You might find yourself grumbling about English rain, but there are parts of the world where even a few drops falling is an event of miraculous proportions. Whet your appetite with our list of five of the driest places on this Earth.
1. Atacama Desert, South America
The Atacama Desert, situated in northeast Chile, receives top position. You won’t find a single living thing in this place – no animals and not a single cactus, tumbleweed or even a blade of grass. Scientists reckon it receives just four inches of rain every millennium. Now that’s a long wait for a drink …
2. Death Valley, California/Nevada
At 85.5m below sea level, Death Valley in the Mojave Desert is the lowest point in the USA. Temperatures of up to 56°C have been recorded, and average rainfall is less than 5cm (2 in).
3. Sahara Desert, northern Africa
Probably the most well-known desert on Earth, the vast Sahara is one of the driest deserts and receives a very low annual average precipitation – although it can be extremely irregular. The major part of the Sahara desert receives less than 10 cm (4 in) of rain annually.
4. Luxor, Egypt
This desert city is one of the driest in the world – some years it doesn’t rain at all. Its annual precipitation hovers at a pitiful 1 mm (0.04 in) and the temperature rarely drops below 22°C.
It may come as a surprise, but Antarctica is actually considered a desert, with the qualifying amount being anywhere that receives less than 25 cm (10 in) of precipitation per year. Averaged over the entire continent, Antarctica’s annual precipitation is about 16.6 cm (6.5 in) per year, and it’s incredibly cold and windy. Vostok station in Central Antarctica holds the record for the lowest ever temperature recorded on the surface of the Earth (-89.2°C).
Main image: Peretz Partensky at Flickr Creative Commons