Driest Places on Earth

Source: sandsun / Getty Images

From the frozen landscapes of Antarctica to the scorching deserts of Africa to the often drought-stricken regions of North America, areas that get little to no rainfall tend to have harsh environments.

To identify the driest places on Earth, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed average annual rainfall recorded by weather stations around the world and compiled by the Global Historical Climatology Network, a program of the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).

We calculated the average annual rainfall from precipitation in the years 1997 through 2018. Weather stations that did not have at least five years of data available between 1997 and 2018 were not considered.

While many such hostile regions of the planet are barren of all life, many have been inhabited for millennia.

Most of these places are in Algeria, Egypt, and other countries along the southern coast of the Mediterranean. Six of the 50 driest places on Earth receive an average of less than 1 inch of rain each year.

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