The largest cold deserts are in Central Asia, usually in high, flat areas. They are very dry, like all deserts, but are also very cold for most of the time. During the long winters, temperatures often drop as low as -40° C (-40° F).

Gobi, also called Gobi Desert, great desert and semidesert region of Central Asia. The Gobi (from Mongolian Gobi, meaning “waterless place”) stretches across huge portions of both Mongolia and China.The Gobi is overall a cold desert, with frost and occasionally snow occurring on its dunes. Besides being quite far north, it is also located on a plateau roughly 910–1,520 metres (2,990–4,990 ft) above sea level, which contributes to its low temperatures. An average of approximately 194 millimetres (7.6 in) of rain falls annually in the Gobi. Additional moisture reaches parts of the Gobi in winter as snow is blown by the wind from the Siberian Steppes. These winds may cause the Gobi to reach ?40° C (?40° F) in winter to 45° C (113° F) in summer.

However, the climate of the Gobi is one of great extremes, combined with rapid changes of temperature of as much as 35° C (63° F). These can occur not only seasonally but within 24 hours.


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