Some abiotic factors in the Sahara Desert include its soil, topographical features and availability of water. Abiotic factors are nonliving factors in an ecosystem or habitat, including meteorological factors like temperature, wind velocity, humidity and precipitation.
The Sahara Desert is widely viewed as one of the world's harshest environments. Winds in the Sahara can reach hurricane velocity and are the driving force behind the region's dust devils and sand storms. About half of the desert receives less than an inch of rain annually, while the other half receives around 4 inches. When it does rain in the Sahara, the rains are generally torrential.
With the distinction of being the world's largest hot desert, the Sahara is the third largest overall desert on the planet and measures a staggering 3.6 million square miles. In Arabic, the name Sahara translates to "The Great Desert." It covers parts of Tunisia, Sudan, Western Sahara, Niger, Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Libya, Egypt, Chad and Algeria.
Although the Sahara has many sand dunes, it is mainly made up of rocky hamada, which are areas of hard rocky plateaus. There are some areas of shifting sand dunes that can reach heights of 590 feet. Water in the Sahara is limited to the Nile River and a few seasonal or irregular streams and rivers.