The largest non-polar desert, the Sahara spans many different countries in North Africa including Algeria, Chad, Eritrea, Mali and Libya just to name a few. The Arabian Desert, located on the Arabian Peninsula, covers parts of Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. The Kalahari Desert is located in Botswana, South Africa and Namibia. Other deserts include the Gobi in Asia.
Deserts cover one-third of the earth's land surface area. The word desert refers to an area that experiences little precipitation (an annual average of less than 250 millimeters or 10 inches). The categorization of deserts also takes into consideration the potential evapotranspiration (the amount of water that could be evaporated in the area). The various types of deserts on Earth are defined based on the temperature of the region. Deserts are generally dry and hot with barren landscapes; however, there are both hot and cold deserts, categorized as semi-arid, arid and extremely arid or rainless deserts based on the annual precipitation.
The world's two largest deserts are both cold deserts covered in ice and snow. The Antarctic and Arctic deserts are polar deserts. The Arctic deserts are partially located in the United States, Canada, Finland, Iceland, Greenland, Norway, Sweden and Russia.
The Sahara, the third largest desert in the world, covers 3.5 million square miles. Other countries in which the Sahara desert is located include Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Sudan, Tunisia and Western Sahara. Some of the largest deserts in the world are the Arabian Desert, Asia’s Gobi desert, the south African Kalahari Desert, South America’s Patagonian desert, the Great Victoria Desert in Australia, the Syrian Desert and the Great Basin Desert located in the United States.