Impact of human activity on the natural environment

Climate zones across the globe

Climates across the globe

Tundray climate

Location of the tundra climate

Tundra environments are found in the northern hemisphere surrounding the Arctic Circle.

Locations of tundra and rainforest biomesLocations of tundra and rainforest biomes

Places which experience an Arctic tundra climate include parts of:

  • North America, eg northern Canada and Alaska.
  • Europe, eg Iceland and northern Scandinavia.
  • Asia, eg northern Russia and Siberia.

Tundra locations around the worldTundra locations around the world

Tundra summer

It is useful to note that a second type of tundra, called alpine tundra exists on high-altitude mountain tops throughout the world.

Description of the tundra climate

Musk ox in the Arctic tundra
Musk ox in the Arctic tundra

Tundra environments are very cold with very little precipitation which falls mainly as snow. Temperatures remain below 0°C most of the year. Average annual temperatures are approximately -28°C and temperatures can plummet to as low as -70°C.

Arctic tundra in the Yukon Territory, Canada
Arctic tundra in the Yukon Territory, Canada

There is a broad temperature range as temperatures can rise to 12°C during the summer months. Tundra landscapes are sometimes referred to as cold deserts because the annual precipitation is less than 250 mm. The winds can be very strong and icy. Summers have several weeks of continuous daylight.

The sun shines virtually 24 hours a day, which is why the Arctic is also called the Land of the Midnight Sun. Winters are long and dark, and nights can last for weeks on end when the Sun barely rises.

Tundra Region: Baker Lake, CanadaTundra Region - Baker Lake, Canada

The harsh climate means that the tundra landscape is barren with little vegetation, even during summer months as shown below.