Australian deserts cover more than 1,371,000 square kilometers of the Australian mainland. The desert type of arid climate is found primarily in the western plateau of the continent and the interior lowlands of the country. Vegetation is very limited in these areas. The population of Australia is mainly concentrated in the coast with only 3 percent of the population living in the desert areas.
The ten main deserts of Australia are as follows:
|Desert Name||Area (square kms)|
|Great Victoria Desert||424,400|
|Great Sandy Desert||284,993|
|Little Sandy Desert||111,500|
|Sturt Stony Desert||29,750|
|Tirari Desert (South Australia)||15,250|
|Pedirka Desert (South Australia)||1,250|
The climate of Australia is mainly determined by hot, sinking air of the sub tropical high pressure belt. The El Nino-Southern Oscillation is mainly responsible for the dry conditions in the area. Around 40 percent of the land area is covered by dunes with central Australia receiving scanty rainfall on an average of 150mm each year.
The main ecological issue of the desert land is the introduction of different foreign species which have affected the flora and fauna of the region. The native vegetation to a large extent has been affected by the Australian Feral Camel which is a herbivore animal. The presence of four wheeled vehicles in the sensitive areas of the desert has also posed a serious threat to the natural ecosystem.
Animals and Plants
Though the Australian deserts are inhospitable yet it is home to large range of flora and fauna. The Acacia trees also known as wattles is a native to the Australian desert which grows up to 16 feet in height. Other commonly found trees are the Eucalyptus trees and the Australian saltbush which grow as shrubs.
Spinifex hopping mouse, the white striped mastiff bat, and the short beaked echidna are some of the main fauna found in the region.
|Desert||State/Territory||Size||Proportion of Australian landmass|
|Great Victoria Desert||Western Australia, South Australia||348,750 km2||134,650 sq mi||4%|
|Great Sandy Desert||Western Australia||284,993 km2||110,036 sq mi||3.5%|
|Tanami Desert||Western Australia, Northern Territory||184,500 km2||71,200 sq mi||2.4%|
|Simpson Desert||Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia||176,500 km2||68,100 sq mi||2.3%|
|Gibson Desert||Western Australia||156,000 km2||60,000 sq mi||2.0%|
|Little Sandy Desert||Western Australia||111,500 km2||43,100 sq mi||1.5%|
|Strzelecki Desert||South Australia, New South Wales||80,250 km2||30,980 sq mi||1.0%|
|Sturt Stony Desert||South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales||29,750 km2||11,490 sq mi||0.3%|
|Tirari Desert||South Australia||15,250 km2||5,890 sq mi||0.2%|
|Pedirka Desert||South Australia||1,250 km2||480 sq mi||0.1%|