Desert and Steppe Lands Percentage

What is a Steppe, and What are its Types? What are Deserts and their Types? How much Area on Earth is Desert and Steppe? How are Deserts and Steppes different from each other?
desert and steppe lands percentage
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Our earth is a big ecosystem where lots of different living organisms thrive. The largest ecosystem on Earth is the World Ocean. There are still many more undiscovered secrets in the depths of oceans. Talking about the ecosystem reminds me of the desert and steppe and how much of earth is desert and steppe. In this article, you will learn this topic along with the desert and steppe lands percentage and the difference between desert and steppe.

1. What is Steppe?

Desert and Steppe Lands Percentage-3
Photo by Konstantin Dyadyun on Unsplash

An ecoregion that is characterized by grasslands without any trees is known as a steppe. There are trees but only near lakes and rivers in these grasslands. This area can be semi-arid or covered with grass, sometimes covered with shrubs only, and the other places include both. These regions are also known as savanna. (See Which Factors Exert the Greatest Influence over Terrestrial Biome?)

2. What are Different Types of Steppe?

Depending upon the temperature and region, there are mainly two types of steppes in the world. They are Temperate Steppes and Subtropical Steppe. The others are also listed below:

  • Temperate steppes: These savannas are found mainly in continental areas.
  • Subtropical steppes: These savannas are in places with dry climates, mostly Mediterranean climates.
  • Shrub steppe: They are found in arid regions but sustain moisture enough for supporting the growth of grasses and perennial shrubs
  • Alpine steppe: They are at higher altitudes and are considered a part of the Montane grasslands and shrublands.

3. What is a Desert?

Desert and Steppe Lands Percentage-2
Photo by John Fowler on Unsplash

Before we learn about the difference between desert and steppe, let us first understand the meaning of a desert. A barren area of land where it is very little to no rainfall and the living conditions are harsh is known as a desert. There is no vegetation which makes the surface prone to denudation, which is the removal of the surface of the Earth by wind, water, soil, etc. This region is too dry and hardly any flora or fauna flourish here. Looking for desert and steppe lands percentage? Read on. (See What are the Desert Cactus Types?)

4. How many Types of Deserts are there?

The word desert reminds me of the sand dunes and cactus burning in the scorching sun. There are other types of deserts too which are classified by the amount of precipitation received by them.

  • Hot and dry desert – Sahara Desert, Mojave Desert, etc
  • Semi-arid desert – Sage brush of Montana, Utah, and Great Basin
  • Coastal desert – Namib Desert and Atacama Desert
  • Cold desert – Antarctic and Arctic

5. How much of Earth is Desert and Steppe?

These dry areas are spread in different regions of the earth and have different types of climates. One thing that is common among them is their dryness. However, more than one-fifth of the land area of Earth is covered with deserts because deserts are found on every continent.

Similarly, steppes are covered with grass and these vast grasslands are about one-third of the total land area of the Earth. Must read How much of the African Continent is Covered with Desert?

6. How much is the Desert and Steppe Lands Percentage?

There are different types of deserts on Earth. Out of the total area on Earth, about 71% is covered by water, those are our oceans. Now, the remaining 29% of the land is composed of continents and other landscapes and geographical features. Out of this, desert and steppe lands percentage cover about 30% to 33% of the total landmass of the Earth. Noe that we learned about this, let us understand the difference between desert and steppe. (See How would You describe a Grass?)

7. What is the Difference between Desert and Steppe?

Desert and Steppe Lands Percentage-5
Photo by Ganapathy Kumar on Unsplash

The main difference between the two is that deserts are dry while steppes are wet. But there is much more to it. So, let me explain each difference briefly.

  • Rainfall: All deserts are not the same, therefore, the amount of rainfall received by them is also different. The average annual rainfall can range from 0.1 centimeters to 25 centimeters and sometimes even less. Steppe remains moist for a major part of the year and the average annual rainfall can range between 25 centimeters to 75 centimeters.
  • Location: Deserts are found on every continent of the Earth. Therefore, there are cold and hot deserts. Africa, Australia, Saudi Arabia, China, Magnolia, Argentina, etc. have desert areas. Steppes are only found in continental regions where the temperatures are ideal for supporting their vegetation. The largest steppe in the world, The Great Steppe, is in Central Asia and Eastern Europe and stretches from Ukraine in the west to the Tian Shan ranges in China. 
  • Weather: Getting to know the differences between deserts and steppe is interesting after knowing about desert and steppe lands percentage. In deserts, the weather is extremely dry due to excess evaporation and low precipitation. They are rocky and bald. Steppes experience semi-arid and semi-humid types of continental climate.
  • Temperatures: In a hot desert the temperature during days is between 30° Celsius and 50° Celsius (86° to 122° Fahrenheit) and sometimes even more, but at night the temperature can drop to as low as 4° Celsius (39.2° Fahrenheit) or lower. Summers last for 4 to 6 months with temperatures ranging between 21° to 23° Celsius (70° to 73.5° Fahrenheit). Winters are mild with average temperatures of -13° to 0° Celsius (-4° to 32° Fahrenheit). In steppes, the summer goes up to 45 °C and in winter, you can see a minimum temperature of−55 °C.
  • Fauna: In hot and dry deserts, there are different types of animals like fennec foxes, thorny devil lizards, dung beetles, Bactrian camels, sidewinder snakes, and Mexican coyotes. In cold deserts, despite harsh and dry climates, animals have evolved to survive. Weasels, gerbils, jerboa, moles, hedgehogs, arctic foxes, and penguins are found. In steppes, mostly grazing animals like cattle, sheep, bison, antelope, deer, and goats are found. Other animals like foxes, falcons, eagles, and wolves are also found there.

So, these were the difference between desert and steppe. Also, the desert and steppe lands percentage are between 30% and 33%. The answer to how much of the earth is desert and steppe is one-third and one-fifth of the total landmass of the Earth. (See How Snakes survive in Hot Desert Conditions?)

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