Tundra Climate (E)


The tundra is a bleak and treeless place. It is cold through all months of the year Summer is a brief period of milder climates when the sun shines almost 24 hours a day. It has been called "the land of the midnight sun". But even the sun can't warm the tundra much. The short summer lasts only 6 to 10 weeks. It never gets any warmer than 45 or 50° F. The warmer weather causes a layer of permafrost, ice that never goes away in the ground, to melt, creating bogs and shallow lakes that don't drain. They breed stinging insects, which make life even in the summer miserable for the inhabitants of the tundra. The wind blows constantly, whipping around the small plants.

During the long winter months the sun barely rises and it is dark for most of the day. Bitter cold winds scud across the barren snowscape, exposing high plateaus to barren ground.

Winter temperatures don't reach above 20° F and average -20° to -30°F. Endless hours darkness settle in and the winds blow even harder. The snow that falls is blown off the high plateaus and collects in the valleys. Animals hunker down, able to find only enough food to keep warm.

The tundra is an unusually cold and dry climate. Precipitation totals 6-10 inches of rain a year, which includes melted snow. This is almost as little as the world's driest deserts. Coupled with strong and drying winds, the tundra is an extreme weather biome. The tundra seems like a wet and soggy place because the precipitation that falls evaporates slowly, and because of the poor drainage caused by the permafrost.

You can find the tundra climate in Köppen's E climate category. The Estands for ice climates. The average temperature of the warmest month is below 50° F.

The tundra climate spans from most of Greenland to parts of Alaska, northern Canada, and northern Russia. The latitudinal range is 75° N to 60° N. Tundra climates can be found on the coastal areas of the arctic. The ocean water keeps the climate from falling to the extreme temperatures found in the interior of the continents.

by Sam A. 2000.



"Tundra Climate", http://ths.sps.lane.edu/biomes/tundra4/tundra4c.html, (July 2000).

"What's It Like Where You Live?", http://mbgnet.mobot.org/sets/tundra/links.htm, (July 2000).

Strahler, Arthur N., and Strahler, Arthur H. Elements of Physical Geography. John Wiley & Sons, 1984.


The tundra is freezing for almost all of the year with no traditional seasons, only a very long winter. Winter conditions in the tundra exist most of the year, with the exception of a very short mild season which passes for summer.

The type of vegetation that grows on the tundra are; grass, shrubs of willow, sedges, and lichens. The vegetation grows very slowly because of the hard winter.

The animals in the tundra put on heavy coats to adapt to the harsh climate. Examples of this adaptation would be the coats on the caribou, reindeer, musk ox, arctic hare and the arctic fox.

The Köppen system of classification would be Dfc. D In Köppen climate classification stands up for snow climate, f stands up for sufficient precipitation in all months and c stands up for fewer than four month with average temperatures over 50° F (1°C).

The average temperature per year is 16 degrees°F. The highest temperature can get to 45° F and the coldest temperature can get to 10° F below 0. That makes it one of the coldest regions on earth. This biome feels freezing most of the year.

The average precipitation per year is more than 18 inches, and most of it falls as the snow. Average precipitation per season is 4.5 inches. The type of precipitation that falls in this climate is mostly snow in the winter, and in the summer it is rain, with occasional snow.

The latitude range for the tundra is from the arctic circle to 60° to 70° latitude North. Parts of Alaska and northern Canada contains tundra biome and climates. Tundra climate can also be found in northern Europe and Russia.

by Ilekea S.  2001.




Strahler, Arthur N., and Strahler, Arthur H. Elements of Physical Geography. John Wiley & Sons, 1984.

"The Tundra", http:// www.ml.runet.edu~swoodwar /classes/geog235/biome/tundra/tundra , (Nov 2000)

"Cold Climate", http://www.curriculumvisions.com, (Nov 2000).