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In
physical geography Physical geography (also known as physiography) is one of the two fields of geography Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hell ...
, tundra () is a type of
biome A biome is a collection of flora, plants and fauna, animals that have common characteristics for the natural environment, environment they exist in. They can be found over a range of continents. Biomes are distinct biological community (ecology ...
where the tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. The term ''tundra'' comes through
Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (россияне), Russian language term ...
(') from the Kildin Sámi word (') meaning "uplands", "treeless mountain tract". There are three regions and associated types of tundra: Arctic tundra,
alpine tundra Alpine tundra is a type of natural region A natural region (landscape unit) is a basic geographic unit. Usually, it is a region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scien ...

alpine tundra
, and Antarctic tundra. Tundra vegetation is composed of dwarf
shrubs A shrub (often called a bush) is a small- to medium-sized perennial A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Plantae. Historically, the p ...

shrubs
,
sedges The Cyperaceae are a family of graminoid In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in t ...
,
grasses Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous Family (biology), family of monocotyledonous flowering plants known as grasses. It includes the cereal grasses, bamboos and the grasses of natural grassland and species cultivated in ...
,
moss Mosses are small, non-vascular plant, non-vascular flowerless plants in the taxonomic phylum, division Bryophyta (, ) ''sensu stricto''. Bryophyta (''sensu lato'', Wilhelm Philippe Schimper, Schimp. 1879) may also refer to the parent group bryo ...

moss
es, and
lichen A lichen ( , ) is a composite organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells (cell theory). Organisms are classified by taxonomy ( ...

lichen
s. Scattered trees grow in some tundra regions. The
ecotone An ecotone is a transition area between two biological communities, where two communities meet and integrate. It may be narrow or wide, and it may be local (the zone between a field and forest) or regional (the transition between forest and gras ...
(or ecological boundary region) between the tundra and the forest is known as the
tree line The tree line is the edge of the habitat at which trees are capable of growing. It is found at high elevations and high latitudes. Beyond the tree line, trees cannot tolerate the environmental conditions (usually cold temperatures, extreme snowpa ...

tree line
or timberline. The tundra soil is rich in
nitrogen Nitrogen is the chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science ...

nitrogen
and
phosphorus Phosphorus is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol P and atomic number 15. Elemental phosphorus exists in two major forms, white phosphorus and red phosphorus, but because it is highly Reactivity (chemistry), reactive, phosphor ...

phosphorus
. The soil also contains large amounts of biomass and decomposed biomass that has been stored as methane and carbon dioxide in the
permafrost Permafrost is ground that continuously remains below 0 °C (32 °F) for two or more years, located on land or under the ocean The ocean (also the sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The oc ...

permafrost
, making the tundra soil a
carbon sink A carbon sink is any reservoir, natural or otherwise, that accumulates and stores some carbon Carbon (from la, carbo "coal") is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic tabl ...
. As global warming heats the ecosystem and causing soil thawing, the
permafrost carbon cycle The permafrost carbon cycle is a sub-cycle of the larger global carbon cycle. Permafrost is defined as subsurface material that remains below 0o C (32o F) for at least two consecutive years. Because permafrost soils remain frozen for long periods ...
accelerates and releases much of these soil-contained greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, creating a feedback cycle that increases climate change.


Arctic

Arctic tundra occurs in the far
Northern Hemisphere The Northern Hemisphere is the half of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remain ...

Northern Hemisphere
, north of the
taiga Taiga (; rus, тайга́, p=tɐjˈɡa; relates to Mongolic and Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages ** Turkic alphabets (di ...

taiga
belt. The word "tundra" usually refers only to the areas where the subsoil is
permafrost Permafrost is ground that continuously remains below 0 °C (32 °F) for two or more years, located on land or under the ocean The ocean (also the sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The oc ...

permafrost
, or permanently frozen soil. (It may also refer to the treeless plain in general, so that northern
Sápmi (, smj, Sábme / Sámeednam, sma, Saepmie, sju, Sábmie, , , : Соаме ''Soame'') is the traditionally inhabited by the . Sápmi is in and includes the northern parts of , also known as the "". The region stretches over four countri ...
would be included.) Permafrost tundra includes vast areas of northern Russia and Canada. The polar tundra is home to several peoples who are mostly nomadic reindeer herders, such as the Nganasan and Nenets in the permafrost area (and the
Sami Places * Sápmi, a cultural region in Northern Europe * Sami, Burkina Faso, a district of the Banwa Province * Sami District, Gambia * Sami, Cephalonia, a municipality in Greece * Sami (ancient city), in Elis, Greece * Sami Bay, east of Sami, Ceph ...
in
Sápmi (, smj, Sábme / Sámeednam, sma, Saepmie, sju, Sábmie, , , : Соаме ''Soame'') is the traditionally inhabited by the . Sápmi is in and includes the northern parts of , also known as the "". The region stretches over four countri ...
). Arctic tundra contains areas of stark landscape and is frozen for much of the year. The soil there is frozen from down, making it impossible for trees to grow. Instead, bare and sometimes rocky land can only support certain kinds of
Arctic vegetation In the Arctic The Arctic ( or ) is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean, adjacent seas, and parts of Alaska Alaska (; ale, Alax̂sxax̂; ; ems, Alas'kaaq; Central Al ...
, low growing plants such as moss, heath (
Ericaceae The Ericaceae are a family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain the well-being of its members and of soci ...
varieties such as
crowberry ''Empetrum nigrum'', crowberry, black crowberry, or, in western Alaska, blackberry, is a flowering plant species in the heather family Ericaceae with a near circumboreal distribution in the northern hemisphere. It is also native in the Falklan ...

crowberry
and black bearberry), and
lichen A lichen ( , ) is a composite organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells (cell theory). Organisms are classified by taxonomy ( ...

lichen
. There are two main seasons, winter and summer, in the polar tundra areas. During the winter it is very cold and dark, with the average temperature around , sometimes dipping as low as . However, extreme cold temperatures on the tundra do not drop as low as those experienced in taiga areas further south (for example, Russia's and Canada's lowest temperatures were recorded in locations south of the tree line). During the summer, temperatures rise somewhat, and the top layer of seasonally-frozen soil melts, leaving the ground very soggy. The tundra is covered in marshes, lakes, bogs and streams during the warm months. Generally daytime temperatures during the summer rise to about but can often drop to or even below freezing. Arctic tundras are sometimes the subject of
habitat conservation Habitat conservation is a management practice that seeks to conserve, protect and restore habitat Ibex in an alpine habitat In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the ...
programs. In Canada and Russia, many of these areas are protected through a national Biodiversity Action Plan. Tundra tends to be windy, with winds often blowing upwards of . However, it is desert-like, with only about of precipitation falling per year (the summer is typically the season of maximum precipitation). Although precipitation is light, evaporation is also relatively minimal. During the summer, the permafrost thaws just enough to let plants grow and reproduce, but because the ground below this is frozen, the water cannot sink any lower, and so the water forms the lakes and marshes found during the summer months. There is a natural pattern of accumulation of fuel and wildfire which varies depending on the nature of vegetation and terrain. Research in Alaska has shown fire-event return intervals (FRIs) that typically vary from 150 to 200 years, with dryer lowland areas burning more frequently than wetter highland areas. The
biodiversity Biodiversity is the biological variety and Genetic variability, variability of life, life on Earth. Biodiversity is a measure of variation at the Genetics, genetic, species, and ecosystem level. Terrestrial biodiversity is usually greater near ...

biodiversity
of tundra is low: 1,700 species of vascular plants and only 48 species of land mammals can be found, although millions of birds migrate there each year for the marshes. There are also a few fish species. There are few species with large populations. Notable plants in the Arctic tundra include blueberry (''
Vaccinium uliginosum ''Vaccinium uliginosum'' (bog bilberry, bog blueberry, northern bilberry or western blueberry) is a Eurasian and North American flowering plant in the genus ''Vaccinium'' within the Ericaceae, heath family. Distribution ''Vaccinium uliginosum'' i ...

Vaccinium uliginosum
''), crowberry (''
Empetrum nigrum ''Empetrum nigrum'', crowberry, black crowberry, or, in western Alaska, blackberry, is a flowering plant Flowering plants include multiple members of the clade Angiospermae (), commonly called angiosperms. The term "angiosperm" is derived f ...
''), reindeer lichen (''
Cladonia rangiferina ''Cladonia rangiferina'', also known as reindeer cup lichen, reindeer lichen (cf. Swedish language, Sw. ''renlav'') or grey reindeer lichen, is a light-colored fruticose lichen, fruticose, Cladonia, cup lichen species in the family Cladoniaceae. ...

Cladonia rangiferina
''), lingonberry (''
Vaccinium vitis-idaea ''Vaccinium vitis-idaea'', the lingonberry, partridgeberry, mountain cranberry or cowberry, is a small evergreen shrub in the heath family Ericaceae, that bears edible fruit. It is native plant, native to boreal forest and Arctic tundra throughou ...

Vaccinium vitis-idaea
''), and Labrador tea (''
Rhododendron groenlandicum ''Rhododendron groenlandicum'' (bog Labrador tea, Muskeg tea, Swamp tea, or in northern Canada, Hudson's Bay Tea; formerly ''Ledum groenlandicum'' or ''Ledum latifolium''), is a flowering plant, flowering shrub with white flowers and evergreen leav ...

Rhododendron groenlandicum
''). Notable animals include
reindeer The reindeer (''Rangifer tarandus''), also known as the caribou in North America, is a species of deer with circumpolar distribution, native to Arctic, subarctic, tundra, boreal, and mountainous regions of northern Europe, Siberia, and North ...

reindeer
(caribou),
musk ox Musk is a class of aromatic substances commonly used as base notes in perfume Perfume (, ; french: parfum) is a mixture of fragrant essential oils or aroma compounds, fixatives and solvent A solvent (from the Latin language, Latin ''wikt ...

musk ox
,
Arctic hare The Arctic hare (''Lepus arcticus'') is a species of hare Hares and jackrabbits are Leporidae, leporids belonging to the genus ''Lepus''. Hares are classified in the same Family (biology), family as rabbits. They have similar herbivorous diets ...

Arctic hare
,
Arctic fox The Arctic fox (''Vulpes lagopus''), also known as the white fox, polar fox, or snow fox, is a small fox Foxes are small to medium-sized, s belonging to several of the family . They have a flattened skull, upright triangular ears, a ...

Arctic fox
,
snowy owl The snowy owl (''Bubo scandiacus''), also known as the polar owl, the white owl and the Arctic owl, is a large, white owl Owls are bird Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of ani ...

snowy owl
,
ptarmigan ''Lagopus'' is a small genus of bird Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrates constituting the class (biology), class Aves , characterised by feathers, toothless beaked jaws, the Oviparity, laying of Eggshell, hard-shelled eggs, a h ...

ptarmigan
, northern red-backed voles,
lemming A lemming is a small rodent, usually found in or near the Arctic in tundra biomes. Lemmings make up the Family (biology), subfamily Arvicolinae (also known as Microtinae) together with voles and muskrats, which form part of the superfamily Muroid ...

lemming
s, and even
polar bear The polar bear (''Ursus Ursus is Latin for bear. It may also refer to: Animals *Ursus (mammal), ''Ursus'' (mammal), a genus of bears People * Ursus of Aosta, 6th-century evangelist * Ursus of Auxerre, 6th-century bishop * Ursus of Soloth ...

polar bear
s near the ocean. Tundra is largely devoid of
poikilotherm A poikilotherm () is an animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotroph, consume organic material, Cellula ...
s such as frogs or lizards. Due to the harsh climate of Arctic tundra, regions of this kind have seen little human activity, even though they are sometimes rich in natural resources such as
petroleum Petroleum, also known as crude oil and oil, is a naturally occurring, yellowish-black liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum mechanics, incompressible flow (isochoric process, isoc ...

petroleum
,
natural gas Natural gas (also called fossil gas; sometimes just gas) is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas mixture consisting of methane and commonly including varying amounts of other higher alkanes, and sometimes a small percentage of carbon dioxid ...

natural gas
and
uranium Uranium is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elem ...

uranium
. In recent times this has begun to change in
Alaska Alaska (; ale, Alax̂sxax̂; ; ems, Alas'kaaq; Central Alaskan Yup'ik language, Yup'ik: ''Alaskaq''; tli, Anáaski) is a U.S. state in the Western United States, on the northwest extremity of the country's West Coast of the United State ...

Alaska
, Russia, and some other parts of the world: for example, the
Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug The Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug (YaNAO; russian: Яма́ло-Не́нецкий автоно́мный о́круг (ЯНАО), ; yrk, Ямалы-Ненёцие автономной ӈокрук, ) is a federal subjects of Russia, federal su ...
produces 90% of Russia's natural gas.


Relationship to global warming

A severe threat to tundra is
global warming Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been , but the current changes are more rapid than any known events in Earth's history. The main cau ...

global warming
, which causes
permafrost Permafrost is ground that continuously remains below 0 °C (32 °F) for two or more years, located on land or under the ocean The ocean (also the sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The oc ...

permafrost
to melt. The melting of the permafrost in a given area on human time scales (decades or centuries) could radically change which species can survive there. Another concern is that about one third of the world's soil-bound carbon is in
taiga Taiga (; rus, тайга́, p=tɐjˈɡa; relates to Mongolic and Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages ** Turkic alphabets (di ...

taiga
and tundra areas. When the permafrost melts, it releases carbon in the form of
carbon dioxide Carbon dioxide (chemical formula A chemical formula is a way of presenting information about the chemical proportions of s that constitute a particular or molecule, using symbols, numbers, and sometimes also other symbols, such as pare ...

carbon dioxide
and methane, both of which are
greenhouse gas A greenhouse gas (GHG or GhG) is a gas that Absorption (electromagnetic radiation), absorbs and Emission (electromagnetic radiation), emits radiant energy within the thermal infrared range, causing the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhou ...
es. The effect has been observed in Alaska. In the 1970s the tundra was a
carbon sink A carbon sink is any reservoir, natural or otherwise, that accumulates and stores some carbon Carbon (from la, carbo "coal") is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic tabl ...
, but today, it is a carbon source. Methane is produced when vegetation decays in lakes and wetlands. The amount of greenhouse gases which will be released under projected scenarios for global warming have not been reliably quantified by scientific studies. In locations where dead vegetation and peat has accumulated, there is a risk of wildfire, such as the of tundra which burned in 2007 on the north slope of the
Brooks Range The Brooks Range ( Gwich'in ''Gwazhał'') is a mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form, str ...

Brooks Range
in Alaska. Such events may both result from and contribute to global warming.


Antarctic

Antarctic tundra occurs on Antarctica and on several Antarctic and subantarctic islands, including
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands ) , anthem = "God Save the Queen" , song_type = , song = , image_map = South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands in United Kingdom.svg , map_caption = Location of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands in the southern Atlantic Oce ...

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
and the
Kerguelen Islands The Kerguelen Islands ( or ; in French commonly ' but officially ', ), also known as the Desolation Islands (' in French), are a group of islands in the Antarctic constituting one of the two exposed parts of the Kerguelen Plateau, a large ig ...
. Most of Antarctica is too cold and dry to support vegetation, and most of the continent is covered by ice fields. However, some portions of the continent, particularly the
Antarctic Peninsula The Antarctic Peninsula, known as O'Higgins Land in Chile and Tierra de San Martin in Argentina, and originally as the Palmer Peninsula in the US and Graham Land in the United Kingdom, is the northernmost part of the mainland of Antarctica. T ...

Antarctic Peninsula
, have areas of rocky soil that support plant life. The flora presently consists of around 300–400 lichens, 100 mosses, 25
liverworts The Marchantiophyta () are a division of non-vascular plant, non-vascular embryophyte, land plants commonly referred to as hepatics or liverworts. Like mosses and hornworts, they have a gametophyte-dominant life cycle, in which cells of the plan ...
, and around 700 terrestrial and aquatic algae species, which live on the areas of exposed rock and soil around the shore of the continent. Antarctica's two flowering plant species, the
Antarctic hair grass ''Deschampsia antarctica'', the Antarctic hair grass, is one of two flowering plant The flowering plants, also known as Angiospermae (), or Magnoliophyta (), are the most diverse group of Embryophyte, land plants, with 64 Order(biology), orders ...
(''Deschampsia antarctica'') and (''Colobanthus quitensis''), are found on the northern and western parts of the Antarctic Peninsula. In contrast with the Arctic tundra, the Antarctic tundra lacks a large mammal fauna, mostly due to its physical isolation from the other continents. Sea mammals and sea birds, including seals and penguins, inhabit areas near the shore, and some small mammals, like rabbits and cats, have been introduced by humans to some of the subantarctic islands. The
Antipodes Subantarctic Islands tundra The Antipodes Subantarctic Islands tundra ecoregion An ecoregion (ecological region) or ecozone (ecological zone) is an ecology, ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than a bioregion, which in turn is smaller than a bio ...
ecoregion An ecoregion (ecological region) or ecozone (ecological zone) is an ecologically Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including h ...
includes the
Bounty Islands The Bounty Islands are a small group of 13 uninhabited granite Granite () is a coarse-grained igneous rock composed mostly of quartz, alkali feldspar, and plagioclase. It forms from magma with a high content of silica and alkali metal o ...
,
Auckland Islands The Auckland Islands (Māori language, Māori: ''Motu Maha'' or ''Maungahuka'') are an archipelago of New Zealand, lying south of the South Island. The main Auckland Island, occupying , is surrounded by smaller Adams Island, New Zealand, Adams ...
,
Antipodes Islands The Antipodes Islands are inhospitable and uninhabited volcanic islands in subantarctic waters to the south of – and territorially part of – New Zealand. The archipelago lies to the southeast of Stewart Island/Rakiura, and to the northea ...

Antipodes Islands
, the
Campbell Island group The Campbell Islands (or Campbell Island group) are a group of subantarctic The sub-Antarctic zone is a physiographic regions of the world, region in the Southern Hemisphere The Southern Hemisphere is the half (Hemispheres of Earth, hemi ...
, and
Macquarie Island Macquarie Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lies in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean, about halfway between New Zealand and Antarctica. Regionally part of Oceania and politically a part of Tasmania, Australia, since 1900, it became a Protec ...
. Species endemic to this ecoregion include '' Corybas dienemus'' and '' Corybas sulcatus'', the only subantarctic orchids; the
royal penguin The royal penguin (''Eudyptes schlegeli'') is a subspecies of penguin Penguins ( order Sphenisciformes , family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) ...
; and the
Antipodean albatross The Antipodean albatross (''Diomedea antipodensis'') is a large seabird in the albatross family (biology), family. Antipodean albatrosses are smaller than wandering albatrosses, and breed in predominantly brown plumage, but are otherwise difficult ...
. There is some ambiguity on whether Magellanic moorland, on the west coast of
Patagonia Patagonia () refers to a geographical region that encompasses the southern end of South America South America is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convent ...

Patagonia
, should be considered tundra or not.
Phytogeographer Phytogeography (from Greek language, Greek φυτόν, ''phytón'' = "plant" and γεωγραφία, ''geographía'' = "geography" meaning also distribution) or botanical geography is the branch of biogeography that is concerned with the geographic ...
Edmundo Pisano called it tundra ( es, tundra Magallánica) since he considered the low temperatures key to restrict plant growth. The flora and fauna of Antarctica and the Antarctic Islands (south of 60° south latitude) are protected by the
Antarctic Treaty russian: link=no, Договор об Антарктике es, link=no, Tratado Antártico , name = Antarctic Treaty System , image = Flag of the Antarctic Treaty.svgborder , image_width = 180px , caption ...

Antarctic Treaty
.


Alpine

Alpine tundra does not contain trees because the climate and soils at high altitude block tree growth. The cold climate of the alpine tundra is caused by the low air temperatures, and is similar to
polar climate The polar climate regions are characterized by a lack of warm summer Summer is the hottest of the four temperate In geography, the temperate climates of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astrono ...
. Alpine tundra is distinguished from arctic tundra in that alpine tundra typically does not have permafrost, and alpine soils are generally better drained than arctic soils. Alpine tundra transitions to subalpine forests below the tree line; stunted forests occurring at the forest-tundra
ecotone An ecotone is a transition area between two biological communities, where two communities meet and integrate. It may be narrow or wide, and it may be local (the zone between a field and forest) or regional (the transition between forest and gras ...
(the
treeline The tree line is the edge of the habitat at which tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of ...
) are known as ''
Krummholz ''Krummholz'' (german: krumm, "crooked, bent, twisted" and ''Holz'', "wood") — also called ''knieholz'' ("knee timber") — is a type of stunted, deformed vegetation encountered in the subarctic and subalpine tree line The tree line is ...
''. Alpine tundra occurs in mountains worldwide. The flora of the alpine tundra is characterized by plants that grow close to the ground, including
perennial grass A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant Plants are mainly multicellular organisms, predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy ...
es,
sedges The Cyperaceae are a family of graminoid In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in t ...
,
forb A forb or phorb is a herbaceous Herbaceous plants are vascular plant Vascular plants (from Latin ''vasculum'': duct), also known as Tracheophyta (the tracheophytes , from the Greek ''trācheia''), form a large group of plants ( 300,000 accepte ...
s,
cushion plant'', moss campion A cushion plant is a compact, low-growing, mat-forming plant Plants are mainly multicellular organisms, predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformat ...
s,
moss Mosses are small, non-vascular plant, non-vascular flowerless plants in the taxonomic phylum, division Bryophyta (, ) ''sensu stricto''. Bryophyta (''sensu lato'', Wilhelm Philippe Schimper, Schimp. 1879) may also refer to the parent group bryo ...

moss
es, and
lichen A lichen ( , ) is a composite organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells (cell theory). Organisms are classified by taxonomy ( ...

lichen
s. The flora is adapted to the harsh conditions of the alpine environment, which include low temperatures, dryness, ultraviolet radiation, and a short growing season.


Climatic classification

Tundra climates ordinarily fit the
Köppen climate classification The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification Climate classification is a way of categorizing the world's s. A climate classification may correlate closely with a category, as climate is a major infl ...
''ET'', signifying a local climate in which at least one month has an average temperature high enough to melt snow (), but no month with an average temperature in excess of . The cold limit generally meets the ''EF'' climates of permanent ice and snows; the warm-summer limit generally corresponds with the poleward or altitudinal limit of trees, where they grade into the
subarctic climate The subarctic climate (also called subpolar climate, or boreal climate) is a climate characterised by long, usually very cold winters, and short, cool summers. It is found on large landmasses, often away from the moderating effects of an ocean, gen ...
s designated ''Dfd'', ''Dwd'' and ''Dsd'' (extreme winters as in parts of
Siberia Siberia (; rus, Сибирь, r=Sibir', p=sʲɪˈbʲirʲ, a=Ru-Сибирь.ogg) is an extensive geographical region, constituting all of North Asia, from the Ural Mountains in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. It has been a part of R ...

Siberia
), ''Dfc'' typical in Alaska, Canada, parts of
Scandinavia Scandinavia; Sami Places * Sápmi, a cultural region in Northern Europe * Sami, Burkina Faso, a district of the Banwa Province * Sami District, Gambia * Sami, Cephalonia, a municipality in Greece * Sami (ancient city), in Elis, Greece * Sa ...

Scandinavia
,
European Russia European Russia (russian: Европейская Россия, russian: европейская часть России, label=none) is the western and most populated part of Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the ...

European Russia
, and
Western Siberia Western Siberia or West Siberia (russian: Западная Сибирь, Zapadnaya Sibir') is a part of the greater Siberia Siberia (; rus, Сибирь, r=Sibir', p=sʲɪˈbʲirʲ, a=Ru-Сибирь.ogg) is an extensive geographical region spa ...
(cold winters with months of freezing), or even ''Cfc'' (no month colder than as in parts of
Iceland Iceland ( is, Ísland; ) is a Nordic Nordic most commonly refers to: * Nordic countries, written in plural as Nordics, the northwestern European countries, including Scandinavia, Fennoscandia and the List of islands in the Atlantic Ocean#N ...

Iceland
and southernmost South America). Tundra climates as a rule are hostile to woody vegetation even where the winters are comparatively mild by polar standards, as in Iceland. Despite the potential diversity of climates in the ''ET'' category involving precipitation, extreme temperatures, and relative wet and dry seasons, this category is rarely subdivided. Rainfall and snowfall are generally slight due to the low
vapor pressure 280px, The ''pistol test tube'' experiment. The tube contains alcohol and is closed with a piece of cork. By heating the alcohol, the vapors fill in the space, increasing the pressure in the tube to the point of the cork popping out. Vapor pre ...

vapor pressure
of water in the chilly atmosphere, but as a rule
potential evapotranspiration Evapotranspiration (ET) is the sum of water evaporation File:10. Ладење при испарување.ogv, 280px, Demonstration of evaporative cooling. When the sensor is dipped in ethanol and then taken out to evaporate, the instrument sh ...
is extremely low, allowing soggy terrain of swamps and bogs even in places that get precipitation typical of deserts of lower and middle latitudes. The amount of native tundra biomass depends more on the local temperature than the amount of precipitation. The city of
Ushuaia Ushuaia ( , ) is the capital city, capital of Tierra del Fuego Province, Argentina, Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atlántico Sur Province, Argentina, and the southernmost city of the country. Ushuaia claims the title of the southernmo ...

Ushuaia
on the southern tip of Argentina is notable for having an ''ET'' climate according to the Köppen classification, because its warmest month (January) has a mean temperature of , while at the same time having no months with a mean temperature below freezing. The coldest month (June) has a mean temperature of . ;Places featuring a tundra climate *
Cerro de Pasco Cerro de Pasco is a city in central Peru , , image_flag = Flag_of_Peru.svg , image_coat = Escudo_nacional_del_Perú.svg , other_symbol = Great Seal of the State , other_symbol_type ...

Cerro de Pasco
, Peru *
Longyearbyen Longyearbyen (; ) is the largest settlement and the administrative centre of Svalbard Svalbard ( , ), previously known as Spitsbergen, or Spitzbergen, is a Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or ...

Longyearbyen
, Norway *
Iqaluit Iqaluit ( ; Inuktitut syllabics Inuktitut syllabics (Inuktitut Inuktitut (; , syllabics ; from , "person" + , "like", "in the manner of"), also Eastern Canadian Inuktitut, is one of the principal Inuit languages of Canada. It is spoken ...

Iqaluit
, Canada * ''
Kerguelen Islands The Kerguelen Islands ( or ; in French commonly ' but officially ', ), also known as the Desolation Islands (' in French), are a group of islands in the Antarctic constituting one of the two exposed parts of the Kerguelen Plateau, a large ig ...
, French Southern Lands (France)'' * ''
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Greenland Greenland ( kl, Kalaallit Nunaat, ; da, Grønland, ) is an autonomous territory An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administra ...

Greenland
(Denmark) '' * , Venezuela * ''
Grytviken Grytviken ( ) was the largest whaling station on South Georgia, part of the British Overseas Territory of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands ) , anthem = " God Save the Queen" , song_type = , song = , image_map = South Georgia ...
,
South Georgia South Georgia ( es, Isla San Pedro, pt, Ilha São Pedro / Geórgia do Sul) is an island in the southern Atlantic Ocean that is part of the British Overseas Territory The British Overseas Territories (BOTs), also known as United Kingdom Ove ...

South Georgia
(United Kingdom) '' *
Tiksi Tiksi ( rus, Ти́кси, , ˈtʲiksʲɪ; sah, Тиксии, ''Tiksii'' – lit. ''a moorage place'') is an urban locality (an urban-type settlement Urban-type settlementrussian: посёлок городско́го ти́па, translit=p ...

Tiksi
, Russia *
Uyuni Uyuni (Aymara language, Aymara, ''uyu'' pen (enclosure), yard, cemetery, ''-ni'' a suffix to indicate ownership, "the one that has got a pen", "the one with a pen") is a city in the southwest of Bolivia. Uyuni primarily serves as a gateway for to ...

Uyuni
, Bolivia * Murghob, Tajikistan * Mount Wellington, Australia * '' Mykines,
Faroe Islands The Faroe Islands ( ), or simply the Faroes or Faeroes ( fo, Føroyar ; da, Færøerne ), are a North Atlantic archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of is ...

Faroe Islands
(Denmark)'' *
Putre Putre is a Chile Chile (, ; ), officially the Republic of Chile (), is a country in western South America. It occupies a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Chile covers an area of and ...

Putre
, Chile * Coranzuli, Argentina * Campbell Island, New Zealand, Campbell Island, New Zealand * Cairn Gorm, United Kingdom


See also

* List of tundra ecoregions from the World Wide Fund for Nature, WWF * Alas (taiga), Alas * Fellfield * Park Tundra * Steppe-tundra


References


Further reading

* * * *


External links


WWF Tundra Ecoregions
*[https://web.archive.org/web/20051225213602/http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/About_Antarctica/Wildlife/Plants/ British Antarctica Survey]
Antarctica: West of the Transantarctic Mountains
{{Authority control Tundra, Terrestrial biomes Geography of the Arctic Environment of the Arctic Köppen climate types Nearctic realm Palearctic realm