Tundra region is located on the north of the Arctic Circle above the Alpine Tundra. It is a vast stretch of barren lands covered by snow. Whenever one imagines the Tundra belt, a vast expanse of snow-covered land appears in our mind as we have studied in school. It is a kind of biome and is the coldest biome on the planet. The extremely cold temperature at the Tundra region hinders the growth of vegetation making it a barren region. The Tundra belt is devoid of big trees but you can find grasses, shrubs, sedges, and mosses scattered around the region. In summers, you will find bunches of wildflowers across the region.
Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/animal-arctic-blur-canine-208976/
Some interesting facts
- It is extracted from a Finnish word, Tunturi. It means treeless plain. Again, some people associate the term ‘Tundra’ with the Russian word, tündàr. It means uplands or treeless mountain tracts.
- The Tundra belt is characterized by low biotic diversity, harsh winters, a shorter season of growth, and larger population vacillations.
- This region is known for the frosted landscapes, lower temperature, scanty rainfall, and short growing seasons making it the coldest place of the biomes.
- The dead organic materials are the nutrient pools of nitrogen and phosphorus. The phenomenon leads to biological fixation resulting in phosphorus through precipitation.
Livestock and vegetation
You can find sheep, mountain goats, marmots, and some birds in the mountains of the alpine tundra region. There are very few lives on the tundra as the weather is quite cold making it one of the coldest places on earth. Lack of vegetation is another cause that you will find few animals there as they live on the shrubs and low-flying insects found there. Vegetation-like cushion plants grows in the ridges of the mountains, especially those which are warmer.
Which place is exactly the Tundra belt?
The Tundra belt comprises approximately 10% of the earth’s landmass. This region is divided into – Arctic Tundra and Alpine Tundra.
The southern edge of the Arctic Tundra aligns with the northern front of the coniferous forests. In North America, this region lies above 600 N latitude and around 700 N across Eurasia and extends southward till 600 N in Kamchatka. The average temperature in this part of the Tundra belt ranges from -300 F to 200 F. You can find polar bears, Arctic foxes, snow geese, musk oxen, gray wolves, and caribou. During the summer which lasts for around 50-60 days, the sun is there 24 hours a day.
Alpine Tundra occupies around 3% of the earth’s surface and is specific to the Northern Hemisphere mostly. The geography is dotted with the mountainous regions having higher elevations and cold climates. The wind is quite strong in this particular region making Tundra one of the coldest places on this planet. Alpine tundra is spread across different parts of the world. The elevations of the mountains near the equator are higher than those at the poles.
Snow-covered Mountains at tundra
How climate change is affecting the Tundra region?
Global warming is an issue with this region as well. Like other parts of the world, the Tundra is having a difficult time as climate change ranges. The geography of the region is changing at an unprecedented rate and the phenomenon can be understood by the movement of animals in the region. Red foxes which are typically found in the southern part of the Arctic tundra region are moving northwards. The northern part of This region is home to the Arctic foxes. Now, the Red foxes will be competing with the Arctic foxes to find food and shelter. This depicts the intensity of global warming across the belt.
Concerns about the Tundra region
The soil of this region is composed of a large chunk of biomass and decomposed biomass. It was stored as carbon-di-oxide and methane in the permafrost that holds the unique ecosystem of the region. Global warming is affecting the ecosystem of the this region and the soil is gradually becoming a carbon sink.
It is time to protect the Tundra region by reducing the use of greenhouse gases.
Polar bears found in tundra region
you can also read about sun: Sun- The Soul Of Universe- Erakina
By Shuvendu Modak