Top 10 Largest Deserts in the World

Top 10 Largest Deserts in the World 2020

Of the many wonders mother nature offers us, deserts are certainly among the most fascinating phenomenons on our planet. Desert landscapes are defined by areas that experience an extremely low amount of precipitation all-year-round. This extreme lack of rain makes life almost impossible, both for animals and plants, but also very hard for humans (albeit modern-day technology helps us somewhat in that regard). There are only a handful of plants and species who are naturally able to survive in these extreme conditions. If you think these extremely arid land surfaces are rare occurrences on our planet, think again. Around 33%, meaning 1/3, of Earth’s landmass, can be classified as desert land. Indeed, every single continent includes a certain amount of desert areas.

When most people think of deserts, they think of hot regions with nothing but sand as far as the eye can see. It is true that most deserts are indeed these hot deserts. However, additionally, there are also cold deserts or “polar deserts” as they are also known. These deserts are located around the two polar circles in the Arctic and Antarctica. Cold deserts are in fact even less life-friendly and more uninhabitable than hot deserts. The entire surface can be covered with nothing but ice and snow (which forms from the rare few times it snows in these areas and then just stays on the ground with a very slow melting process). However, cold deserts (non-Polar ones) can also consist of sand dunes and optically resemble hot deserts.

Whether hot deserts or cold deserts, desert areas can be quite huge as you may imagine by now. The 10 largest deserts in the world are in fact bigger than most countries on this planet. The following ranking presents you the 10 largest deserts in the world and hence, will give you an idea of how powerfully big these extreme areas are. Just a heads-up: The 4 largest deserts in the world are also generally recognized as the most extreme deserts in the world….

top 10 largest deserts in the world

The 10 Largest Deserts in the World

Ranking of the 10 largest deserts on Earth based on the desert sizes by area in square km and miles. Only earthly deserts are counted here, the Martian desert, therefore, does not classify for this ranking.

1. Antarctic Desert

biggest deserts in the world - biggest desert in the world

Area size: ~ 14.2 million square kilometers / ~ 5.5 million square miles

Location: Antarctica
Desert type: Polar cold desert


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2. Arctic Desert

arctic desert - second of the biggest deserts in the world

Area size: ~ 13.9 million square kilometers / ~ 5.4 million square miles

Location: Arctic Circle (part of Greenland/Denmark, Russia, Canada, USA, Finland, Sweden, Norway & Iceland)
Desert type: Polar cold desert


3. Sahara Desert

largest deserts in the world - sahara - largest hot desert in the world

Area size: ~ 9.1 million square kilometers / ~ 3.5 million square miles

Location: Northern Africa (part of Algeria, Libya, Chad, Egypt, Mauritania, Mali, Western Sahara/Morocco, Sudan & Tunisia)
Desert type: Arid hot desert


4. Arabian Desert

arabian desert - deserts in the world

Area size: ~ 2.3 million square kilometers / ~ 890,000 square miles

Location: Middle East / Western Asia (part of Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, Iraq, UAE, Jordan, Bahrain & Qatar)
Desert type: Arid hot desert


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5. Gobi Desert

gobi desert - large deserts

Area size: ~ 1.3 million square kilometers / ~ 500,000 square miles

Location: Eastern Asia (part of China & Mongolia)
Desert type: Cold desert


6. Kalahari Desert

Area size: ~ 930,000 square kilometers / ~ 360,000 square miles

Location: Southern Africa (part of Botswana, Namibia South Africa)
Desert type: Semi-arid hot desert


 

7. Patagonian Desert

Area size: ~ 670,000 square kilometers / ~ 260,000 square miles

Location: South America (part of Argentina & Chile)
Desert type: Cold desert


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8. Syrian Desert

Area size: ~ 520,000 square kilometers / ~ 200,000 square miles

Location: Middle East (part of Syria, Jordan & Iraq)
Desert type: Semi-arid hot desert


9. Great Basin Desert

Area size: ~ 490,000 square kilometers / ~ 190,000 square miles

Location: USA (part of the U.S. states of Nevada & Utah)
Desert type: Cold desert


 

10. Chihuahuan Desert

Area size: ~ 360,000 square kilometers / ~ 140,000 square miles

Location: North America (part of Mexico & USA)
Desert type: Semi-arid hot desert

 

 

Summary:

Here is a Quick Highlights Of The Top 10 Largest Deserts in the World 2020.

1. ANTARCTIC DESERT
Area size: ~ 14.2 million square kilometers / ~ 5.5 million square miles
2. ARCTIC DESERT
Area size: ~ 13.9 million square kilometers / ~ 5.4 million square miles
3. SAHARA DESERT
Area size: ~ 9.2 million square kilometers / ~ 3.6 million square miles
4. ARABIAN DESERT
Area size: ~ 2.3 million square kilometers / ~ 890,000 square miles
5. GOBI DESERT
Area size: ~ 1.3 million square kilometers / ~ 500,000 square miles
6. KALAHARI DESERT
Area size: ~ 900,000 square kilometers / ~ 350,000 square miles
7. PATAGONIAN DESERT
Area size: ~ 670,000 square kilometers / ~ 260,000 square miles
8. SYRIAN DESERT
Area size: ~ 520,000 square kilometers / ~ 200,000 square miles
9. GREAT BASIN DESERT
Area size: ~ 490,000 square kilometers / ~ 190,000 square miles
10. CHIHUAHUAN DESERT
Area size: ~ 360,000 square kilometers / ~ 140,000 square miles

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