) from west to east, with the western part of it belonging to Western Australia, and the eastern part extending into South Australia.
5. Arabian Desert
The Arabian Desert is a large sandy desert that covers most of the Arabian Peninsula, with an area of 2,330,000 square kilometers (900,000 sq mi). It crosses several countries in the Middle East from Yemen to the Persian Gulf and from Oman to Jordan and Iraq.
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