How are cold deserts formed? While giving names of three famous cold deserts in the world, describe their location.

Desert is a region of vast dryland with low precipitation. It is formed due to atmospheric conditions that prevent rain. Cold deserts are formed in temperate regions, at higher altitudes and are located at the centre of the continent. Because of the low temperatures, pressure, moisture, distance from sea, and poor vegetation; precipitation is very low in these regions. Besides, the high P (Precipitation)/E (Evaporation) ratio in temperate regions is responsible for the formation of cold deserts.
Three famous cold deserts and there locations are:
Atacama Desert– It is a cool arid region located in the country of Chile in South America. It covers a 1000-km strip of land on the Pacific coast, west of the Andes Mountains.
Gobi Desert– It is a cold desert with occasional snow. It has subarctic winter temperatures but also hot summers. It is located in a high basin with Altai Mountains and Mongolian steppes to the north and the Tibetan Plateau and North China Plain to the South.
Great Basin Desert- It is located in western United States and is a part of the Great Basin between the Sierra Nevada and the Wasatch Range. It is covered by sand, gravel, and clay. Several mountains ranges, basins, and large expanses of salt flats can be found here.

Question for UPSC Mains:
How are cold deserts formed? While giving names of three famous cold deserts in the world, describe their location. (150 words, 10 Marks)

Published: January 25, 2018 | Modified:October 15, 2020

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