47 Amazing Cold Desert Facts: Know Your Geography Better | Kidadl


47 Amazing Cold Desert Facts: Know Your Geography Better

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Have you heard of cold deserts?

These deserts are found in temperate regions with mountainous areas that have mildly hot summers and long winters with very little precipitation. From central Asia to the Arctic pole, cold deserts are interesting biomes.

Located at higher altitudes, cold deserts, like hot deserts, are arid ecosystems. However, instead of being extremely hot, these deserts are cold. They are covered mostly by sand, gravel, pebbles, and dunes. There is very little but diverse vegetation that can be found in these deserts.

Those that exist in such deserts are herbaceous shrubs and plants adapted to temperate regions. Animals found in these deserts have adapted to the harsh winter and low rainfall conditions. Some iconic fauna found in cold deserts include snow leopards, jerboas, and Bactrian camels. The famous Gobi Desert in China and Mongolia is an example of a cold desert.

Why are cold deserts cold?

Unlike other deserts, cold deserts are, as the name suggests, cold. This is because of their geographical locations.

Cold deserts are found in temperate zones and at higher altitudes. Hence, here you will experience really cold temperatures. These deserts are located far from the coast and, hence, lack moisture and wind, resulting in a dry ecosystem.

Cold Deserts In The World

Cold deserts can be found in different parts of the world. The seven cold deserts are Atacama, Gobi, Great Basin, Iranian, Namib, Takla Makan, and Turkestan.

The Atacama Desert can be found by the coasts of Peru and Chile (South America) and is estimated to cover 54,000 sq mi (139,859.36 sq km). This cold desert is considered the driest desert in the world.

Next, there is the famous Gobi Desert, located in northern China and southern Mongolia. The Gobi Desert is estimated to cover 450,000 sq mi (1,165,494.65 sq km) and is famous for many species of animals like the Bactrian camel, snow leopard, gerbil, and jerboa.

In the Western United States lies the Great Basin, which approximately covers 158,000 sq mi (401298.12 sq km). This cold desert has many mountain ranges and basins. It is home to the Great Salt Lake. Some animals found in this area include bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, and side-blotched lizards.

The Iranian desert extends from Iran to Pakistan, stretching about 150,000 sq mi (388498.22 sq km). The plants of the cold desert are shrubs, grasses, and pistachio trees. The largest salt flat in the world can be found in this location.

Besides the coasts of southwestern Africa lies the Namib Desert, which is almost as big in size as the Atacama. Darkling beetle, golden mole, jackal, viper, and web-footed gecko are some of the fauna found in this desert.

In the western part of China is a cold desert that is 600,000 sq mi (1,553,992.87 sq km) large. It is known as Takla Makan, which translates to 'place of no return'. This vast region is home to a variety of flora and fauna.

Lastly, there is the cold desert of Turkestan, which extends from parts of the Middle East to the southwestern parts of Russia. The area is spread across 215,000 sq mi (556847.44 sq km) and is covered extensively by sand dunes.

Animals And Plants In Cold Desert

The cold desert is an interesting biome where certain plants and animals have adapted to the region. Animals thriving in such environments are varied, starting from big elusive cats like snow leopards to small mammals like the jerboa. Similarly, the plant life of such deserts is also diverse.

The animals of the cold desert have adapted to the extremely cold winters, very little rain, and dry summers. These adaptations include having a thick fur coat to protect against the cold weather. Cold desert animal facts show the presence of fauna like snow leopard, ibex, llama, Bactrian camel, jerboa, Arctic fox, pronghorn antelope, and jackrabbits.

Dominant plant life found in cold deserts includes saxaul trees, acacia erioloba, also known as camel's thorn, rice grasses, saltbush, sagebrush, snakeweed, and prickly pear. These plants have adapted to growing in high mountains with very little rain. The leaves of these plants have a special coating to conserve water.

Know about the species of plants and animals in cold deserts.

Facts About Cold Deserts

Here are some cool, cold desert biome facts.

The Arctic and Antarctic polar deserts are cold deserts.

The rainshadow effect caused by high mountains prevents moisture from reaching cold deserts, resulting in a lack of rain.

Genghis Khan passed through the Gobi Desert in the 13th century.

Global warming has had a negative effect on the cold desert ecosystem. It leads to more droughts and causes blizzards.

Types Of Cold Deserts

Cold deserts are found in temperate regions and can be classified into cold deserts of the northern and southern hemispheres.

For instance, the Atacama and Namib deserts are located in the Southern Hemisphere. On the other hand, Takla Makan, Iran, the Great Basin, and the Gobi desert are all part of the Northern Hemisphere.

Written By
Srija Chanda

<p>An aspiring media professional, Srija is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Mass Communication at St. Xavier's University, Kolkata, after completing her degree in journalism. With experience in PR and social media, she has also honed her leadership skills through her participation in a youth parliament. Srija's interests include devouring books, watching movies, and exploring new places through travel.</p>

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