The largest deserts are covered in ice and you might not think of it as a desert but a desert is an area that does not receive enough water from condensation of atmospheric water vapor – in particular rain – that falls under gravity and therefor not enough to support most forms of life.
In Antarctica and the Arctic there is a lot of ice but very few animals and plants. These polar deserts might shrink because of global warming while the subtropical deserts – those dry, sandy deserts – are expanding because of the same reason and because of desertification.
World’s largest deserts
1. Antarctic Desert: Antarctica – 5,339,573 m2 (13,829,430 ft)
2. Arctic: Arctic – 5,300,000 m2 (13,726,937 ft2)
3. Sahara: North Africa – 3,474,920 m2 (9,000,000 ft2)
4. Arabian: Southwest Asia 900,000 m2 (2,330,000 ft2)
5. Gobi: Mongolia/China – 500,002 m2 (1,295,000 ft2)
6. Kalahari: Southern Africa – 360,000 m2 (900,000 ft2)
7. Patagonian: Argentina/Chile – 260,000 m2 (670,000 ft2)
8. Great Victorian: Australia – 250,000 m2 (647,000 ft2)
9. Syrian: Syria, Jordan, Iraq – 200,000 m2 (520,000 ft2)
10. Great Basin Desert: United States – 190,000 m2 (492,000 ft2)
Polar desert, Antarctica, taken by Stephen Hudson, via Wikipedia. A photograph of the snow surface at Dome C Station, Antarctica, it is representative of the majority of the continent’s surface. The photo was taken from the top of a tower, 32 m above the surface.