The lifeless, sandy dunes on Earth – deserts cover one-third of the land on the planet. Each desert has its own uniqueness, but their integral factor is that they receive lesser than 10 inches of rainfall annually. Since the deserts are diverse by their nature, they have been classified into numerous categories on the basis of falls, temperature, humidity, and other additional factors.
When significant amount of precipitation is in the form of snow or fog, deserts classify themselves as ‘cold deserts.’ Also known as ‘temperate’ deserts, cold deserts are quite arid due to the presence of dry air. It is the insufficient moisture in the air that leads to precipitation, and because of colder atmosphere the precipitation occurs in the form of snow. The Arctic and Antarctic deserts may have an ice cover, but they are widely referred under the category of ‘polar’ deserts. Apart from those, cold deserts are found in latitudes higher than those of hot deserts. While some of these deserts are far from oceans, some are divided from the sea because of huge mountain ranges. Cold blizzards are persistent in the regions.
Cold deserts experience extremely cold winters with the temperature touching -2 to 4° C on an average. However, the summers observe warmer temperatures, that is between 21-26° C on an average. The mean annual precipitation in the cold deserts ranges is between 15 to 26 cm, and they receive most rainfall in the months of April and May. The heavy, silty and salty soil observes plantation covering 10 percent of the area, with the deciduous plants being the most dominant. The fauna mostly includes burrowing animals, for example jack rabbits, badger, kit fox, coyote etc.
Here is a list of cold deserts of the world:
|DESERT||SIZE (square miles)||LOCATION|
|Takla Makan||600,000||Western China|
|Gobi||450,000||Northern China and Southern Mongolia|
|Turkestan||215,000||Parts of the Middle East and Southwestern Russia|
|Great Basin||158,000||Western United States (Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah)|
|Iranian||150,000||Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan|
|Atacama||54,000||Coasts of Peru and Chile|
|Namib||52,000||Coasts of Southwestern Africa|