Land of the Tundra Biome
The tundra is the coldest of all the biomes. It is separated into two types: Arctic Tundra and Alpine Tundra. It is known for its low temperatures, little precipitation, poor nutrients, and short growing season which ranges from 50-60 days long. During the growing season the sun shines for 24 hours.
Climate & Location
Winter temperatures average about -30 degrees Fahrenheit. In the summer temperatures average about 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Rain fall totals about six to ten inches a year. Most of the precipitation occurs in the summer coming from rain and fog. Tundra has a lot of permafrost which is permanently frozen ground and is usually about five feet deep. The tundra is located at the top of the world which is the "North Pole" and covers a fifth of the Earth's surface.
Plants & Adaptations
Plants have adapted by being able to grow under a layer of snow. Some plants who develop flowers have fuzzy coverings on the stem, leaves, and buds to protect it from the wind. Flowering plants use all the sunlight they can to produce flowers in the growing season. Some plants have dark colors to give it the ability to absorb more heat. Small leaves help the plant retain moisture. Most of the plants in the tundra are perennials because perennials do not die in the winter.
Animals & Adaptaions
Arctic tundra animals include 48 mammals and thousands of insects and birds which migrate. Some of the animals that stay year-round include: Musk Ox, Arctic wolf, polar bear, snowy owl, Arctic fox and the Arctic hare. A physical adaptation of the Musk Ox is a short layer of fur and a long layer of fur. Air is trapped by the short layer of fur and is warmed by the ox's body heat. The longer layer protect the animal from the tundra's harsh winds and water. The hooves of the Musk Ox are large and hard so in the winter months the ox can break the ice and drink the water underneath.
Global warming is the most severe threat to the tundra biome. Scientists believe global warming, which is caused by greenhouse gases, could potentially eliminate Arctic regions forever. The melting of the permafrost caused by global warming could drastically change the landscape of the biome. Oil spills can kill wildlife and significantly damage the tundra's ecosystem. Ozone depletion means that stronger ultraviolet rays will harm the North and Sole poles.
Summers in the tundra only last six weeks. It is the most affected by pollution that humans cause. In Finnish tundra means treeless plain. There is a type of tree in the tundra that at most is only four inches tall and is called the Dwarf willow tree. In the winter you experience up to 24 hours of darkness.