5 Desert Types to Clear your Misconceptions about Deserts

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Any ideas of a desert depicted in our minds depend significantly on the deserts we have seen in pictures, films, and documentaries. We are usually taught that a desert is a warm place with sand as far as the eye can see in all directions. It has no flora save for a cactus or two, an abundance of blistering sunlight, and a complete lack of water, which causes a mirage, which is frequently vital for the plot. What is the truth about deserts, regardless of popular belief? To begin, there are various desert types, each with its own set of characteristics that shape the nature of the desert.

Some deserts are warm all day and colder at night, while some are warm throughout. Some deserts experience very little rainfall while some experience it in a decent amount. In this blog, we will clear all your misconceptions about deserts by informing you about different desert types and factors affecting their nature.

Different Desert Types

1. Subtropical Deserts

Most likely, a subtropical desert would come to mind if you were to visualize a desert. The world’s subtropical regions are home to the hottest deserts, which are often referred to as trade wind deserts. Subtropical desert plants and animals can tolerate the high temperatures and scarcity of rainfall.

In the subtropical desert, tiny plants and shrubs typically have leaves that are specialized to hold moisture. Animals are typically active during the colder hours of the night in subtropical deserts. Moreover, the soil is sandy or rough and rocky. One of the best examples of a subtropical desert is the Sahara Desert in Africa. Convection cells, a form of global weather pattern that affects some of the major climatic systems on Earth, cause such desert types.

2. Coastal Deserts

You are most likely to experience mirage in coastal deserts, as there is little sign of the water in the picture. However, quite a few coastal deserts can be found directly along the shorelines of the world’s largest oceans. Deserts along the shore can range in temperature from cool to warm. Such desert types experience chilly winters and pleasant, extended summers. West coasts of continents between 20° and 30° latitude are home to coastal deserts. While we frequently associate coastal areas with humid environments, other sites, such as the Atacama region of Chile, are near strong currents that force cold water to the ocean’s surface.

The Atacama is between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean and is around 600 to 700 miles long. Some weather stations in the area have never recorded a single drop of rain since the climate is so dry. These thermal inversions frequently produce dense cloud cover and fog but little or no rain. The Atacama Desert, which can go over 20 years without receiving a single millimeter of rain is truly the driest desert on Earth. In a coastal environment like the Atacama, a cool ocean current can therefore produce a scorchingly hot and unusually dry desert, as absurd as it may sound.

3. Interior Deserts

Due to the absence of moisture-laden breezes, interior deserts can be found in the center of continents. Inland deserts are another name for interior deserts. There is little to no moisture in the air by the time it reaches these desert regions, since they are so distant from significant sources of water, like the ocean.

Interior deserts can have extremely high sand dunes and can be quite dry. While some of these sand dunes can reach heights of hundreds of feet, they are constantly shifting and changing because of the wind. There are many interior deserts, notably the Taklamakan Desert in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of northwest China. The distance between the desert and the closest significant body of water might be thousands of miles.

4. Semi-Arid Deserts

Semi-arid deserts are another name for cold winter deserts. Long, dry summers and chilly winters with little precipitation or rain are the norms there. The rain-shadow effect is a common reason for the lack of rainfall in cold winter deserts. It occurs when a high mountain range prevents moisture from reaching a location. As the temperature in these deserts is frequently steppe-like, grasses, sagebrush, and other kinds of vegetation can grow there.

Most semi-arid deserts rarely experience daily high temperatures greater than roughly 100°F (38°C) in the summer, depending on where you are in the world. In fact, the winters can get rather chilly, and snowfall is a possibility, especially at higher elevations. The Great Basin, which encompasses much of Nevada, is conceivably the best illustration of a semi-arid desert in North America.

5. Polar Deserts

Polar deserts are found in the polar regions, or between 60 and 90 degrees latitude in the northern and southern hemispheres. These deserts develop because of global air circulation, just as subtropical deserts, and they likewise receive relatively little precipitation. Except for the Antarctic Peninsula, most of the Antarctic continent is deserted.

Even though we frequently hear about the massive blizzards that sweep across the Antarctic ice sheet, it’s crucial to remember that this isn’t snow that has just fallen. These blizzards were created by strong winds that churned up snow on the ice sheet’s surface and pushed it about, reducing visibility and causing some really cold conditions.


Deserts are harsh environments where it is difficult for humans to survive and discoveries are rare. They include some of the most beautiful vistas on earth. Although the dry area is frequently desolate, it is strikingly beautiful. They make up roughly one-third of the Earth’s surface and can be hot or cold. It is significant to note that the aforementioned desert types and habitats of nature may be found in most deserts all over the world. However, there are many deserts‌ that might not fall under this category and differ totally from others. If the chance to explore the vastness of a desert arises, seize it while exercising prudence.

Sarang Mahajan

ALSO READ: Eco-tourism: A Cure to Tourism Pollution?



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