Tundra is a biome in which the climate is cold, days are windy, and rainfall is scarce. These treeless regions can be found on many mountain tops and in the Arctic. Throughout most of the year, they are covered with snow, but when summertime comes, snow is replaced by a sea of wildflowers.
The best way to get acquainted with the peculiarities of the tundra is through its top ten characteristics.
Top Ten Characteristic of Tundra
1. Types of Tundra
Tundras are split into three separate categories: Alpine, Antarctic, and Arctic tundra. As the name suggests, Arctic tundra can be found within the Arctic, whereas the Alpine tundra refers to tundra found on mountainsides worldwide.
What’s common for all types of tundra is the lack of trees. Alpine and Arctic tundras lack trees because of the high elevation, while the Arctic tundra is because of the short growing season and permafrost.
2. Tundra Climate
The climate in the tundra resembles the climate in the desert, as in both places, it is very windy and dry. The difference between the two of them is the temperature. For most parts, deserts are very hot, while the tundra is very cold. The average temperatures in the Arctic and the Antarctic tundra range from -25o F to 40o F. The average temperatures in the Alpine tundras tend to range from 0o to 54o F.
3. Animals and Plants in Tundras
Various types of birds, marmots, sheep, mountain goats, are some of the small numbers of animals that live in the alpine tundra. Most of them are fed on insects and low-lying plants.
In terms of flora, cushion plants are quite frequent and have adapted to the harsh conditions of the alpine tundra. They survive by growing in rock depressions where they can be sheltered from the wind and where it is much warmer.
On the other hand, the Arctic tundra, where temperatures float from -30o to -20o F, is the home to wildlife such as gray wolves, snow geese, polar bears, muck oxen, and Arctic foxes.
Almost all of the few plants that can survive the extreme conditions of the Arctic tundra are constantly clinging to life.
The only exception is the summer growing season when the sun can shine throughout the entire day. However, the summer growing season lasts just 50 to 60 days.
Permafrost is one of the biggest reasons why there are so few trees on the Arctic tundra. At the same time, it is the most critical characteristic of the Arctic tundra. The term permafrost describes a permanently frozen layer of soil and frozen fauna that reaches 450 meters (1,476 feet) under the surface.
But at the same time, the permafrost is an essential element of the Arctic tundra ecosystem.
5. Tundras and Midnight Sun
Again, this is reserved only for the Arctic tundra. During summertime, the sun doesn’t disappear completely. When winter comes, it is the opposite; there are long periods when the sun doesn’t come out of the horizon. As a result, there are periods of 24 hours of sunlight non-stop, and in winter, 24 hours of darkness.
6. Precipitation in the Tundra
The dry climate is a big part of the tundra. Each year, there are around 15 inches of precipitation. Around two-thirds of all precipitation falls as rain. For comparison purposes, deserts receive from 6 to 10 inches of precipitation annually.
7. Tundra’s Soil is Rich in Phosphorus and Nitrogen
If it wasn’t for the permafrost and the cold, dry climate, tundra’s soil could be used for agricultural purposes as it is rich in both Nitrogen and Phosphorus.
8. The Tundra is More Diverse Than Ever
Global warming has had a profound impact on the tundra. For example, some animals that were only seen south of the tundra are now moving inside the tundra. The red fox is one of those animals. Now the red fox is a permanent resident of the tundra, same as the Arctic fox, which was there from before. Now they both compete for the same territory and food. As global warming expands, it is expected to bring even more radical changes to the tundra.
9. Tundra Mosses
There are quite a few species of Mosses within the tundra. Some of them appear in the form of a mat, directly on soil or rocks. They have an essential role in the tundra ecosystem as they can insulate the permafrost. Tundra mosses don’t need seeds to reproduce, but it creates spores which rely on water and wind for dispersal.
This is specific for the alpine tundra where animals during winter migrate to the lower elevations. That way, they don’t need to suffer the harsh winter conditions that are typical for the top elevations of the tundra.
Some of the animals that migrate to the lower elevations are mountain goats, grizzly bears, elk, bighorn, sheep, and others.
What are 5 facts about the tundra?
- It’s cold – The tundra is the coldest of the biomes.
- It’s dry – The tundra gets about as much precipitation as the average desert, around 10 inches per year.
- Permafrost – Below the top soil, the ground is permanently frozen year round.
- It’s barren – The tundra has few nutrients to support plant and animal life.
What is the tundra characterized by?
What are the characteristics of the Arctic tundra biome?
What makes the tundra biome unique?
What is another name for tundra?
What are some fun things to do in the tundra?
- The Tundra. North America includes both Arctic and alpine tundra areas.
- Hiking and Backpacking in the Tundra. The expansive Arctic tundra country, with its sweeping river flats, terraced benches and open foothills, demands to be explored on foot.
- Tundra Wildlife Viewing.
- River Floating in the Tundra.
What are some fun facts about the tundra?
What does tundra mean in English?
: a large area of flat land in northern parts of the world where there are no trees and the ground is always frozen.
What animals are found in tundra?
What plants and animals live in tundra?
What is the biggest animal in the tundra?
Where do animals live in the tundra?
What are 5 animals that live in the tundra?
Animals found in the tundra include the musk ox, the Arctic hare, the polar bear, the Arctic fox, the caribou, and the snowy owl.
Do polar bears live in the tundra?
What type of birds live in the tundra?
These include ravens, snow buntings, falcons, terns and several gull species. Others birds, however, such as ptarmigan and the lemming-eating snowy owl, are year-round tundra residents. Ptarmigan are brown in summer, but white in the winter.