satellite image of Sahara desert

Sahara Desert, Largest hot desert of our world.

The Sahara is the largest hot desert in our world while overall it’s the third largest desert after Antarctica and the Arctic. It spans over the area of 3,600,000 sq miles. With that huge area, Sahara is bigger than most of the world countries (Except Russia, Canada, USA, and China Sahara is bigger than every other country).

Sahara Desert’s History

Scientists believe that about 50,000–30,000 years ago Sahara was a much watery and green place. At that time it was all filled with water and marine life. With the fossil discoveries of many marine animals, it is predicted that Sahara was once a vast sea full of life.

Due to climate change modern Sahara, though, is not lush in vegetation, except for few places where the olive and some other trees are found to grow. This harsh and hot conditions of Sahara occur due to Earth’s axis shift towards the sun, resulting in high temperatures and low rains.

Life on Sahara desert

No matter how hard the conditions are, life has somehow found a way to survive in every part of our planet. In Sahara desert, extreme temperatures at day time and lack of water are two main hurdles. Life of Sahara has adaptive itself to these two conditions. Most of the living being remain inactive at daytime, usually in the shade of some plant or underground holes. At night when the temperature starts to get lower life on Sahara start to operate.

From the Dorcas gazelle and Addax of Sahara to the domestic Camels all animals of Sahara are highly adaptive to live without water for longer period of times. After years and years of evolution plants of Sahara desert have developed special survival characteristics. They grow low to avoid water loss by strong winds, they store water in their thick stems to use it in dry periods, they have long roots that travel horizontally to reach the maximum area of water and to find any surface moisture, and have small thick leaves or needles to prevent water loss by evapotranspiration. With such characteristics, plants of Sahara can survive without water for very long periods.

desert plant

Desert plants have needles to prevent water loss by transpiration

Climate of Sahara desert

The Sahara has a very harsh climate. It is located in trade winds belt, winds constantly blow between the subtropical high-pressure cell and an equatorial low-pressure cell. Air when move from high-pressure into the low-pressure cell it becomes warmer and drier. Due to these air cycles, rainfall in Sahara desert is extremely low and living organisms some time have to survive without water for many months and even years.

Due to harsh climate Temperature of Sahara is very high, the average temperature in hottest months can exceed 40 °C. For some days temperature can even go beyond 50 °C.  After so high daytime temperatures, nights of Sahara are cold and in winter night temperature of Sahara can drop to freezing point.

Feature Image of this post- “By NASA Public Domain, Link  ”



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