18+ Best Cold Desert Facts that Will Leave You Amaze

Cold deserts are specific deserts that are seen in temperate regions. Those regions need to have mountainous areas that have long winters and mildly hot summers. The people precipitate very little. Cold deserts are very interesting parts of nature, from the Arctic Pole to central Asia.

As situated at higher altitudes, these cold deserts are arid ecosystems. However, these deserts are cold instead of extremely hot. So, in this article, we will explore some really amazing facts about cold deserts.

Facts About Cold Desert

These are found in flat and high areas:

These cold deserts are found in flat and high areas, known as plateaus, or mountainous areas, located in the world’s temperate regions.

Usually, these deserts are characterized by low precipitation and cold temperatures. These are found at high altitudes, in polar regions, and in mountain ranges’ rain shadows. 

Location and geography of the cold deserts:

Location And Geography Of The Cold Deserts

Cold deserts, including high-altitude areas in the Himalayas, Andes, and the Rocky Mountains, can be seen worldwide. These deserts are present even in polar regions like the Antarctic and Arctic. 

Other cold desert regions include the famous Gobi Desert in Mongolia and China, the Great Basin Desert in the United States, and the Patagonian Desert in Argentina and Chile.

Cold deserts usually cover a vast land area, with the Gobi Desert alone spanning more than 500,000 square miles.

Cold deserts are places for diverse animals:

Cold Deserts Are Places For Diverse Animals

Animal life in cold deserts is diverse, with various types of species adapted to extreme conditions. Some of the most common animals in these cold deserts include voles, mice, ground squirrels, and larger mammals like bighorn sheep and antelopes. 

In these cold deserts, different types of birds can be seen as well. Some are raptors like hawks and eagles and smaller species like sparrows and larks. Various reptile types, such as lizards and snakes, can also be seen here.

The animals of cold deserts have some unique features:

The animals of these cold deserts have developed special adaptations or physical characteristics to withstand the extreme cold of those regions. Thus, they have developed some special adaptations, like the inability to sweat and thick fur.

However, there can be more mammals than reptiles. With warm blood and thick fur coat, mammals are properly adapted to deal with the freezing winters of these regions. Other than this, some reptiles can be found as well.

Animals of the Gobi Desert:

Animals Of The Gobi Desert

In the vast Gobi Desert, various types of animals can be seen, such as golden eagles, Bactrian camels, gazelles, jerboas, gerbils, wolves, lizards, and the elusive snow leopard. The smallest species of animal living in the region is known as the jerboa.

Jerboas are small rodents built almost like kangaroos, with strong hind legs. These legs allow them to leap as much as they need, like 10 feet at a time.

You can find snow leopards in the Gobi Desert:

A famous species of animal that can be seen in the cold Gobi Desert is the snow leopard. These animals used to roam across the cold desert in great numbers, but with the increase in human population, their numbers have dwindled.

These animals are now on the list of endangered species, with only 1700 leopards living in the wild.

You Can Find Snow Leopards In The Gobi Desert

Some rare animals can be seen in the Gobi Desert:

Other animals, such as wolves, camels, ibex, and musk ox, can be seen in the cold Gobi Desert. Though this region’s climate and terrain are extreme, those animals still have found a way to survive there.

In the distant past, when the Gobi Desert had a different climate, this area was home to vast numbers of big animals; however, today, it is just a diverse and rich source of fossils for paleontologists.

The temperature and climate of cold deserts:

The climate of cold deserts is characterized by extreme temperature fluctuations and very low precipitation. Temperatures can range from below-freezing point at night to more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.

The lack of moisture in the air makes the air temperature more extreme, resulting in dry and hot days and cold and freezing nights. 

The animals in the Great Basin Desert:

The Great Basin Desert is the home of various types of animals, like jackrabbits, bighorn sheep, poorwills, pocket mice, sage thrashers, pronghorn antelope, and side-blotched lizards. Also, you can find several animals in the driest desert in the world, known as the Atacama.

This harsh desert is home to animals like Llamas, lizards, Peruvian foxes, and some seabirds.

The cold deserts in the polar regions:

There are two vital cold deserts in the two polar regions of the world: the Antarctic and the Arctic deserts. The Antarctic desert is found at the South Pole, in our world’s Southern hemisphere, while the Arctic desert is seen at the North Pole, located in the Northern hemisphere.

Antarctica is regarded as a cold desert with just 200 mm or 8 inches of precipitation along the coast and far less inland. Thus, only the cold-adapted lives can be seen, such as mites, penguins, nematodes, seals, etc.

The cold desert in Antarctica is full of seals and penguins:

The Cold Desert In Antarctica Is Full Of Seals And Penguins

Four types of penguins can be seen in the cold desert of Antarctica, such as Chinstrap Penguins, Adelie Penguins, Gentoo Penguins, and Emperor Penguins.

They have unwettable and oily feathers, which usually cover the outer layers of their bodies. Underneath this layer, penguins have a thick layer of fat that protects them in this icy atmosphere.

Also, six types of seals can be seen in the deserts of Antarctica, such as Crabeater Seals, Antarctic Fur Seals, Southern Elephant Seals, Ross Seals, and Weddell Seals. They can survive in this area because of their thick fur coats.

The vegetation in cold deserts:

The vegetation in cold deserts is sparse, with plants adapted to the dry and cold conditions. Some of the most species of plants can be seen in the cold deserts, such as yuccas, cacti, sagebrush, and several other succulent plants. 

The plants have developed unique adaptations to cope with harsh environmental conditions, like long roots to access deep water underground. Also, they have thick leaves to prevent moisture loss and waxy surfaces to retain water.

Some important plants in cold deserts:

Some Important Plants In Cold Deserts

Grasses are common in cold deserts, and they usually grow in clumps and are called bunchgrass. Brush plants and shrubs like sagebrush cover the terrain of the Great Basin. Here you can even see the famous two-leaved shrub known as welwitschia. This shrub is very common in the Namib Desert in Southeastern Africa.

This interesting shrub can create colorful clones and grow to heights between ½ to 2 meters. Also, a specific kind of acacia called the camel thorn can be seen in the Gobi Desert. Moreover, in the Iranian desert, Pistachio trees can be seen.

The cold Arctic Desert is made up of winter sea ice:

The Cold Arctic Desert Is Made Up Of Winter Sea Ice

The vast area of the cold Arctic Desert comprises winter sea ice that stretches as far as the tip of Greenland in the south. This ice seals the desert like a crystalline lid. In that winter ice, icebergs become trapped in this winter ice. However, when this ice melts, it can drift for thousands of miles.

Polar bears can be seen here, as these animals have thick coats of insulating blubber and fur to survive in this extreme cold.

Human Impact in the cold deserts:

Humans have inhabited cold deserts for centuries despite their harsh environmental conditions. For example, the indigenous people of the Andeshave lived in high-altitude regions for more than 10,000 years.

Humans have recently established settlements in these cold desert regions for mining and other resource extraction activities. This has led to vital environmental impacts, including habitat destruction, soil erosion, and even contamination of water sources.

Cold deserts are popular tourist destinations:

Cold Deserts Are Popular Tourist Destinations

Cold deserts are increasingly popular tourist destinations, with visitors drawn to these regions’ unique wildlife and stark beauty. Activities like camping, hiking, and wildlife viewing are common in these deserts, with some areas even offering cultural experiences with indigenous communities. 

However, tourism can also negatively impact the ecosystems of these cold deserts through habitat disturbance, compaction, and pollution.

The climate changes in the cold deserts:

Climate change also significantly impacts these cold deserts, with increasing temperatures and changing precipitation patterns affecting the balance of these ecosystems. Increased temperature results in the melting of permafrost in polar areas, which may destabilize soil and cause erosion. 

Changes in precipitation patterns can also affect the distribution of animal and plant species, with some migrating to more suitable habitats and others becoming extinct.

Conservation in the cold desert:

Efforts are underway to conserve these cold deserts’ unique fauna and flora. Many governments have designated protected areas, like wildlife reserves and national parks, to preserve these regions’ biodiversity and natural beauty. 

In addition, conservation organizations are working to promote sustainable land use practices and reduce human activities’ impact on the ecosystems of these cold deserts.

Hence, cold deserts are unique ecosystems adapted to extreme environmental conditions characterized by temperature fluctuations, high winds, and low precipitation. However, these regions are home to diverse flora and fauna.

At the end of this article, we learned about 18 really amazing facts about these remarkable regions of the world. These facts offer us a clear picture of these places with extreme and harsh weather conditions. To know more, you may visit our website.

Cold Desert Facts
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