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Largest Countries without Deserts

Can you name the largest countries by area that don't have regions with a desert climate?
Source: Wikipedia
Quiz by georgekotz
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Last updated: February 16, 2018
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First submittedFebruary 16, 2018
Times taken27,806
Average score62.5%
Rating4.44
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Area (sq km)
Country
2,344,858
D.R. Congo
1,910,931
Indonesia
752,612
Zambia
676,578
Myanmar
640,679
France
622,984
Central African Republic
603,500
Ukraine
513,120
Thailand
Area (sq km)
Country
462,840
Papua New Guinea
450,295
Sweden
406,752
Paraguay
377,930
Japan
357,114
Germany
343,448
Philippines
342,000
Republic of the Congo
338,424
Finland
+8
Level 67
Feb 23, 2018
interesting!
+9
Level 73
Feb 23, 2018
Agreed, I didn't get Paraguay until the last minute.

There were some real surprises to me as far as larger countries that did NOT make this list.

+2
Level 74
Jun 25, 2018
I can't believe that no part of the Paraguayan Chaco qualifies! I thought of it, but it's so dry that I thought there was no way it was worth putting in.
+2
Level 46
Feb 8, 2021
its because the technical definiton of a desert is not warm, it is based on wether a place gets less than a specific amount of rain. Canada, russia having such cold areas rain wouldn't be in the form of rain just snow and ice. Antartica is actually the worlds largest desert
+1
Level 34
Jun 26, 2018
your telling me Canada has desert?
+10
Level 69
Jun 27, 2018
Okanagan Desert in BC.
+14
Level 44
Aug 4, 2018
The arctic tundra is also classed as a cold desert.
+1
Level 45
Jun 28, 2022
Desert in The Badlands around Drumheller, AB as well.
+1
Level 68
Feb 24, 2018
Actually, Japan has a very tiny desert: Tottori sand dunes.
+17
Level 83
Feb 24, 2018
"Technically, it's not a desert (far too much rain)" http://japan.apike.ca/japan_tottori_sand_dunes.html
+4
Level 65
Feb 26, 2018
where is it the brazilian desert?
+14
Level 73
Feb 26, 2018
There are some very dry areas in northeastern Brazil, and apparently some areas are dry enough to have a desert climate!
+2
Level 84
Jun 25, 2018
Brigadeiros?
+1
Level 74
Jun 25, 2018
Definitely there are no deserts in Brazil, therefore the country should be on the list.

The Brazilian northeast is semi-arid but not desert. Here is Wikipedia's definition of such climate: "A semi-arid climate or steppe climate is the climate of a region that receives precipitation below potential evapotranspiration, but not as low as a desert climate." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semi-arid_climate)

+5
Level 73
Jun 25, 2018
I used this Wikipedia map as a source, and it shows small areas with a desert climate near the Sao Francisco river. I was surprised myself but, if you look at Google Maps, you can see it's really arid there indeed!
+2
Level 66
Feb 27, 2018
Apparently there is such a thing as a semi-desert, which allows some surprises to make the list.
+4
Level 73
Feb 28, 2018
It's true that not all of the countries missing have areas with the typical appearance of, let's say, the Sahara desert (huge sand dunes, no vegetation at all etc.). However, according to the most widely used climate classification system, they do have areas with a desert climate, essentially proper deserts. Indeed, you can see that this place in Canada, for example, is pretty much a desert, in spite of the scanty shrubs!
+4
Level 84
Jun 25, 2018
Guhhhh. I guessed just about every South American country except the right one.
+1
Level 67
Jun 25, 2018
Same here!
+1
Level 70
Jun 25, 2018
and me!
+1
Level 71
Jun 25, 2018
Never would have gotten Paraguay if I hadn't recently been there.

Everything I saw was flat and grassy.

+1
Level 60
Jun 25, 2018
DRC for Democratic Republic of the Congo is accepted, ROC for Republic of the Congo (Congo Brazzaville) isnt. Could ROC be made accepted as well?
+7
Level 66
Jun 25, 2018
You can just enter 'Congo' - then you get 2 for 1!
+2
Level 66
Oct 3, 2020
ROC is already used for Taiwan. "congo" contains less letters than "roc" and "drc" combined already.
+1
Level 55
May 26, 2022
ROC (for Taiwan) is Republic of China, for those wondering.
+1
Level 78
Jun 25, 2018
In Corsica, there a desert of Agriates in the north of the island.
+4
Level 73
Jun 25, 2018
Despite the name, it's not really a desert, just the typical Mediterranean shrubland.
+2
Level 38
Jun 25, 2018
Norway???
+1
Level 73
Jun 25, 2018
The Wikipedia page listing all countries of the world by area gives a figure of 323,802 square km for Norway, but I just noticed they list Svalbard separately for some reason. This figure is used in other featured quizzes too though, so I'll leave it up to the Quizmaster.
+1
Level 50
Jun 25, 2018
Wow. That's a really interesting quiz. Love it.
+1
Level 85
Jun 25, 2018
I am just picturing the camel caravan crossing the sweltering Great Canadian Desert...
+6
Level 67
Jun 25, 2018
Deserts are defined by dryness, not by heat. Antarctica is a desert. I would guess that parts of the far north of Canada qualify as desert as well.
+1
Level 72
Jun 26, 2018
What about Turkey?
+3
Level 73
Jul 2, 2018
There seems to be a desert area at the border with Iran, near Mt. Ararat.
+1
Level 67
Oct 11, 2020
Not on the map you gave as a source, as far as I can see
+2
Level 73
Oct 11, 2020
@Gumbledalf It's there, in the Iran/Turkey border area, close to Armenia. Maybe it's not that easy to tell if it extends into Turkey but Wikipedia's Turkey-specific climate map confirms it.
+4
Level 66
Jun 26, 2018
Philippines is 300000 sq km in area
+1
Level 23
Jul 2, 2018
France is not bigger than Ukraine
+2
Level 73
Jul 2, 2018
Metropolitan France isn't, but, considering all its territories, it is.
+1
Level 59
May 21, 2022
In that case, parts of western Réunion are semi-arid due to rain shadow, such as city of Le Port.
+1
Level 55
Jan 25, 2023
That doesn't make it a desert, though
+1
Level 65
Sep 20, 2019
Specify if you are including territories - the island of Nuku Hiva in French Polynesia is treelessly dry in the north and well below the level you qualify as desert, making it so that France does not count.
+2
Level 73
Sep 21, 2019
It seems that, according to Wikipedia, the "desert" part of Nuku-Hiva gets 510 mm of rain per year. I don't know how the rain is distributed throughout the year, but even in the most "desert-like" scenario the annual rainfall would have to be below 420 mm for it to classify by the criteria used here.
+1
Level 73
Oct 5, 2020
The extreme northern horn of Scandinavia, including part of Sweden and a tiny part of Finland, gets less than 400 mm of rainfall a year, so, I think this logic is then inconsistent to include Finland and Sweden but to omit other northern countries like Russia and Canada. No?
+4
Level 73
Oct 5, 2020
@bostjan: The Koppen classification for a desert climate that is used here depends on three variables: precipitation, its yearly distribution and average annual temperature. Low temperatures in polar regions counteract low rainfall, which is why the bitterly cold arctic Russian town of Verkhoyansk is surrounded by forest in spite of only 180 mm of annual precipitation. Russia and Canada are not excluded because of their polar regions, but because of dry areas near their southern borders.
+1
Level 61
Mar 26, 2020
Ive seen pictures from the CAR and it looked like a desert country.
+1
Level 83
Oct 3, 2020
Yeah, satellite images of the far northeastern part of the CAR sure look like desert.
+1
Level 35
Oct 3, 2020
The only i knew was Paraguay? :)
+1
Level 67
Oct 3, 2020
Very cool quiz, lots of surprises!
+1
Level 66
Oct 3, 2020
Typical for my mind. I know almost all of the top half of the list (list of how often guessed), knew barely half of the 2nd part....but had Paraguay the first try. Sometimes i don't get my own logic. :P
+1
Level 51
Oct 3, 2020
I didnt realise Monaco had a desert... same with nauru and many other countries alike...??
+7
Level 65
Oct 4, 2020
TIl monaco and nauru are bigger than 300k square km
+1
Level 55
May 26, 2022
Someone didn't read the title...
+1
Level 78
Oct 3, 2020
Does this quiz include overseas territories? I don't see the usual caveat
+2
Level 73
Oct 4, 2020
The figure for France includes overseas departments, but dependencies are generally excluded. I think the only difference would be the inclusion of Denmark due to Greenland's size, as polar deserts are not taken into account.
+1
Level 55
May 26, 2022
I don't think Greenland's size should determine if it's included or not, but it wouldn't matter either way I believe.
+1
Level 59
Oct 3, 2020
Madagascar has a desert?
+1
Level 73
Oct 4, 2020
There is a small area with desert conditions on the southwest coast.
+1
Level 79
Oct 5, 2020
I have absolutely no idea what tactics to use for this one...
+1
Level 71
Mar 20, 2021
No Saudi Arabia?

(Haha, I'm just kidding, please don't kill me...)

+1
Level 83
Feb 27, 2022
Please tell me where there is a desert in Vietnam. I feel like the whole country gets a good deal of rain.
+2
Level 73
Feb 27, 2022
That's true, there are no deserts, but Vietnam's area is just below the cutoff.