Characteristics of the tundra

Characteristics of the tundraTundra is the coldest biome on our planet. It is characterized by an icy subsoil, extremely cold weather, low rainfall and low biodiversity.

In this article, we explain in detail what are the characteristics of the tundra, its climate, the types that exist, its flora and fauna. Keep reading.

Characteristics of the tundra

Tundra is the coldest biome on the planet, which is deduced from the meaning of its name: treeless smear. It is practically a polar desert that is characterized mainly by extremely cold weather, strong winds, low rainfall, nutrient-poor soil, low biodiversity, low vegetation and simple structure and short growing seasons. Undoubtedly, the landscape of the tundra is best known for the snow and ice layer that covers mountains and part of the ground.

Geographical location of the tundra

The tundra is located at high latitudes in the polar regions, mainly in the northern hemisphere of the Earth and covers places such as Siberia, Alaska, Iceland, southern part of Greenland, northern Canada and Europe (including Russia and Scandinavia), northern Antarctica and sub-Anthratic islands and areas between Chile and Argentina.

Due to strong winds, low rainfall and cold weather, mountain peaks also have this biome.

Types of tundra

There are three regions and associated types of tundra: Arctic tundra, alpine tundra, and Antarctic tundra. Arctic is located in the northern hemisphere below the Arctic ice sheets, and extends to the limit of the conifer forests of the taiga. About half of Canada and a good portion of Alaska are dominated by tundra.

Weather of the tundra

Due to its proximity to the poles, the weather of the tundra remains below zero for most of the year, that is, from 6 to 10 months.

In the Arctic tundra the average temperature is -12 to -6oC; in winter the average is -34 oC and in summer reaches up to -3 oC. Alpine temperatures may be slightly warmer, with about 10 degrees Celsius recorded in summer; however, during the nights they drop several degrees below zero.

In general, winters in the tundra are extremely cold, dark, long and dry and can reach -70oC. Although most of the year has snowfall, in the summer there is a less icy climate of -28oC and with some light rains. Precipitation, often in the form of snow, ranges from 150 to 250 millimeters per year, an even smaller amount than that of warm deserts.

Flora of the tundra

In the tundra there are no trees as they would not survive with such temperatures, but they do grow low plants and up to . In addition to the weather conditions and the scarcity of precipitation, the lack of decomposition of organic elements makes the land not nutritious for great vegetation. This grows dispersedly, with some patches more abundant than others as a result of moisture variations and other factors.

It is estimated that in the Arctic and sub-arm tundra there are about 1,700 species of plants that include pastures and livers. The mosses make up the most common vegetation, because because they only measure about 10 centimeters and are close to the ground, they endure the strong winds without being uprooted and in winter they are protected by snow.

In this biome thrive the heats, juncias and some dwarf shrubs, as well as lichens. The cushion plants find their place among the depressions of the rocks, where they are sheltered from the winds and the atmosphere is a little warmer. In the alpine tundra are found yoursok, heathes and even dwarf trees.

Fauna of the tundra

The tundra animals are physically adapted to this type of climate. They wear long coat and are protected by thick layers of fat under your skin. Some of them are white, allowing them to camouflage themselves between the snow and flee their predators. In general, reindeer, carnives, hares, Arctic foxes, wolves, falcons, musk oxen, polar bears and various bird species live in the tundra. Seals and sea lions live on the coasts.

Specifically, the Arctic tundra is home to wolves, Arctic foxes, polar bears, lemmings, squirrels, Arctic hares, caribou, arvicolinos, crows, falcons, colimbos, seagulls, Arctic bugs, moths, black flies and grasshoppers, while the fauna of alpine tundra, which lacks polar bears and other species of Arctic only, includes goatsMountains, pikas, marmots, sheep, butterflies and grasshoppers.

Carbon in the tundra

More than a third of the carbon (C) obtained from the soil is found in taiga and tundra biomes. These regions are currently considered excellent sources of gaseous carbon, but when permafrost melts, the C is released into the air in the form of carbon dioxide and methane. This poses a threat to the environment because these gases contribute to global warming.

Landscape of the tundra

Mountain chains and clear and seemingly deserted areas are visible in the tundra. In summer you can see the colors of vegetation and flowers, but in winter everything is covered with snow. The Arctic tundra is particular on frozen soil for most of the year, which is called permafrost.

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