Desert Facts

A desert is a dry biome. It gets less than 25 cm (about 9.8 inches) of rainfall a year. Deserts areas cover about 33% of the land on Earth and land surfaces include stones, sand dunes or snow. See the fact file below for more information about deserts.
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  • Deserts are the driest biome. They have little vegetation and the least amount of rain.
  • The world’s deserts are generally found in four areas: in the subtropics; in continental interior areas at middle latitudes; on the leeward side of mountain ranges; and along coastal areas. Most of the earth’s greatest deserts are found in the subtropics. The subtropical deserts center on the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Deserts cover about one-fifth of all the land in the world.
  • Deserts are formed when the mountains along the edge of the desert prevent the rain getting there. The rain stays on the other side of the mountain and in many cases creates a rainforest.
  • Deserts have a huge variety of plants and animals. The only biome that has more is the rainforest biome.
  • There are two types of deserts. The Hot Desert is the first. In a Hot Desert there are only ten inches or less of rain each year. The Cold Desert is the other type. In a Cold Desert the main kind of precipitation is fog or snow.
  • Hot Deserts have many extremes. The have extreme heat during the day and extreme dryness. These deserts are also cold at night. When it does rain in this type of desert the ground is so hard it can’t absorb the water. Therefore, these deserts are know for having flash floods where the rainwater rushes through a valley, creek or even across a road.
  • The world’s largest deserts are the Sahara in North Africa, the Gobi in Mongolia and China, the Kalahari in South Africa, the Great Victoria in Australia, and the Great Sandy in Australia.
  • The deserts of North America are: The Chihuahuan, The Great Basin, The Mojave, and the Sonoran.
  • The many different kinds of cacti are the most common desert plants. Desert plants need to be able to collect and store water .
  • There are also many different kinds of animals that live in the desert. Most of these animals are nocturnal, which means they sleep during the day when the temperature is the hottest, and they hunt at night when the desert cools down.