The following is an article “World Deserts” by Marc Pulisci.
One-third of the world’s land surface is covered by desert sand. You may think that the world’s deserts are merely barren lands and hot dunes of vast dehydrated space, but many possess their own wonders that make them truly unique.
Songs have been written about the Sahara Desert, many have marveled at the subtropical magnificence of the Kalahari, and more have been baffled by how the continent of Antarctica is classified as a desert.
Here you’ll get to know three of the world’s majestic deserts, and why they deserve attention as much as the next tourist hotspot.
Covering a significant land area of Northeastern Africa, the Sahara desert ranks as one of the largest deserts in the world, almost the size of the whole United States. Its hypnotic land surface is formed by winds and the periodic visitation of rain. The body of land possesses underground aquifers that nurture its oases. Surrounded by the Atlantic to the west, the Mediterranean to the north, and the Red Sea to the east, the Sahara boasts some of the largest sand dunes in the entire planet reaching a peak of 183 meters. If you can hold your own under the sun, then you’ll probably be fine in Sahara’s 86˚F average temperature, though this could rise up to 120˚F during the hottest periods of the year.
Being the only desert that gets the most rainfall among all other deserts, Southern Africa’s Kalahari Desert is mostly covered with vegetation. It has the most continuous stretch of sand in the world with sand dunes extending west to the Namib Desert. Deep into the desert lies the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, which is one of the largest protected wildlife areas on the planet. A variety of species call the Kalahari home including wildebeests, lions, antelope and more, mostly migratory and can only be spotted periodically each year. Temperatures vary in the Kalahari Desert ranging from 59˚F during winter nights and a scorching 113˚F during the summer.
Polar Desert of Antarctica
You may be surprised how the continent of Antarctica is scientifically classified as a desert. It is actually the largest desert in the world at 5,500,000 square miles, lying on the south of the Antarctic Circle and surrounded by the Southern Ocean. It is considered as the driest continent with temperatures that may drop to a freezing -100˚F during the winter season. Ice can form up to four kilometers in thickness, and if the entire ice sheet of the continent melts, the world’s oceans will elevate by up to 65 meters. You may strike Antarctica off your travel itinerary however as only algae, bacteria, penguins, and seals call this icy desert home.
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