This article takes a look at the problems of the ever increasing size of the world's dessert regions and the impact this is having on a global scale.
We will take a look at some of the interesting statistics of several of the world's desert regions. We will also then factor these into how they are affecting the global climate and put forward some possible, albeit theoretical solutions.
The first thing to understand is that vast areas of the land masses on this planet are made up of desert regions. Every continent has desert regions of varying size, including Antarctica, which is actually almost all frozen desert.
Let's take a look at the largest and hottest desert you'll find anywhere in the world -- The Sahara Desert. It is spread over in excess of 3,630,000 sq miles (9,000,000 km2) and covers most of North Africa. An area of land the size of the United States can easily be swallowed up inside its area. The desert itself starts at the Red Sea in the east, follows the length of the Mediterranean Sea to the north and continues right over to the Atlantic Ocean in the west.
The Sahara Desert spreads right across no less than 12 African nations:
- Western Sahara
Life in this inhospitable desert is very difficult due to its extremely hot and cold climate. It receives less than 3 inches of rain each year, although it may rain as often as twice in one week and then swing to the other extreme of having no rainfall for the next three years. There are many oases scattered throughout this desert, however because of its vast size and sandy terrain, they are not easy to find. The shifting sand dunes in many parts of the desert also account for the difficulty in anchoring any landmarks cross vast swathes of the area.
To add to its impressive list of extreme statistics, the Sahara Desert is one of the hottest places in the world. It often endures temperatures reaching up to 135.8 degree Fahrenheit (57.7 degree Celsius). Scientists know that the desert expands and shrinks over the years. In recent times, the Sahara has been recorded as growing southward by 30 miles (48 km) every year.
Its dunes can rise as high as 600 feet and are constantly on the move as the shifting sands roll across the land blown by winds that can reach speeds above 100 knots. In high winds, sandstorms are frequently seen where sand is literally blown high into the air and buffeted around by the wind to form an almost complete blanket of airborne sand that is both choking and impossible to see through for anyone caught out in one.