The Tundras of our world

Alpine and Arctic tundras: what is the difference?

The tundra covers about 20% of the land surface found on Earth. The Tundras are the coldest and driest of all the biomes, getting about as much rainfall as a desert. (30 cm a year, including melting snow)

The Arctic tundras are mostly located between 60* and 70* latitude. They encircles the north pole and extends to south of the coniferous forests of the taiga. Tundra comes from the Finnish word tunturia, meaning treeless plain, though there are numerous activities that tourist love to partake in that make up for the drab meaning of the areas given name.

The subsoil is subject to permafrost (land that is permanently frozen), but the surface layer melts in the summer. Soil conditions are poor, being marshy and waterlogged with the melted water unable to drain completely away. Though this does allow for rivers, streams, and lakes to form for the publics recreation. Only grasses, mosses, lichens and dwarf shrubs exist in this area of the world causing magnificent views of the landscape.

The other classification of a tundra is the Alpine tundra; as shown below this area is all around the world in high altitudes at the tops of mountains. The average tempeture is between -10 to 20 F and winds can get up to 60 miles an hour (just perfect for kite-flying). More animal and plants thrive in these locations for the permafrost that is contained within the subsoil is not present at all altitudes. Hiking is very common among tourists and outdoor activists love the view and active wildlife.

The Alpine Tundra

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The Arctic Tundra

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Arctic Tundra Biome Ecotour

Why should I go and when?

To answer the when questions: for the Alpine Tundra area in the summer months of June- september when the animals are most active and the tempeture reaches around the 30-50 degrees F. The Arctic tundra is a bit more complicated for the travel times. During the winter months the low barometric pressure causes storms, that have very ferocious wind speeds (60-70 miles and hour) with snow and ice. Our fall and spring months are themost acceptable as conditions are concerned and they are prime times for the rise in vegetation and wildlife. Common animals that you will see are polar bears, Caribou, Arctic foxes, arctic hares, snowy owls, musk ox, and Rock ptarmigans though some of them are not that common to witness in the wild due to there endangerment; most animals have thick coats, layers of feathers, small ears, and/or larger feet to walk softly on snow as an adaptation to the occasional 60 miles and hour winds, harsh temperatures, and the days of perpetual darkness or sunlight. Plants have less of a wide range of species, but some of the common ones are bearberry, arctic moss, Caribou moss, diamond leaf willow, Pasque Flower, and old-man-of- the-mountain; the flora of the area are low to the ground, with small tightly-knit leaves, and short roots because of the cold winters, high altitude, or the permafrost in the subsoil, However the flora tend to flower quickly and almost simultaneously causing great beauty for the few months of spring and summer.

What to bring?