I have asked previously how I could create an earth-like world with as many deserts as possible in it. Based on the answers I got, I designed this continent, and asked for a reality-check, but the answers I got were somehow mixed,

So I took those answers into consideration and redrew my map. Namely, I moved my continent southward and repositioned some parts of it. I would like to ask if this updated version of my continent is plausible.

enter image description here

  1. Blue lines: Latitude and longitude (check right and bottom of the screen)
  2. Reddish thick lines: Mountain ranges
  3. Blue area: Ocean
  4. Green area: Fertile regions, with relatively high precipitation (irrespective of being tropical or temperate)
  5. Yellow area: Hot desert
  6. Grey area: Cold desert

Also, to clarify, this an earth-like planet, with the same size as earth, the same duration of days and years, and similar axial tilt. Also, I higlight that this continent is located in the southern hemisphere.

I have named my deserts as "A", "B", "C", and "D". I would like to know if they are realistically placed.

(I also named my mountain ranges "i", "ii", and "iii", and my fertile regions as "1", "2", and "3"; However, the mountain ranges and fertile areas are numbered only to help guide people in their replies; I am only interested in the plausibility of the deserts)

  • Area "A": Extending throughout all the extension of the continent in the 30º latitude, so as to be dried up by the Hadley cells
  • Area "B": Hot desert created by the rainshadow of the mountain ranges i, ii, and iii
  • Area "C": Hot desert created by the ocean currents in the west and the mountain range iii (analogous to the Atacama desert)
  • Area "D": Cold desert (it's okay if there is some precipitation on it, in the form of snow; it is more important to me that it be inhospitable than a true desert, but if it is a desert, so much the better)
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ desert B would be a temperate deserts not a hot one. And mountains ii will have to be absurdly large to achieve it. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Dec 12, 2020 at 2:09

2 Answers 2


I think your deserts will actually be more extensive than you think:

Wind and ocean currents applied

I've added ocean currents (blue) and prevailing winds (orange) to your diagram, and outlined where I think your deserts would extend in a dotted line.

  1. With the exception of the NE, this peninsula isn't getting any onshore winds, and what wind it is getting is from the Desert marked A. Compare to southern Somalia, Kenya.

  2. With the exception of the SE, which would likely be grassland, this area is entirely in the rainshadows of your i and ii mountain ranges and so would be dry. The coast has offshore winds too. There isn't a real world analogue to this in the southern hemisphere, but these regions tend to be savannah – now add the rainshadow effect and you'll get arid terrain.

  3. With the exception of the SW, this region gets no onshore winds to carry moisture. Compare to Peru and northern Chile, as shown in Ash's answer, but SW Australia is a closer match.

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting... one of the reasons why I changed my previous world design (see link in the OP) was because people were telling me it would be impossible to have a desert near the equator, even with rainshadow effect. So I'm surprised of how "1" turned out $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 12, 2020 at 22:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It's true equatorial regions aren't known for dry land, but some do exist: the very northern coast of Peru (~3–7°S) is warm desert (BWh), as is eastern interior Kenya straddling 0°. Your A combines the features of both. $\endgroup$
    – rek
    Commented Dec 13, 2020 at 16:31
  • A. About right. This corresponds with approximately the interior of Australia. The deserts on the north west go all the way to the coast, on the south and east there is a fertile strip. I'd suggest the fetile strip wraps around the top to, but otherwise looks good.
  • B. Assuming no river or glacier melt run through here then yes.
  • C. Maybe, look at this section of south America - where there's similar topography and positioning:

enter image description here

There definitely is a desert for the top part of C, but in southern Chile the desert seems to end and it becomes fertile on the west of the mountains. Many of these mountains are snow capped so it may be snow melt, and the land at the bottom is split into thousands of islands, all look green and fertile.

-D. Basically Antarctica comes up to about 60 degrees south, so this is basically very very cold matching your D section. There is a fair bit of precipitation at the north. The northern bits (eg Alexander Island ) gets 684mm of precipitation per year - not a desert, that's more than my hometown. So I'd expect a lot of snowfall south of C for a few degrees. But otherwise D is mostly cold dry wasteland yes.


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