The Arctic Tundra Essay

1330 words - 5 pages

LocationThe Tundra is located in the northern regions of North America, Europe, Asia, as well as a few regions of Antarctica. The Tundra is the second largest vegetation zone in Canada. It can be divided clearly into three different sections: the High Arctic Tundra, the Low Arctic Tundra and the Alpine Tundra. The latter Alpine Tundra occurs in higher altitudes such as mountains whereas the first two are mainly based in plains and lowlands of some kind. The Low Arctic Tundra is the transmission point to the north. It is located above Canada's Boreal forests and is followed by the High Arctic Tundra. The High Arctic Tundra is located farther north and encompasses the Arctic circle as well as most of the western Northwest Territories. Generally though since climate more or less corresponds to vegetation zones, the Tundra is located in Arctic climate areas.TemperatureThe Tundra suffers a very harsh climate. Because of this fact most of the area remains barren save for a few shrubs and lichens. It's winters last from 8-10 months and the summers are cool and short. Also due to the fact that much of it's territory is located within the northern pole a lot of the Tundra receives alternating 6 month periods of light and dark. This is also the reason why the Tundra receives cold weather; at it's degree of latitude the suns rays end up hitting the region obliquely, thus causing less solar heat. Here are the temperatures of the Tundra in general:Average January temperature: -32.1 degrees CelsiusAverage July temperature: +4.1 degrees CelsiusTemperature range: 36.2 degrees CelsiusAverage annual temperature: -17 degrees CelsiusLowest temperature recorded: -52.5 degrees CelsiusHighest temperature recorded: +18.3 degrees CelsiusAfter seeing these temperatures you can see the reason why barely anyone lives up there and why there is rather little natural vegetation.Seasons And Moisture ContentThe main seasons of the Tundra are summer and winter. The winter will last 8 to 10 months followed by the short and much less cold summer. During the summer some lower areas of the Tundra will defrost at which point most of the flora and fauna will start to creep out of hiding. The few summer months are used by many animals such as the polar bear, to mate and to prepare for the once again oncoming winter. During the winter months most everything remains frozen. Many of the animals migrate south for the winter whereas some stay behind or even group together for ritual group suicide (lemmings).There is little precipitation all year long in the Tundra. The average yearly total is 136 mm, out of which 83.3 mm is snow. This low amount is due to the fact that there is very little evaporation. Since the average temperature is below freezing, it give little or no time for any of the snow and/or ice to melt. This is the reason that the Tundra is often referred to as a polar desert.FertilityThe Tundra's fertility is very low. It has An average growing season of about 60 days (1.5 to...

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