Ecosystem

Tundra Region – Climate, Plants, Animals, Facts

Introduction to Tundra Region 

Some places on Earth are so extreme that only a few animals and plants can survive there. This is the tundra region. This topic will explore characteristics such as climate, plant, animals that make this biome unique.

The tundra is the coldest biome on Earth, having average annual temperatures ranging from -40°F in the winter to 65°F in the summer. Since the winter is much longer than the summer in the tundra. So, the temperature is below freezing for most of the year. Its frozen layer of ground is called permafrost.

tundra region

 

What is Tundra Region

Imagine a barren land that is too harsh for most trees, too cold for large animals and too isolated for most humans. This tundra biome is very unique due to its harsh climate and limited vegetation and animal life.

The tundra biome covers a very large area of land in the region, south of the Arctic ice caps. Almost half of Canada and most of the Alaskan coast are in the tundra biome.

Climate of Tundra Region

The tundra climate region geographically located between 60° and 75° of latitude, mostly along the Arctic coast of North America and Eurasia and on the coastal margins of Greenland. In such areas, winters are long and cold especially in the region north of the Arctic Circle.

Winter precipitation generally consists of dry snow. During summer cyclonic storms develop which yields rainfall.

Typical annual totals of rainfall are less than 35 cm, with a possible range of 25 to 100 cm. In contrast, summers are generally mild, with daily temperature maximum from 15 to 18 °C. Days are long but are often cloudy.

Plants of the Tundra Region or Tundra Vegetation

Plants which grow in the tundra include grasses, shrubs, herbs, and lichens. These grow in groups and stay low to the ground for protection from the icy winds. Also, these tend to have shallow roots and flower quickly during the short summer months.

Almost all the tundra vegetation is perennial that come back each year from the same root. This allows them to grow during the summer season and save up nutrients as they lay dormant for the winter. They tend to have hairy stems and dark leaves to absorb energy from the sun.

Animals of the Tundra Region

The tundra has many more animal activity during the summer than the winter. This is due to the fact that most birds migrate south for the summer. Also, insects lay eggs and wait for the summer to hatch, and some mammals hibernate for the winter. Some animals, like the caribou, migrate south for the winter.

There are some animals which have adapted the winter in the tundra. Some animals which are active in the winter include the snowy owl, musk oxen, and ptarmigans.

During the hot season, the tundra will be teeming with insects. Also, wetland areas will be filled with mosquitoes. A lot of bird activities are also visible as they come to eat the insects and fishes. Animals will become more active and so coming out of hibernation or migrating from the south.

Facts about the Tundra Region

  • This word tundra comes from a Finnish word Tunturi, which means treeless plain or barren land.
  • The tundra is a very fragile biome which is shrinking as the permafrost melts.
  • Lemmings refer to mammals who are small in size. They burrow under the snow to eat grasses and moss during the winter.
  • Polar bears come to the tundra for the summer to give birth to their babies.
  • Animals in the tundra have small tails as well as ears.
  • Plants generally grow in tight groups to protect themselves from the cold are sometimes called cushion plants.

Solved question For You

 Q: Where is permafrost in the tundra?

Ans: Permafrost is in places where the annual temperature on the average is below about -5° C, including most of the Arctic and all of Antarctica. Such land with underlying permafrost is called tundra. The arctic tundra is stark and treeless.

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